If one were able to gain entry to the Party dressing sheds at half-time, what would the coaches and advisers be saying to the main protagonists? My imagination sees the two coaches focusing on the following matters.

Coach Howard

Rudd is killing us – too fast – can’t land a telling blow;

The Youth v Age factor is biting in the electorate;

The “sins of the past” (Hicks, AWB, Iraq, Detention Centres etc) are coming back to haunt;

The ALP lead is beginning to solidify;

Our best hope is for a close finish;

Many tactics of the first half (personal attacks, policy back flips) have been counterproductive;

The electorate either doesn’t believe us or has stopped listening at this stage of the campaign;

Second half tactics should focus on:

  • Continue to push the union bogeyman;
  • Look for a “killer blow” on Rudd;
  • Shore up the rocky marginals through wise & popular local initiatives;
  • Maximise international & security-related opportunities
  • Tone down the attacks – too strident;

Other considerations:

  • Bring back Arthur Sinodinis for the campaign;
  • Bring back Graham Morris;
  • Announce clear leadership transition arrangements.

Coach Rudd

We’re well ahead on the scoreboard – but we’ve had some lucky bounces of the ball

Our support seems to be firming – but we can’t take that for granted;

Our strategy & tactics to date have been good – making the Government look pedestrian by comparison;

Party discipline has been pretty good;

Second half tactics should focus on:

  • Lock in & consolidate the lead;
  • Maintain the gains whilst searching for new victories; 
  • Avoid smugness, smartness, hubris – whilst also avoiding artificial humility; 
  • Keep Mr Howard spinning through fast footwork & guerrilla tactics;
  • Keep the focus on issues, not the person – maintaining the high moral ground;
  • Keep the unions quiet;
  • Maintain strict Party discipline

Other considerations:

  • Keep the Premiers at a distance to avoid the 100% Labor rule tag;
  • Keep ex Labor leaders out of the debate;
  • Downplay the religion card;
  • Go for the jugular – maximise the result – whilst maintaining the “underdog” status.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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