Well, well, well, doesn’t time fly? Here we are, only one sleep away from what Mark Vaile says is the most important moment in the whole history of the Australian nation … Where, oh where, have the last six weeks gone?
If for any reason you have had trouble sorting the beautiful and the bizarre from the banal over the last 40 days (and hasn’t there been a bit of that?), then Crikey’s Election Tracker Timeline can help.
Below is a chronological list of the occasionally good and frequently bad of the Federal Election Campaign. If you are Tony Abbott, it might be best to exit now and log on to seek.com.au. But for the rest of us, here is the mercifully brief, best and worst of Campaign ’07 — free of boring bits.
Day 1, 15 October 2007 — Wham! Bang! And they got into stride early. The Coalition launched its tax policy on day 1. Too much, too soon? Perhaps we’ll know on Sunday.
Day 1, 15 October 2007 — The first public gaffe with Howard accused of not showing enough interest. Subsequent stuff-ups will have the Libs looking back on this moment with misty-eyed longing.
Day 4, 18 October 2007 — Craig, pronounced Scott. John Howard calls Liberal candidate Craig Thomas “Scott”, despite Thomas wearing his own name on his T-shirt.
Day 5, 19 October 2007 — A walking, talking, breathing John Howard tells men dressed as rabbits, “you blokes are a lot funnier when you pick on someone who’s alive.” Hmmmmm.
Day 5, 19 October 2007 — Labor enters the policy fray with a tax package uncannily similar to the one announced by the other mob a few days ago.
Day 5, 19 October 2007 — Malcolm Turnbull gives a new meaning to political spin. Some little kids get to feel nauseous.
Day 8, 22 October 2007 — “You’re a disgrace!” — “Shut up you idiot!” — Repartee on the campaign trail.
Day 11, 25 October 2007 — Rudd spoils a party. Why? Because he’s an ignorant bast-rd of course.
Day 13, 27 October 2007 — Kyoto casts its shadow Part 1. Whispers are that Malcolm Turnbull tried to talk John Howard around on signing the Kyoto protocol. Whispers are that he started the whispers.
Day 15, 29 October 2007 — Peter Costello may not know everything but he does know one thing: where cacti come from.
Day 15, 29 October 2007 — Election 07 has made Andrew Quah a household name, but it may not be his face that most people recognise. “That’s not my p-nis,” said Quah after photos emerged of the trouserless Family First candidate on the internet. Who said Web 2.0 wouldn’t influence this election?
Day 16, 30 October 2007 — Here comes Johnny singing oldies, goldies … Mr Howard on Dire Straits. Omen?
Day 17, 31 October 2007 — Halloween turns into a nightmare for the Libs. First, the PM gets gate crashed by FM radio hosts and women bearing election viagra on his morning walk. Then, Tony Abbott is forced to apologise to the terminally ill Bernie Banton for his impolitic comments. And lastly, the Monk is tardy then tart during the health debate at the Press Club. All of which overshadows the government’s pledge to train hundreds of extra nurses and doctors.
Day 18, 1 November 2007 — And the apologies did not end there. Abbott called Labor politician Lara Giddings the “most incompetent health minister in Tasmania’s history”. He later said sorry for his remarks.
Day 19, 2 November 2007 — The next time Peter Garrett wants to share a joke with someone, he might want to look a bit further (or higher) than Sydney shock-jock Steve Price.
Day 21, 4 November 2007 — And the runner-up for unedifying mental picture of the election campaign is Tanya Costello who informed the Australian people that husband Peter practises his witticisms in the shower. Ewwww.
Day 22, 5 November 2007 — Eat his RM Williams, man! Mark Vaile turns his cap backwards and jumps on a skateboard. This is called keeping it real.
Day 23, 6 November 2007 — Out, out damn spot! Kevin Rudd, devout Catholic, is spotted with a sore on his hand. As it turns out, not stigmata but a campaign wound from shaking so many hands. Let’s just hope he doesn’t develop a cold sore.
Day 25, 8 November 2007 — Mr Howard says sorry for interest rate rises . . . which is by no means an apology.
Day 25, 8 November 2007 — Passed out in Penrith. A woman is knocked unconscious in a shopping centre. The PM does not rush to her aid.
Day 29, 12 November 2007 — The winners of the unedifying mental picture of the election campaign are the good people at Galaxy who ran a poll on which leader people would prefer to see naked. John Howard lost.
Day 30, 13 November 2007 — Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan visit their old school, an institution where Swan apparently used to be “cool”.
Day 31, 14 November 2007 — It’s official Part 2. Labor launches its campaign vowing not to repeat the irresponsible spending promised at the Coalition’s launch two days earlier.
Day 32, 15 November 2007 — Son nom est Alexander Downer. Il était le Napoléon du Parti Libéral.
Day 32, 15 November 2007 — Tony Abbott has had a good campaign, in inverted commas. He has been gaffe-free, in inverted commas. And importantly, none of his errors were caught on camera, in inverted commas.
Day 33, 16 November 2007 — The deputy PM Mark Vaile suggests that maybe the auditor-general isn’t so independent after all, suggesting that the timing of a damaging report into government abuse of regional grants was politically motivated, pointing out it was released a week before the election. The AG begs to differ.
Day 34, 17 November 2007 — “Kevin Rudd’s a wanker!” At least that’s the view of one Adelaide local. The Labor Party is tight lipped about what their internal polling says on the issue.
Day 35, 18 November 2007 — Kevin reveals who he will turn gay for. You ready? You sure? Here it is . . . it’s . . . his wife! Oh.
Day 36, 19 November 2007 — Kyoto casts its shadow Part 2. Peter Debnam says Australia should have signed the Kyoto protocol long ago. Unusual words for a former leader of the NSW Liberal Party.
Day 36, 19 November 2007 — A schoolgirl faints, obviously overcome by the presence of Rudd and Cocks. Rudd rushes to her aid.
Day 37, 20 November 2007 — It has the whiff of palm sweat and straws. Andrew Robb’s claims that up to 13 Labor Candidates are ineligible to stand for election unravel.
Day 38, 21 November 2007 — Rudd to the last. Kevin addresses the National Press Club in his last major speech of the campaign. Bravely, he predicts the election result will be close.
Day 38, 21 November 2007 — Julia Gillard stands up Peter Costello and, more dangerously, Jon Faine at an outside broadcast for ABC Radio, Melbourne. Gillard, it is noted by Faine, got stuck into Tony Abbott for committing the same sin earlier in the campaign.
Day 38, 21 November 2008 — The almost man. Kim Beazley gives his last ever political address, drumming up support for the Labor Party which he says will need every last vote if it is to take office on Saturday.
Day 39, 22 November 2007 — The Prime Minister tries to place the exclamation point on his election campaign with his last major speech at the national Press Club. Unfortunately for him, the husband of outgoing MP Jackie Kelly beat him to it.