The Coalition launched its campaign on Monday and enjoyed a day of glowing headlines following Howard’s pitch for votes. Read the Crikey Cabbie Panel’s views on the occasion here.

Yesterday it was the ALP’s turn, and the reviews today have been good. But was it enough to swing the momentum their way? We referred the question to the Crikey Cabbie Panel.

Bruce Tootell, Melbourne. Yes, yesterday was good for Labor, but it should have been. You’re giving good news, which is a wonderful thing to give. But I don’t think right now either party is taking much off each other. The index has moved about a quarter of a percent. Why haven’t the Libs brought their team into it? They’ve got a good team and nobody has seen them. Where’s Brendan Nelson? Brendan Nelson is sharp, and put the earring back in him – it attracts the left. Bring in your best looking women. Bring in your men that wear suits that fit. Don’t bring in your obese people. Don’t bring in Philip Ruddock. Here’s the point. Last week there was a big horse race. The horse that was the second best sprinter in Australia – Gold Edition – went to the centre of the track, then the jockey cut back to the inside. The horse that was the best sprinter, which was Miss Andretti, followed him. Miss Andretti’s jockey knew he could beat him if he was on the same side of the track. Rudd is Miss Andretti, Howard is Gold Edition, and Rudd is slipstreaming him all the way to the post. Rudd is going to slipstream past Howard on election day, and I don’t think the campaign launches really changed that.

Alex Hryciw, Adelaide. Not really. The general feeling is that the old boy might get himself back in again. The people have spoken with their hearts and they’re saying the politicians all speak with forked tongues. They try to give the public the hope that they will get some benefit out of all these promises, but you only have to look at the price of petrol to see neither party can do much about it. They might give you $500 but you’re already spending an extra $20 a week on gas. I think Johnny’s getting his people back in again. One old lady said this morning she wished those kids in parliament would stop abusing each other. She doesn’t want people like that in there. She wants people who are going to give us some sort of direction. And the bloke who’s got the direction is the bloke who’s already been in there for ten years.

Gerard Donaghy, Gold Coast. No. The worry is Labor’s capacity to handle the financials. They are trying to moderate the worries out there about Labor’s credentials in the financial field, but I don’t think this really does it. First time voters are gobbling up the announcements because it’s the first time they’ve paid any attention to it, but they’re yet to be disappointed by either of the major parties. By and large people don’t trust politicians. They’re about 30 points lower than used car salesmen. As far as election campaigns go, they’re a bit like fish and chips. Towards the end, you’re going through the fat chips looking for the little crispy ones, and of course there’s always a fight for them, but I don’t think people have reached that stage yet. But it’s not like we’re going to become Stalinist Russia if Labor gets in. Then again, if the Libs get back in, Howard’s only going to be there for another year. People know they’re going to get Costello soon enough. The problem there is that he’s about as useful as a back pocket on a singlet.

To read more from the Crikey Cabbie Panel, click here

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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