It turned quiet on the campaign trail yesterday, after a fairly busy week on the hustings. Julia Gillard took the opportunity to visit Tasmania, where she launched Labor’s National Broadband Network. Meanwhile, Tony Abbott went from one RSL to another, when he visited Penrith to announce help for military veterans (no word on whether he sampled the schnitzel). However, once again, the media circus spotlight turned to Mark Latham, with Sky News faithfully reporting his interactions with a chair, a cup of coffee and the opposition leader.


So after 26 days of ribbon cutting, Julia Gillard has notched up 35,506 frequent flyer points, while Tony Abbott remains behind on 34,136km. Together, the pair have travelled 69,642km — the equivalent of 348 million chicken shnitzels.


  • Julia Gillard began her day in Midway Point, Tasmania yesterday where she launched Labor’s National Broadband Network (NBN). Tasmania is the first state to start rolling out fibre optic broadband services and Labor was given a boost by the NBN Co’s announcement the network would be 10 times faster than originally promised, with a capacity of one gigabit a second. “The future is here and the future is this national broadband investment,” said Gillard.
  • The PM then visited Riverside High School in Launceston where she was mobbed by 200 students during a visit to a Tasmanian high school. A short flight across the pond and Gillard remained in safe Labor territory when she then visited a steel factory in Sunshine in Melbourne’s west, talking up an increase in the number of people looking for jobs (rather than discussing the rise in the number of unemployed).


  • Tony Abbott began his day at the Penrith RSL yesterday, where he announced extra help for military veterans. Under the Coalition plan Abbott has pledged to index the Defence Force Retirement Benefits Fund, as well as helping disabled veterans cover out-of-pocket medicine costs. Wayne Swan slammed the plan, accusing Abbott of creating a potential $8 billion hole in the budget (Swan’s calculations stretch over 40 years).


  • Stephen Smith has raised issues with Julie Bishop’s personality and judgement at yesterday’s lively foreign affairs debate. Bishop hit back, saying Kevin Rudd would be Labor’s next foreign minister. The pair went head-to-head at the National Press Club which brought foreign affairs into the election campaign for the first time.

Latham Watch:

  • Mark Latham made yet another appearance on the campaign trail yesterday, when he bailed up Tony Abbott during his visit to the Penrith RSL. Latham criticised Abbott’s immigration policy, asking him if he wanted to apologise to Pauline Hanson for his role in her jailing for electoral fraud in 2003. Meanwhile the veterans were upset that Latham had stolen their thunder. “Piss off, Latham,” cried an old Digger. ”This is about veterans, not you.”

Omen Bets:

  • Day one of Crikey‘s election omen betting is down and we scored one result from our five wagers. POLITICALQUICKSTEP got home as a $2.70 favourite in race six on the Gold Coast. Stay tuned to Leigh Josey on the sports blog for more ridiculous gambling opportunities.

Stunt Watch:

  • Building foreman Stuart Hanson couldn’t resist planting a few kisses on the PM’s cheek after taking a look around a BER information and communication technology room in Tassie.



  • “Mark Latham is an irrelevancy in this campaign… He should stick to gardening.” — Bob Hawke dismisses Mark Latham’s move into journalism.

Where they are today:

  • Julia Gillard is heading back to this election’s most-visited battleground — western Sydney — where apprenticeships are on the agenda for another day of campaigning.
  • Tony Abbott is in Melbourne, appearing on the Eddie McGuire-helmed Triple M breakfast show this morning. He’s expected to spend the day talking education policy.
  • Bob Brown has a 10:30am presser scheduled in Sydney to discuss foreign aid, before jetting back home to Hobart.

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 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.