Out of my comfort zone. I confess to being confused about this election. I have been writing about them, and participating in them, federal and state, for nearly 50 years but have not come across anything like this one.  My experience tells me that first-term governments don't lose when economic conditions are basically good. Yet, a first-term government in good economic times that sacks its leaders on the eve of the campaign and then welcomes the vanquished back to campaign on his record? What are the public going to make of that? Frankly, I just don't know. If there is ever going to be an election that a government loses because of its own stupidity, this is it.

Start talking of Labor. One thing the government, all the members of it, should start doing is to talk about the Labor government. Forget this business of always personalising it as the Gillard government.  Having admitted that its not a one-woman band, get less presidential. At least if they call it the Labor government ministers can selectively pick out the good bits from the record of the past three years without having to mention the dreaded Rudd government words.