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Who won the debate?

Last night was the only election debate of the campaign and it was filled with fair dinkums, which is the new moving forward, apparently. In case you missed it, you can read the entire transcript here, but let’s face it, it wasn’t the most thrilling testament to democracy.

Pre-debate, Michelle Grattan wrote in The Age about how important the leaders’ debate was for Abbott:

People overwhelmingly think Labor will win the election. Abbott remains the underdog. A win tonight would give him fresh momentum. A loss would be a slip on the side of that Everest he’s trying to climb.

But who won the debate? The worm slithered up and down the screen and the commentariat are also all over the place this morning.

Unnamed “staff writers” at The Oz declared “Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott have faced off in a polite leaders debate, with neither leader delivering a knockout blow.”

It was a lacklustre night for Christine Jackman, ”…it was clear then that this debate would deliver nothing more than another serve of workshopped rhetoric with all the appeal of cold porridge”, she writes in The Oz.

Michelle Grattan at The Age seemed similarly underwhelmed:

Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott didn’t give political value for money in last night’s debate. They were too frightened of putting a foot wrong. Rehearsed to the hilt, they provided nothing new. Humour was lacking; there was little engagement between the two, no spontaneous moments. Neither was seriously caught out; where they didn’t have answers they fudged. Nor was there any clear winner.

With no killer blows and debate centred on their political skeletons, neither Ms Gillard nor Tony Abbott will be able to use it as a springboard into week two of the campaign,” says Stefanie Balogh in The Courier-Mail.

Yes, it was a crap debate, but Gillard won it, says Katharine Murphy in The Age. “Julia Gillard moves into the second week of the election contest claiming victory in a lacklustre televised debate that stayed religiously on the campaign script,” writes Murphy.

Malcolm Farr agreed over at The Daily Telegraph: “Julia Gillard won last night’s debate narrowly over Tony Abbott, but neither planted a bone breaker on their opponent.”

Julia mightn’t have lost it, but she didn’t win it either, says Dennis Shanahan in The Oz. “…the expectations piled on Gillard’s shoulders were left unfulfilled and a solid, mistake-free performance will not be enough to have the new Prime Minister declared a ‘winner’.”

At least the worm provided welcome distraction. “… for the first time, voters were treated to not just a head-to-head battle between a male and female political leader, but also a gender-bending worm. And basically, the lady worm likes girls,” writes Samantha Maiden in The Oz.

The worm declared Gillard the winner. “Channel Nine’s worm, the live tracking device operated by a sample of swing voters, awarded the debate to Ms Gillard emphatically, while Channel Seven’s polliegraph gave it to the Prime Minister by a nose,” notes Phillip Coorey in The Sydney Morning Herald.

Neither Julia Gillard nor Tony Abbott will be disappointed with their performances in last night’s leaders’ debate, as both avoided any serious mistakes. But Abbott, who is trailing in the polls, need to make a bigger impact than proved to be the case,” writes Tony Walker in the Financial Review [paywall].

Others were quick to give the win — or at least a near win — to Abbott. “Tony Abbott has dealt himself back into the election race with a narrow victory in last night’s leaders’ debate,” says Phillip Hudson in the Herald Sun.

According to Matthew Franklin and Patricia Karvelas at The Oz, Abbott defied the “low expectations” put upon him. “The Opposition Leader put on a disciplined performance in last night’s leader’s debate, overcoming underdog status to come close to victory,” they write.

Oz colleague Paul Kelly seemed equally as impressed by Abbott, writing “This was Tony Abbott’s best moment. He may not have outpointed Julia Gillard but he exceeded expectations and looked, as never before, a viable prime minister.”

Tony Abbott also got the winning thumbs up from Annabel Crabb at The Drum, who noted that “Mainly, it was a relief to see them disagreeing with each other.”

But Abbott will have to get more than a pass grade to win, writes Peter Hartcher in The Sydney Morning Herald. “Tony Abbott made a strong critique of the Gillard Labor government in last night’s debate, but utterly failed to establish his own party as the alternative.”

Tony Wright at The Age had a sure fire debate victor “Indeed, the winner was … David Speers! … He stood alone between the two contenders and tried valiantly to provide a match as both Gillard and Abbott sought to slide away from anything approaching substance.”

It doesn’t matter what the media thinks, writes Barrie Cassidy on The Drum: “Political parties obsess about what the media thinks of the debaters, but in the end, people make up their own minds. Julia Gillard didn’t win, or Tony Abbott didn’t win because Joe Blogs, political correspondent for World News, thinks he or she did. Audiences at home make up their own minds, and they are influenced not by Joe Blogs, but by what they just saw and heard.”

Meanwhile, in actual policy news, over the weekend Scott Morrison and Tony Abbott announced a plan to cut immigration to just 170,00 people per year. But there is some confusion over exactly how the 170,000 will be counted, says Bernard Keane on The Stump. ”Good luck telling highly-skilled migrants that they can move to Australia but they can’t bring their partners and kids with them,” writes Keane.

Will it include temporary skilled and student visas? Is the immigration number already dropping?  Commentators seem unimpressed by this move by the Coalition.

It’s a populist policy writes Peter van Onselen in The Oz: “Population policy is a complex area and it will take some time for experts to fully dissect the merits or otherwise of the Coalition’s new policy. But politically the government will need to respond to it quickly if the populist pitch in it is to be countered.”

I fear a race to the bottom on immigration,” John Hewson at The Drum.

Stephen Lunn at The Oz thinks the numbers are dodgy: “The figures just don’t add up in this increasingly sleazy population debate.”

Yes, the numbers aren’t quite right, says Dennis Atkins at The Courier-Mail, “…but it doesn’t distract from the fact many voters will find Abbott’s craven calculation attractive.”

The overused slogans of this campaign — Julia’s ‘Moving Forward’ and Tony’s ‘Real Action’ — are dumbing down our political conscience, said Tim Soutphommasane in The Oz:

Today the measure of success for the politician is to stay “on message”. The conduct of politics tends to prioritise personality over policy, symbols over substance, the comfortable over the controversial. But citizens have also been complicit. When we watch politicians on vacuous talk shows or variety entertainment programs, we encourage the dumbing down of our politics.

It’s also a morning of polling, with the latest Newspoll [PDF] out in The Oz showing the two-party preferred vote as 52-48 for Labor, a rise of three points to the Coalition.

Tony Abbott is narrowing the gap on Julia Gillard in the primary vote, writes Dennis Shanahan in The Oz. “The election campaign has become a tight contest”.

Today’s Galaxy poll has the same figures as Newspoll for the two party preferred, but notes that one in ten voters are uncertain of who they will vote for and the Greens’ primary vote has risen to 15%.

Let’s hope the second election campaign week has a few more thrills in store…

  • 1
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    This may indeed have been “Tony Abbott’s best moment”. But it wasn’t nearly good enough.

    And what’s with all the wimpy commentators who are afraid to declare an opinion one way or another? Here’s mine:

    Gillard won unequivocally. Not surprising - she didn’t really have to do much other than turn up, stand there and let Abbott display the negativity for which he’s justly renowned.

    Question to Abbott: “What would you do about …”

    Answer from Abbott:”Well, aaahhh, I’ll, aaahhhh, tell you what I WONT do, aaahhh … “

    Abbott’s a born opposition leader if ever I saw one. He has found his role in life and it would be a shame to take that away from him.

  • 2
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Only rusted-on supporters would have bothered watching in the hope of seeing their man or woman beat the other side to a pulp. Who may or may not have ‘won’ is irrelevant because not one vote would have changed sides as a result of The Debate. I didn’t watch, couldn’t be bothered. I’ve decided who I’ll vote for and I didn’t want to sit through an hour full of spin and mantras about ‘pink batts and school halls’ and ‘moving forward’, because neither side gets my vote. I’m voting independent - again.

    Does anyone else think that delivery-wise Julia Gillard is sounding more and more like Maggie Thatcher these days? Same slow, measured delivery, same quiet, low voice. Julia sounded much better before the image makers started trying to change the way she speaks.

  • 3
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    I thought it was fairly clear who won


    he got a trophy and everything

    I mean, who can’t recognize a hollandaise sauce ?


  • 4
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Nah, it wan’t hollandaise, I thought it was some sort of pink stuff with eggwhite in it, all soft and lacking any substance, just like the content of the debate.

    But what would I know? I was busy watching a rerun of my The West Wing dvds.

  • 5
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Why was it called a ‘debate’ ? A series of statements and answers to prepared questions by hand picked journalists was more akin to a party political broadcast.

  • 6
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Less of a debate than an exercise in brand management….

  • 7
    Bob Weis
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Who won the debate is a question that is answered by who you are and what you want.

    I wanted to see Phoney Tony lose his cool but what I saw was a measured reading of scripted remarks and a huge effort to pull in a natural tendency to be nasty while lying through a smiling mouth about almost everything.

    With Julia I saw a restrained performance by a person who could hear the lies and I assume thought the people watching would know or not be persuaded by name calling. I noticed Julia seemed confident of her facts and didn’t need to read.

    I am also prepared to emigrate if PT wins but it seems impossible to believe.

  • 8
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    I was impressed that The Oz and The Hun managed to spin it into an Abbott win purely on the basis that he wasn’t a total car crash and didn’t bark at the moon.

    every sane analyst, including some from the right like Sinodinos, called it for Gillard.

    Given that these debates are generally won by the Leader of the Opposition - even Latham - then the fact that Abbott’s failed to convince even his most one-eyed supporters should be viewed as terminal.

  • 9
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 10:42 am | Permalink


    Generally agree, except that Abbott’s campaign was already terminal, so perhaps the media are right to regard this as something of a reprieve for him.

    If he had performed as badly against Gillard as he did against Rudd, it would have been “all over red rover” for him - he probably wouldn’t have even lasted till the end of the week, let alone till the election.

    As things stand now, he will (probably) at least make it to the finish line. Then he can look forward to the “night of the long knives” that will inevitably follow.

  • 10
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    My partner and I treated it like a job interview…

    - Tony Abbott just didn’t talk like he wanted the job - sounded very happy where he was.
    - Julia Gillard seemed a bit more together and more forthcoming with details, examples, etc.

    Very little mention of green issues, understandably given the lack of good policies on either side… Still a shame none of the media luminaries chose to ask about these issues though…

  • 11
    Acidic Muse
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Julia Gillard absolutely wiped the floor with poor Tony on both substance and presentation…it was actually sad to watch him wallowing in a sea of negativity like that, constantly railing against her slogans when his own responses were stacked high with his various “Action Man” slogans

    It’s a sad reflection on the quality of political commentary in this country that so many of the pundits are playing safe and calling it a draw. For some that is a probably a function of the extremely low expectations they had of Tony Abbott - for others I have no doubt his underdog status compelled them to talk up a seriously flaccid performance

    I think there are also also commercial and political imperatives at play here for some of our media giants to make this election as close as possible. For our corporate media mavens, a tightly contested election not only maximises the political advertising spend they carve up between them, but also guarantees larger audiences as our obsessively voyeuristic population watches on in white knuckled excitement. This I believe is why instead of analysing in depth the policies of either party, they invest most of their resources in playing up the “human drama” of it all - to make it look as much as possible like the reality TV that rates so well

    In the case of the ABC, decades of being bashed by the right for perceived left leaning bias has cajoled them to ever increasing journalistic cowardice in recent years. I am still marvelling at Kerry O’Brien’s amazing hypocrisy in asking Kevin Rudd if he would resign the leadership for the good of his party less than a week before spending days feigning righteous indignation over Rudds removal. Granted O’Brien was one of many who viciously witch hunted Rudd then cried crocodile tears at his political funeral, but it’s even sadder when someone I once rated as top of his craft stumbles in this way

    Given Toxic Tony and the Turramurra Tea Party will continue to get a relatively light-handed treatment by the media, the ALP will definitely need to lift their game considerably if they don’t want to be a one term wonder.

  • 12
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    The debate showed no clear winners, to say it was a Goolard white wash is just more ALP platitudes. The fact that there was not clear winner could also imply that Abbot had won the debate - if I recall, it was Joolia who gave in typical “me too” answers while clawing at the TV screen. Can one of you ALP stooges tell her to put her talons down - yuck.

  • 13
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    @Lorna…meeow hiss scratch..not Ms Bishop under another name are you?

  • 14
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 11:37 am | Permalink


    Your argument would have more impact if you sheathed your own claws.

  • 15
    Sausage Maker
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    The Young Lib goons are out in force today voting for Abbott on every online poll on who won the debate. Newspoll ‘surprisingly’ comes out with a poll that says the Coalition is within striking distance of the ALP. Just like they were in the last Queensland and South Australian elections and how Newspoll said it was certain that the Libs would win Tasmania.


  • 16
    Gratton Wilson
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    None of the commentariate mentioned that Tony broke the rules that had been laid down for the debate. He began a tirade against what Julia had just said, out of turn, and would not stop speaking when the compare instructed him to do so.
    Obviously Liberals not only have “Work Choices” in their DNA but they are serial breakers of the rules of fair play. There were several instances when Abbott made statements that were of dubious veracity and Julia stuck to her commitment to abide by the rules laid down. It is all about keeping your word - Abbott will not do it if he becomes Prime Minister. He will not abide by the rules nor the promises he made before the election.

  • 17
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    @Gratton Wilson,

    Well observed. Abbott not only has the “born to rule” philosophy common to so many in his party, he combines it with a “god-given right” mentality that probably comes from his peculiar background and training.

    This combination is truly frightening. He wouldn’t hesitate to change his position on just about anything after the election, and may even believe he would be perfectly justified in doing so.

    Fortunately I don’t think he will be given the chance by the electorate.

  • 18
    Acidic Muse
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 12:02 pm | Permalink


    The Channel 9 “worm” gave it to Julia 67% to 37%. Channel 7’s Polliegraph also gave it to Gillard by a smaller margin.

    I could go into how this variance can explained by the fact that 7 used Pollster Roy Morgan to source a cross-section of all voters for their focus group whilst 9 used only “undecided voters” … but I suspect, like so many right wing reactionaries, maths may not be your strongest suite

    Your reference to “goolard” is probably meant to be ghoulard - an allusion to the mythical monster less sophisticated people still think lurks in graveyards. No doubt it’s difficult to discern the correct spelling when you hear this stuff on talk back radio :)

    Allah be praised for Julia’s commitment to put more resources into education

  • 19
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Abbott won debate, his answers were honest, whereas Gillards were from the spin sheet

  • 20
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    I could not force myself to watch the thing.

  • 21
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    I’ve got to hand it to Julia Gillard. When she can say - her words - that the Labor government has “Lost its way” and still claim it’s performing brilliantly, she’s pretty clever.

    When she can get Tony Abbott to do all the hard work of campaigning against the dead Workchoices on her behalf, and no matter what he says just call him a liar, that’s pretty clever.

    When she can waffle for five minutes in response to a simple question …

    But can you give us a simple number. How many times did you warn Kevin Rudd that his government, your government was on the wrong track before you took his job? Was it once? Was it twice? Was it three strikes and you’re out? How many times did you tell him, did you warn him, before you took his job?

    … without even answering it, instead waffling about her “hard decision” and turn it into a snide attack on Abbott …

    and I understand Tony will make some political points about it. But Tony knows what it’s like to think that your political party needs new leadership – that’s why he’s standing here instead of Malcolm Turnbull.

    … well, she’s pretty clever.

    Pretty clever, I’ll give her that. And if that’s the sort of cleverness that wins debates in the eyes of you clowns - who made your minds up in advance anyway - well, you can take your debate “victory” and stick it in your eye. Which is exactly what most of you are already doing.

  • 22
    Billy Blogs
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    I can’t wait for Bernard’s outrage at the ALP staffers calling the journos with a few ‘suggested’ questions they might want to ask Abbott :-).

    What’s wrong Julia, don’t you think we believe your spin anymore?

  • 23
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 1:17 pm | Permalink


    You seem to be saying that Abbott’s answers were not scripted. If so, then by his own admission we shoud not believe him.


    I don’t think there’s any question that Gillard is clever. I think it probably just comes as a bit of a surprise to some of her detractors that she’s easily clever enough to beat a Rhodes Scholar.

  • 24
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    There seemed to be a lack of opportunities for reply and counter-reply. This meant neither candidate could delve deeply into the claims and counter claims of their opponent. Not much drilling by the journalists. Pretty tame debate.

    I thought Chris Ulhmann came up with the question of the night - he could have phrased it better though - certainly ironic that the current PM who was the the IR minister that returned the unfair dismissal laws, uncomfortable talking about the number of warnings (written or otherwise) Rudd got - I think the average employee gets three. All the bleating by the elites about equality and a fair go, and looking out for the little gipper, but when it comes to one of their own, it is all forgotten in the powerplay.

    Seems everyone has right to be protected ungainst unfair dismissal (or have their day in court), but not Kevin Rudd - never has the gap between principle and practice been starker.

  • 25
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Acidic Muse,

    Oh stop, please - your hurting my sides from laughter.

    More assumptions and more platitudes however, I did like your comment on Ghoulard - my reasons for referring to the ranga as goolard is a little different but I still like your explanation - it does clarify why she always has her talons in the air. Oh ar, I do love the sheeple, the common volk - you make me feel goooooooood.

  • 26
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    OSCAR - If you remember schoolyard bullying and mockery, it’s easy for a practiced thug to make fun of a highly intelligent but less tactical-minded, more socially awkward student. That’s the difference between cleverness and real intellect; the thug is a lot better at it because he has lots of practice and little else to think about.

  • 27
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    @OSCAR - In relation to the Rhodes Scholar attribute of Abbott’s. I’ve heard the explanation as to how he ‘gained’ that, and it’s not as good as it sounds. I also think that being intelligent is one thing, the way you use that intelligence is a completely different question. Abbott’s ‘intelligence’ is blunted by his nasty and hateful attitude to too many human beings. He being a strong or committed so-called christian is both disgusting and amusing!

    I’d have liked Bob Brown to take part also. This americanisation of our political system is disturbing. At least they didn’t have the two bloody flags strategically placed! I don’t think it was a debate as such, and I reckon Abbott would be still suffering from having to leave his nasty side outside the building!

    Antony Green has predicted a Labor win - he’s only been surprised 3 times out of about 50 - so, all these polls are really a nonsense - he uses a tried and true method of reading the ballot on election night, so I’ll stick with his reputation and ability! I’ve never been asked one question in a poll - and I’ve been voting for 44 years! Must be millions of others like me! Also, women now make up 52% of the population, so if women favour Julia Gillard, then she’s ahead already, isn’t she? The Greens will be my choice before the ALP!

  • 28
    Troy C
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    I love the way Oscar so transparently attempts to dress up his one-eyed support for Labor in a cloak of reason.

  • 29
    Troy C
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Also, women now make up 52% of the population, so if women favour Julia Gillard, then she’s ahead already, isn’t she?

    A touch simplistic, perhaps. Imagine the confusion that would reign among the female population if Julie Bishop were Gillard’s opponent. What do we do! Which way are we going to vote now?

  • 30
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Leone, I agree - the only thing missing from Julia last night was the Thatcherite string of pearls!
    I started watching it and thought the opening statements from both candidates showed what a race to the bottom this election has become. Not sure if anyone noticed Tony’s dog whistle about how he and his wife have bought up a family and strugglied with the mortage, bills etc?
    Anyway, the debate was so fascinating, I then drifted off to sleep on the sofa (the culmination of 3 weeks of Tour de France watching) only to be woken by a friend’s text message complaining about how boring the debate was - I could only concur. I noticed Bob Brown was reduced to twittering for the Ch 9 coverage.

  • 31
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    @TROYC……”if Julie Bishop were Gillard’s opponent. What do we do! Which way are we going to vote now?…it will never ever happen, not even the Libs are that stupid. One of the funniest moments from the weekend came at Abbotts press conference in Perth on Saturday when he declared Bishop will be the greatest foreign minister of all time, oh the joy, the humour, the utter nonsense.

  • 32
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Also this idea that nobody offered any real policy is pretty immature. When it comes to big, exciting, sexy policies, Labor will always outshine Liberals. That’s because Liberal policy is intrinsically dry, economic stuff.

    Liberal philosophy is that the exciting stuff is generated out in the community and the states, but this requires a strong economy and an impartial government keeping it fair. That makes it boring for the uneducated. It just doesn’t allow for much in the way of all-singing all-dancing Five Year Plans and programs like BER with the word “Revolution” in the title.

    For me, Tony Abbott has promised plenty. You people better think about what you want from Canberra: do you want responsible government, or do you want entertainment?

  • 33
    Troy C
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    I’ll agree with David that there isn’t much chance, if any at all, of Julie Bishop ever being elected leader. I cited her only because she’s a woman. But what would happen, I wonder, if we did have two female leaders? If it’s as simple, as some suggest, that women vote for a woman? Surely there would be much head-scratching and confusion amongst the female population.

  • 34
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 1:52 pm | Permalink


    Yes, you’re right - Abbott was true to form. Try as you might, you can’t escape your upbringing.

    @Troy C

    Does calling my reasoning a ‘transparent cloak’ make you feel better about being unable to refute it?

  • 35
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    @Troy C,

    I can’t believe you just posted such a misogynistic comment.

    I think I will leave it to others to give you the roasting you so richly deserve.

  • 36
    Troy C
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    I can go with you Oscar, point for point. But there isn’t much point in going with you point for point, because you’ve made up your mind and I mine. I just don’t pretend to still be making up my mind. The comment that you thought was misogynistic was a joke, based on the (flawed) premise that men will vote on policy and women will vote for a woman. I don’t believe it’s true. I don’t think many people are so absent-minded as to cast their vote based on one’s birth properties.

  • 37
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 2:07 pm | Permalink


    You can’t read my posts and seriously claim I’m somehow pretending to be still “making up my mind”? LOL!

    You and the fruit loop - what a pair of geniuses!

    Oh, and by the way - pretending that you were “only joking” when you get caught out making unfortunate comments doesn’t impress many people either.

  • 38
    Troy C
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Oscar, you can’t read my posts and seriously claim that I wasn’t joking about women voting for a woman? LOL!

  • 39
    A. N. Onymus
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Poll after Michelle Grattan’s latest article (link in Crikey article above to the article in National Times, same article and poll also found at http://www.smh.com.au/federal-election/no-clear-winner-in-uneventful-debate-20100725-10ql7.html (and possibly in other Fairfax media ?):

    Has the leaders’ debate helped you decide who to vote for?
    Yes, the differences between the leaders was clearer.
    No, neither said anything different to their campaign slogans.”

    With 20 hours to go before the poll closes and with 4044 votes cast so far, it’s 24% for the Yes vote and 76% for No.

    I’m in the No category. However, unless the major parties rule out the Internet filter I’ll be putting the Greens and everyone else ahead of both of them. Interesting, too, that the filter didn’t rate even a mention in the “debate” — quotes intentionally used as it was not my idea of a debate, regardless of the rules, and turned out to be, for me at least, a waste of viewing time.

    I jumped around on the channels during the debate, preferring ABC1 to avoid (a) ABC News 24’s annoying bottom-text-ticker (which I had hoped in vain the ABC would remove at least for the debate) and (b) the worms on Seven and Nine (although I did go to them occasionally when I thought a comment by Julia or Tony might cause some strong worm movement). Despite the fact that I was not impressed with the “debate” and felt I had wasted time watching it, I must be a glutton for punishment because I continued to watch the post-debate analysis on ABC News 24.

    That analysis, I felt, was strung out as long as possible with minimal benefit. The only time I felt it wasn’t strung out was when Chris Uhlmann hurriedly viewed Bob Brown. His questions were rushed, and he cut Bob Brown off several times before Brown had finished answering. At the same time, apparently when Ali Moore crossed to Chris Uhlmann, her mike remained “live” as a couple of exchanges in the studio and later a door slamming loudly cut across the Uhlmann/Brown interview. When that rushed interview was concluded, I waited in vain for an apology from Moore about technical hitches. Did they not realise what had happened?

    (Unrelated to this Crikey article about who won the debate, but as I didn’t see the explanation or program leading up to it, I’m still at a loss to understand why later in the evening, when I thought I would check on whether ABC News 24 was still, or again, talking about the debate or had moved on, an episode of Compass was showing. At first I thought I had gone to ABC1 by mistake, but I hadn’t as that channel was showing a different Compass program at the same time.)

  • 40
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 2:25 pm | Permalink


    I didn’t watch, so I didn’t hear Tony’s comments about the struggles he and his wife had paying off the mortgage and raising kids. Whatever he said, it was phoney. Abbott and his Mrs have never struggled financially. She’s a career woman, a former mechant banker, journo and teacher who now runs a childcare centre. (No wonder PT is so keen to pump more money into childcare, the family will reap the benefit of that). You don’t buy a house in Forestville and send your kids to expensive private schools if you are financially challenged.

    I did notice that Abbott took out a $710,000 second mortgage on his family home in April 2008 shortly after going into opposition. Actually it was two loans - on April 7 and April 8, 2008 - taken out the day after he paid off his original $285,000 loan taken out in 1994. He claimed it was to help finance the family’s expenses as he was now doing it tough on a backbencher’s pay. $710,000 to help finance ‘normal’ expenses? What do these people do? Then he ‘forgot’ to declare the loan in the parliamentary regisiter until last month. How do you ‘forget’ that you borrowed $710,000? And how do you struggle financially on a parliamentary salary? Tony needs to get out and talk to real average Aussies who really do struggle on low incomes.

  • 41
    Troy C
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Tony needs to get out and talk to real average Aussies who really do struggle on low incomes.

    Working families?

  • 42
    Acidic Muse
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    @Power Those of us who don’t have the attention span of goldfish well remember the Coalitions take on “responsible government” last time they were in power - stripping away protections and benefits for working Australians, de-funding public health and education whilst massively subsidising the profits of private sector, squandering the windfall from our last economic boom on tax cuts for the wealthy instead of investing in vital infrastructure ..etc etc

    Conservative populism is predicated on a strategy of manipulating the fear and ignorance of the less politically literate lower socio economic classes in the hope enough of them can be conned into voting to their own economic detriment to ensure a Coalition government. It’s no coincidence that Census data shows most outer suburban marginal seats as having the lowest levels of educational attainment in the country.

    THIS is the reason our political discourse has become so dumbed down … it’s now crystal clear to both the politicians and the media who gets to decide elections – and both the campaigns and the coverage of them reflects this

  • 43
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Julia has perfected the Gatting ball!

  • 44
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    @ leone

    You are incorrect.

    Tony Abbott declared on the parliament register that he re-drawed a large amount of money on his home mortgage. He lives in a modest house on west Forestville.

  • 45
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    @TROY - Well, that’s the way the media is carrying on! I’m not impressed with Labor either, particularly re climate change, asylum seekers etc. How can Labor announce any new policies? They’d immediately be criticised by the Opposition, not to mention the msm.

    If I hear the Coaltion members rabbiting on about “the surplus” provided by the previous govt, I’ll scream. How did they have a surplus? The taxes provided by the people weren’t spent. The reason for the “huge surplus” was because the Howard govt ignored putting any money into infrastructure - schools, hospitals, transport, roads(only about a quarter of monies from the two taxes we pay on petrol was put back into roads?) etc.Monies spent in the community were mainly about helping out their mates, and buying votes. Monies not spent on essentials for the people - after all, it’s our money!

    When the Coalition rants on about waste and extravagence, they neglect to mention the fact, that Howard increased the size of govt, including his own dept, at the expense of closing down the Dept for Women for example(that became part of the PM’s dept?) and we have him to thank for the gap between men and women’s incomes going back to that of the 80’s. Using our taxes to illegally invade sovereign countries without any reason. The pork barrelling prior to the last election was blatant and shameful. There are bridges around this country that need either repair or replacement. This is too costly for local govts, but was totally ignored by the Howard govt for almost 12 years. There are more examples of that govt’s neglect and abuse of our taxes.

    Huge surpluses only come about through huge neglect of our vital necessities around the country. At the same time, WorstChoices was allowing wages to decrease to the low to middle income earners, while allowing CEO’s blatant and obscene increases. The cost of living increased by 40% over the last 10 years - wages and pensions didn’t increase by anwhere near that amount, and in fact, Howard/Costello rarely supported the most moderate increases! I find their now concern for our grocery spending irritating to say the least! What will Abbott do to pensioners if elected? What assistance re respite care for carers of severely disabled people? The list goes on and on! Neglected the citizens, and then boasted of being ‘fiscally responsible’? They wear it as a badge of honour, despite the misery suffered.

    Then, Labor gets in, and people expect it all to be fixed over night, otherwise they whinge about promises not fulfilled! This in spite of the fact, that the Libs voted against so much of Labor’s Legislation just for the sake of it!

    As for how Rudd was dumped? As Waleed Ali said on Q&A last week, nobody complained about the calls for Howard to be dumped prior to 2007? Howard refused to go, and always claimed, that he’d stay ‘as long as my party wants me’? His first priority was to what his party wanted, not how the people voted! And, if the Opposition are so outraged at the way a PM was dumped in his first term, blah blah, then why didn’t they show him more respect? Why didn’t the media? The gross hypocrisy makes me sick! None of them give a hoot about how we vote - we’re just seduced prior to elections, and given the mushroom treatment for the intervening years?

    As to the immigration numbers? Howard increased them markedly in every sphere but asylum seekers. Under Malcolm Fraser, there were 170,000 Vietnamese asylum seekers allowed to settle here in 2 years. They’ve become wonderful citizens and contributors to this country. We’re all enriched by them living among us. The sun has risen and set ever since. It was Costello who actively encouraged more babies - now Abbott is raving on for opportunistic reasons. They allowed the system to be rorted, and people coming here to study contribute at least a billion to the economy. Very few of their so-called policies show any deep thought or pre-planning. The so-called population policy, reducing immigration numbers was going to decrease anyway - to about 150,000 - less than what Abbott and Scot Morrison are raving on about! They treat us as though we’re idiots, or can’t remember any facts, figures and/or past behaviours! Drives me nuts!

  • 46
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Watching SBS news was far more interesting than watching two losers bashing refugees for blood sport and the appalling media letting them.

  • 47
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Yes but Astro he would hardly be struggling if he and his wife are living on two good incomes and with all the expenses an MP can claim! Please!!!! I agree with Leone, its all a fake and a phoney designed to show up Julia for being an out of touch single female (because of course, we don’t have bills and mortages to pay do we?).
    Oh, and who mentioned that dreadful phrase ‘working families’ - Troy, go the dunces corner right now!!! !

  • 48
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    @ASTRO - Tony Abbott declared on the parliament register that he re-drawed a large amount of money on his home mortgage.
    What exactly does “re-drawed” mean?

    I also remember him bellyaching after he lost govt, having to live on a backbencher’s income! I nearly threw up! If only most Aussies had that trauma to live through! $180,000 plus lerks and perks? Kids almost grown up; no babies or sick or disabled children? Other challenges? Mental illnesses - particularly those brought about by overwork and underpayment of workers/carers/pensioners etc? Or those poor people who can’t even find a place to rent, let alone buy their own home! Hasn’t said much about homeless people has he? At least Labor has injected monies into public housing around the country!

    @SHEPHERDMARILYN - I wished I had done that too! I thought there’d be much discussion about the so-called debate, so watched out of a perceived necessity, and was busy also?My eldest son participated in the debating team while in High School - I was often his ‘audience’ - good too! Occasionally there’s a debate on TV - a real debate! Most enjoyable!

  • 49
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    So over it already. Not only do the two politicians sound the same, but it looks like all the media is pretty similar too. Yawn. When will Bob Brown be given a guernsey at one of these things. I’m guessing never.

  • 50
    Posted Monday, 26 July 2010 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    @Astro - no I’m not incorrect. Abbott toook out the loans in April 2008, he didn’t declare them until a bout a month ago - two years later - and only after it was questioned. This is an apparent breach of the parliamentary rules covering MPs’ pecuniary interests, they are required to register any changes to interests, benefits or liabilities within 28 days.

    Poor Tony took a $90,000 pay cut when he lost his ministerial salary and found it difficult to live on a mere $100,00+ income. Private school fees can be so expensive.

    As for the Abbott residence - maybe James Packer would think it modest, to most of us it’s pretty palatial.