It’s day three of the campaign and the polliticians are already clocking up the frequent flyer miles, as Tony Abbott made his first shopping centre visit of the campaign and Julia Gillard hit the stump in north Queensland. Gillard has racked up 3,742 km in the race so far (as the crow flies), while Abbott has notched up a relatively paltry 1,421 km.
The first weekday of campaigning is down and already the two big contenders are moving in opposite directions on the map. Here at Crikey we’ve been pin–pointing the movements of Gillard, Tony Abbott and co as they zip around the country on our Election Tracker.
Here’s what happened yesterday, Day 2 of what proved to be an eventful day on the hustings:
- The Powerfox continued her Queensland tour yesterday as Team Moving Forward took the campaign bus north to Townsville. Herbert is one of a swathe of crucial sunshine state seats and is currently on a knife-edge margin of 0.3% to Labor after a redistribution. Gillard was on the stump to spruik her regional housing affordability policy and took the opportunity to announce 15 extra rehabilitation beds for the local hospital.
- Julia Gillard then flew from Townsville to Sydney last night where she was grilled by Kerry O’Brien on The 7.30 Report. Kerry was rather prickly during the interview, quizzing Julia on the number of campaign debates (one, on Sunday night, sharing a time-slot with the grand final of Masterchef), asylum seekers and, of course, ‘moving forward’.
- Tony Abbott began the morning on talkback radio in Melbourne, where he appeared to stumble while addressing the issue of WorkChoices. Asked if he would revive the controversial legislation, Abbott left the door slightly ajar: “I can’t say that there will never, ever, ever, for a 100 or 1,000 years time, be any change to any aspect of industrial legislation,” he said.
- The Mad Monk then took Team Real Action down Spencer Street to Crown Casino where he pledged his “unshakeable” support to Israel during a wide-ranging economic speech given to the Australian-Israel Chamber of Commerce. Peter Costello was on hand to warm up the crowd, who ate up the former treasurer’s gags about insulation batts, ‘moving forward’ and Bob Hawke’s s-x life.
- The Greens leader was in Hobart yesterday where he confirmed that the Greens have struck a preference deal with Labor. The deal — which is understood to affect the Senate and 50 House of Representatives seats — comes as the Greens regained some of the polling ground they lost to Labor after Julia Gillard’s rise to the leadership.
- Brown then flew to Adelaide where he appeared on Lateline to tell voters not to pay any attention: “ignore the preference deal that Labor’s done and the Liberals have done and put your own preferences where you want to.”
Any giant novelty cheques?
The stunts came thick and fast yesterday, with both sides partaking in some campaign tomfoolery:
- Tony Abbott got back to the gospel truth when he signed a contract that said WorkChoices was “dead buried cremated” during a 3AW interview with Neil Mitchell:
- Labor got in on the action as well, when it was revealed that the budgie smuggler man who terrorised Knox City Shopping Centre yesterday is an apparatchik of the ALP:
Where are they moving today?
- Today, Gillard does the rounds in the electorate of Macquarie, flanked by Labor candidate Susan Templeman — the local member who’s been sending out flyers about population to voters in the outer suburban area. Macquarie is flanked by the Blue Mountains and includes suburbs and towns like Blackheath, Blaxland, Bligh Park, Katoomba, McGraths Hill, North Richmond, Springwood and Windsor. The area is also home to the Glenbrook and Richmond RAAF bases and Gillard’s arriving Richmond airforce base.
- As for Abbott, Coalition campaign headquarters are not yet in the habit of sending out daily schedule alerts, so we’re guessing Tony is still in Melbourne, presumably hiding from men in budgie smugglers.
- Bob Brown is spending the morning in Adelaide, where he is expected to thank Adelaide Zoo pandas Funi and Wang Wang who chose the Greens as their pick for Election 2010. He will then fly to Melbourne later in the afternoon.
What is the tracker?
Crikey tracks each leader’s amazing race across the country via our Election Tracker. Each day we’ll plot the leaders’ movements, feeding in the key policy announcements and spending commitments, the best media coverage and social media chat, plus the campaign stunts and bloopers. You can also use the tracker as a hub for the best Crikey coverage.
Click on the tabs across the top to watch the how many kilometres Gillard and Abbott have clocked up, the movements of other key players and finally our bloopers and stunts bonanza on the right. You can click on each stop to see what they’re up to, with links to extended coverage and detailed electorate information.