With apologies to Monty Python and the Four Yorkshiremen, Crikey presents: The race to the bottom to get to the top.

ACT 1: The battle begins

JOHN HOWARD:
Mr Rudd is very inexperienced, and for the record, incidentally, I’m still a tad younger now than what Ronald Reagan was when he started as president of the United States.

KEVIN RUDD:
I’ll say to you friends one and all, win this election we will.

HOWARD:
I’m not boasting that I’m going to win, as my opponent is.

RUDD:
I believe there is a force for change in Australia.

HOWARD: 
Gee, my experience is that the Australian people don’t like anybody telling them who they’re going to vote for until they decide who they’re going to vote for.

RUDD: 
This will be a tough fight.

HOWARD:
I’ve got the fight of my life.

RUDD:
I’ve always said we’re up against a clever politician and he’s going to be a force to be reckoned with.

HOWARD:
I don’t take anything for granted, certainly not the people who’ve elected me to Parliament for the past 32 years.

ACT 2: The budget lands

RUDD:
There’s still a few months to go before this election. But he’ll get a surge in the polls and I dare say I won’t.

HOWARD:
We certainly know that the Labor Party has compromised its economic credentials … but I don’t expect there to be any significant turnaround in the polls.

RUDD:
You can’t hand out a bucketful of money to the Australian community and not get some bounce.

HOWARD:
I think people are reading too much into the last few weeks.

RUDD:
It will be very much a marathon and … I expect we’ll take a pounding in the opinion polls as a result of this budget.

HOWARD:
Bennelong is a hard seat.

MAXINE McKEW: 
The Prime Minister has held this seat since 1974.

HOWARD:
It has been made harder by the redistribution.

McKEW:
He is exceptionally well known, he brings the whole stature of the highest office in the land to this seat.

HOWARD: It’s not easy, it’s a tough ask, it’s a marginal seat.

McKEW: It will require a miracle of gigantic proportions for Labor to take this seat.

ACT 3: And still the Lib polls slide

TONY ABBOTT: The Coalition is absolutely rock solid behind the PM. He’s been by far the most successful Prime Minister since Bob Menzies and he just gets better as he goes on.

HOWARD: The latest Newspoll is the highest Labor two-party preferred result since we came to office … the polls have the ALP winning emphatically.

ABBOTT: I think all of us are only too well aware of the fact that if the polls were reflected in an election vote there would be a new government and Kevin Rudd would be prime minister.

JOE HOCKEY: It’s a realistic warning.

RUDD (via spokesman): It is important that Labor neither be nor be seen to be complacent.

HOWARD: We can win this election but it will be a mammoth effort required.

RUDD: The period when the parliament is not sitting could often be a difficult time for Opposition to get traction. Particularly in the context of the Government spending a lot of money on advertising.

HOWARD (via spokesman): People might think I’ve got a rabbit to pull out of the hat. I don’t.

RUDD: History is against the Labor Party given that only twice since the war have we won from opposition.

HOWARD: The public opinion polls suggest we would not just lose but be annihilated.

PETER COSTELLO: Sigh.

Stay tuned for the final two acts of The Election, a looming tragedy according to all players currently traversing the stage.

For the original “You were lucky” sketch (“I had to get up in the morning at ten o’clock at night half an hour before I went to bed, drink a cup of sulphuric acid, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill”, etc), click here for the script and here for the YouTube clip.