Political television advertising ground to a halt last night with the major parties having spent $40 million or so without achieving anything. There has not been a single ad from either side that has cut through the natural scepticism of voters towards messages from politicians. In short there has been a colossal waste of money.
Now I am not an avid television viewer but for the last five weeks I have forced myself to watch the nightly news and current affairs programs on all channels and offerings like Rove where political comments might bob up. Thus I have been subjected to a fair bombardment of messages from Liberal, Labor, Nationals and Greens.
I know there was some rather pale imitation of an old time John Singleton whinging Wendy ad for Labor but for the life of me I can not remember what this less coarse version of Wendy was actually on about. Johnny Howard was doing something or other wrong but I completely missed the message.
There were blips, too, coming from the screen and I think I was being told that Kevin Rudd was staying for three years while Johnny was going before then. I guess whether you thought that was a good thing or a bad thing depended on what you thought of the two gentlemen and the use of Peter Costello off the interchange bench.
Trade union leaders have never been a frightening lot of fellows for most Australians because they have never thought employers provided a five day week of 40 hours or less with annual holidays and sick leave and time off for lunch, equal pay for women and a few weeks of maternity leave, out of the goodness of their hearts. Now those battles for a civilised balance between capital and labour are established, most people don’t need a union any more but that doesn’t mean they think of union officials as ogres.
That “trade union official” stamp coming down in Liberal Party advertisements about the prospective Labor Party ministerial team perhaps would reassure more people than it frightened. There’s nothing scary for an ordinary worker about protection by a trade union influenced government without having to pay union dues!
The nearest I have to a recollection of an advertisement that might influence me on Saturday is the Green undertaker Bob Brown telling me I can have two bangs for my buck by voting Greens first and then for someone else with the sombre Senator suggesting, I think, that the someone else should be Labor.
The idea of a Senate with checks and balances got through to me in the Greens’ advertising campaign. Whether it impressed a greater constituency we will know come Saturday night but I venture that the limited Greens advertising budget is the only one that will provide value-for-money in this campaign.