Labor’s former national president Tim Gartrell called it the vomit principle.

Repeat the message over and over and over again. And just when you think you’ll hurl chunks if you have to say it one more time, say it again.

Then, and only then, will the public begin to hear you.

Rudd excelled at it. But Gillard? Gillard is amazing. It’s part of the reason why she uttered the now immortal sentence on Saturday: “Moving forward means moving forward…”

Yes, really.

Welcome to federal election 2010, a campaign that, going off early form, is set to take empty rhetoric to new heights.

There is, however, a method to the madness. We’re going to take our cues from Gillard and repeat the imagery here: talk back radio is a little like chunder. The most substantial bits float to the top. A glance at the transcripts this morning shows every political cliché in the book being trotted out by mouthy callers across the nation:

  • Caller Rick in Brisbane says this year he will vote for the Coalition as he doesn’t want the future of his children to be run by the politics of union officials.
  • Colleen says Labor is like a ‘kid in the candy store’ when it gets in power and spends too much money which results in the Coalition having to pay the money back.
  • Caller Lorraine says Julia Gillard was featured in the Launceston weekend paper doing a Nazi salute and that this is not the first time she has done this.
  • Caller Terry says Tony Abbott’s push bike has 10 reverse gears and the former PM was not handled well by Labor at all.
  • Caller Jenny says she will vote Liberal because she wants to vote for someone who believes in ‘children, marriage and God’.
  • Caller Amy says a stamp costs 60 cents now and it seems a lot.

This is why we get Moving Forward and Standing Up 24/7. It’s for Colleen and Terry and Rick and Amy. Well maybe not Amy. Amy might vote Family First regardless.

For the rest of us, there’s Crikey‘s meatier coverage. If you’re looking for substance in the five weeks till August 21, stick with us. Together, we can try to get through this ordeal without throwing up.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey