The Prime Minister is in the West, the Liberals’ land of opportunity.

Yesterday, he was campaigning in Kalgoorlie – an electorate The Crikey Guide to the 2007 Election describes as fairly safe Liberal territory with a margin of 6.3%.

Does anyone notice the disconnect here?

The Kalgoorlie visit was designed to highlight the upside of AWA’s – but the West is a seller’s market when it comes to labour. Its experience is scarcely reflected across the country.

And despite this, the Prime Minister is out there treating a 6.3% seat as if it is a marginal. It’s why he’s Prime Minister, of course, but there’s something odd here.

Western Australia is the only bright spot for the government on a dark electoral landscape. We know about the two speed economy, but at the moment nobody sees the government picking up seats in the other boom state of Queensland.

So what if the Liberals take Cowan and pick up the seat the Bomber is leaving behind, Swan? Two seats won’t matter if their vote collapses down the east coast and they lose Braddon, maybe Bass, and a swag of seats in South Australia.

Kevin Rudd’s forestry announcement might have copped the predictable flak, but he’s going where he needs to win seats.

In contrast, the Prime Minister looks like he’s laying out sandbags against a rising Labor tide and retreating to higher ground to gain some respite, in search of some positive imagery for the nightly news.

No wonder he’s ended up on his knees.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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