As it turns out, Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard really DO take longer to answer questions than their predecessors.
We looked at Question Times in August and September this year and last year and at the start of last year, and compared them to similar dates in 2007, 2006, 2005 and 2004, looking at how long Prime Ministers and their deputies took to answer questions.
Julia Gillard is streets ahead in prolixity, averaging nearly 750 words per answer, or over 200 more than her boss.
The Prime Minister, however, is master of the set-piece Dorothy Dixer where he rises, usually for the second question of the day, and bores the Parliament into a coma by reading a 1000-word essay into Hansard.
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John Howard, in contrast, was the soul of brevity, at around 350 words, more than half Julia Gillard’s average, less even than Peter Costello. Indeed, there was a day in February 2007 when Howard was particularly terse, taking 17 questions and answering them in less than 100 words each.
Rudd and Gillard might learn from their predecessors that, every so often, a brisk “no” is the best answer of all.
|Total questions||Total word count||Average of totals||Shortest complete answer|
|Date||Name||No. of questions||Answer word count in total||Average words per answer|
Additional research, Crikey intern Nina Nicoll.