The morning walks of Prime Minister John Howard are something of an anomaly in a time when political parties try to carefully control every word and movement of their leader to make sure that there is no disruption of the chosen message. Itineraries are kept secret from journalists until the very last moment to thwart any would-be hecklers and demonstrators who might otherwise get advance notice.

Those track-suited Prime Ministerial power walks are the only exception. Every television watcher knows that the PM will stride out purposefully from wherever he sleeps to get his exercise before starting the working day proper. Every day. If you want to get yourself on television just be up early yourself.

Perhaps the surprising thing is that so few people take advantage of this daily opportunity to spread their message. So far during this campaign, with the exception of those Chaser boys, there have been very few planned interruptions of Mr Howard’s routine.

This morning there was an unplanned incident when Mr Howard was called a “bloody ar-ehole” while walking along the banks of the River Torrens by a middle aged rower. And yesterday, enjoying his regular early morning walk along the shore of Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin, another walker shouted at him “You’re a disgrace, John.”

Neither incident was very serious but they show the risk of the daily campaign strategy being sabotaged that must surely outweigh any advantage that the track suited image provides.

And the Crikey Daily Verdict, as well as the polls, shows that the Coalition campaign cannot afford upsets. Yesterday provided Labor with another clear win.

Coalition ALP
Television 0.88 2.47
Newspapers 0.01 0.12
Radio 0.12 0.39
Internet 0.00 0.34
TOTAL 1.01 3.32

You will find details of the way the Daily Verdict is compiled, with the help of raw material provided by our friends at Media Monitors, on the Crikey website.

Peter Fray

72 hours only. 50% off a year of Crikey and The Atlantic.

Our two-for-one offer with The Atlantic was so popular we decided to bring it back.

But only for 72 hours.

Use the promo code ATLANTIC2020 and you’ll get 50% off a year of Crikey (usually $199) and a year of digital access to The Atlantic (usually $70). That’s BOTH for just $129.

Hurry. Ends midnight this Thursday.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

Claim Now