The tacticians at the Liberal Party headquarters can take a bow. They have had a good week so far and won three of the five days measured by our Daily Verdict.
Yesterday showed all the signs of great planning. Months ago someone started a very clever email campaign on the theme of trade union domination of the Labor Party front bench. I assume, but do not know, that the Liberal Party machine was behind it but they cleverly kept their stamp off it.
Then on Wednesday was the launch by the Treasurer Peter Costello of a television advertisement with the same message but with the subtlety dispensed with. If it looked a bit crude and coarse it nevertheless left an impression.
It was a wonderful softening up for what came yesterday when Gavan O’Connor, the man who had represented Labor in the seat of Corio for 14 years, decided to stand as an Independent.
Mr O’Connor lost his Labor pre-selection to make way for ACTU assistant secretary Richard Marles and for the Liberals it could not have been better. Commercial television treated Mr O’Connor’s attack on union domination of his old party as the major story of the day although the ABC and SBS managed to find a way of downplaying it.
Now that I am studying the television news bulletins in some detail I do note how favourably the government owned networks have treated the Labor Party so far!
This morning’s newspapers, which the Daily Verdict calculations treat as part of yesterday, were dominated by opinion polls. The stories showing an improvement in the fortunes of the Coalition would give comfort to Liberals and Nationals but actually hurt the Liberal and National parties more than helping them. A public perception that Labor is going to win easily is the right climate for an underdog effect to click in.
The Daily Verdict for Day 5 was:
Putting all the five days together gives the following picture: