• The election is surely now the Liberals’ to lose after Labor’s week from hell obliterated its polling lead. Today’s “let Julia be Julia” gimmick – a time-honoured campaign trope for leaders trailing in the polls – begs the question of exactly what Labor’s campaign team thought it was doing in its preparation for the election and the first two weeks, when each morning evidently started with Gillard being given ground Valium on her cereal.
  • If Labor are to recover, they’ll need more days like yesterday, where things went awry for the Liberals. Tony Abbott looked like a rabbit caught in the headlights as Laurie Oakes bore down on him with his innumerable policy positions and Alexander Downer’s attack on Kevin Rudd – facilitated by News Ltd, natch – looked like an assault on a sick man. The rate at which Downer and Abbott backtracked from the attack showed how poorly it came across.
  • You haven’t got much of a campaign if you can’t make the economy front and centre in it. Labor was bizarrely shown up by the Greens yesterday, who both at their campaign launch and in their new ads, make much of how the stimulus package saved Australia from recession. As the chances of a double-dip recession steadily improve overseas, you’d think Labor would be able to make some headway on the economy, but not so far.
  • Plus ça change on the North Shore. Remind you of someone? John Alexander’s campaign poster seems to have been carefully styled for resemblance to a certain former Prime Minister:

john

  • Only in this bizarrely – and bizarrely uninteresting – campaign can Labor’s distribution of Tony Abbott’s comments on a variety of subjects be described by serious journalists as a “smear campaign” — a term they so far haven’t used about the remorseless focus on Gillard’s marital and parental status.
  • The Senate group voting tickets released over the weekend suggest the Greens will, for a second election in a row, fail to get to a quota in NSW unless they manage it under their own steam – which on current polls is unlikely. But, oddity of oddities, the ACT Liberals are buying prime-time TV ads attacking the Greens in Canberra and urging voters not to vote for them in the Senate. It comes following a poll early last week giving Labor a 21-point lead in neighbouring Eden-Monaro. Are the Liberals worried?

Peter Fray

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