Security is an issue where the public still believes John Howard can do a better job than Kevin Rudd. So think globally and keep warning the people about international terrorism. Just don’t forget to act locally.

And so it was yesterday that the Prime Minister did his bit to bring the Liberal Party’s law-and-order stamp to the Nollamara Shopping Centre in the West Australian city of Stirling. Let the Prime Minister explain in his own words.

On 3 March 2007, a 37-year-old man using an Automatic Teller Machine at the shopping centre was attacked by a man wielding a pick axe. When Michael Keenan, the local Federal MP for Stirling, brought this to my attention I was keen for the Australian Government to contribute to making the community safer.

The Australian Government is committed to helping local communities fight crime and has a number of programs, including the National Community Crime Prevention Program, that promote partnerships to address crime at the grass roots level.

The Government is delighted to be able to assist the local community and the City of Stirling by providing funding of $85,000 to implement this important community project. The Be Seen project involves installing up to 10 modern digital TV cameras, control equipment and advisory signage throughout the shopping centre to deter crime and improve the capacity of law enforcement officers, who will work in partnership with the Council, to deal with any crime that does occur.

As the government gravy train moved on with this latest piece of localised bribery, Mr Howard was refining the man-of-the-people campaigning technique, borrowed from the United States, that looks like being a feature of his performances from now until election day. He set the scene at the Stirling Community morning tea with these words:

This morning I don’t want to spend a lot of time addressing you, I am going to do something that I think is very valuable at large community gatherings such as this, and that is after having said a couple of words I am going to come down on the floor and answer any questions that people want to put to me because I do think that politics could do with a re-injection of a little more direct interaction between Members of Parliament and those who pass judgements on them.

And then he was off mingling with the crowd, microphone in hand, like a good talk show host.

Perhaps he is really rehearsing for a life after politics!