Congratulations folks, we’ve made it. The final week is here.
The major candidates stepped up their campaign over the weekend as they looked for one big push to get them over the line. Julia Gillard was announcing a carbon credits fund for farmers on Saturday, before crashing a junior football grand final in Melbourne on Sunday. Tony Abbott was offering incentives to miners on Saturday, before sharing a middy of light beer with locals in Penrith on Sunday.
Gillard is in Brisbane today, where she wheeled out Bob Hake, Anna Bligh and Kevin Rudd to help launch the Labor Party campaign, while Tony Abbott is continuing his blitz of marginal seats in western Sydney.
Meanwhile, all the focus has been on the marginal battleground of Queensland, where campaign workers and candidates were letting their fists do the talking.
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So, after 29 days of minor party nutjobs, Julia Gillard’s Factional Fight Club has covered 39,421km, while Tony Abbott’s Hustings Heavyweights have taken back the lead with 40,800km. Together, that’s an amazing 80,221km — the equivalent of more than 585 million middy glasses.
- Gillard visited a farm near Ballina in the marginal Labor seat of Page (2.4% ALP) on Saturday, where she announced a $46 million scheme that would allow farmers to sell carbon credits that they earn from progressive farming practices. Gillard said farmers could earn $500 million over the next decade by selling their credits on the international market. “This is a scheme where polluters pay; they pay because they’re the ones who buy credits,” said Gillard.
- Gillard was in Diamond Creek in the super marginal Victorian seat of McEwen (0.00% LIB) on Sunday, where she watched South Morang take on Research in an Under 13s Aussie rules grand final. For the record, Research stormed home in the last quarter to win the premiership flag by a comfortable margin.
- Gillard is in Brisbane today, where she is launching the Labor Party campaign in front of party faithful at the Brisbane Convention Centre. Wayne Swan, Anna Bligh and Bob Hawke spoke at the event, as Kevin Rudd watched on from the front row. It was a largely substance-free launch, as Gillard trialed her new “Yes we will” campaign slogan. Meanwhile, it was left to Wayne Swan to bring the zingers, as he told the crowd that Abbott wanted to take Australia back to a time “when broadband was something on your hat”.
- Abbott was in Perth on Saturday, where he announced $418.3 million in incentives for the mining industry. The initiatives include $150 million for an exploration and development program, with most of the funding to be redirected from the carbon capture and storage funding. “Now it is safer to invest in Argentina, in Tanzania, in Zambia and Ghana and in Botswana than it is to invest in Australia,” said Abbott at the launch.
- Abbott was back in western Sydney on Sunday night, where he shared a beer with locals at the Penrith Panthers club. Abbott copped some stick for his drink of choice — a light beer — of which he only drank half. “I know, I know, and I call myself a real Aussie bloke,” he joked.
- Tony Abbott is visiting marginal western Sydney today, as he blitzes the seats of Macquarie, Lindsay, Hughes, Macarthur and Greenway. It wasn’t all beer and skittles for the Opposition Leader however, after he was forced to cancel a train trip from the Blue Mountains to Penrith when “union organisers” got word of his plans.
- The campaign turned decidely nasty over the weekend, as both parties were involved in bitter stoushes in marginal Queensland. It was the Battle of Bowen in the seat of Dawson on Saturday, as Labor candidate Mike Brunker “decked” the president of the Bowen Turf Club, while in Longman an LNP campaign worker and Wyatt Roy supporter landed a decent right hook on a Labor campaign worker:
- The Mark Latham show rolled on last night as the former opposition leader finally made his journalistic debut on Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes. Apart from airing his well-trodden run-ins with Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott and Laurie Oakes, Latham urged voters to make a ‘‘totally blank’’ protest vote this Saturday.
- Sport has been a constant theme throughout this campaign and this weekend was no different, as both candidates took part in some more classic sporting photo-ops:
- Tony Abbott’s “boat people truck” made another appearance on Friday, as the opposition leader outlined his plans to “stop the boats” in Perth:
- “So you reverse it by giving the youth a mission, which is a Moon-Mars mission, for their generation 100 years down the track.” — Trudy Campbell, Citizens Electoral Council candidate for Solomon, outlines her ambitious plan to tackle youth homelessness in the top end.
Where they are today:
- Julia Gillard and most of the Labor team — including Kevin Rudd — are bunkered down in Brisbane ahead of the belated Labor Party launch at the city’s Convention and Exhibition Centre at lunchtime.
- Meanwhile, Tony Abbott has launched a campaign blitz on western Sydney — five marginal seats in a day. He was out early, in Greenway at Faulconbridge Public School in the Blue Mountains to talk about BER failures. “They have not got the better library they should have had from BER building program,” he said.
- Bob Brown is in Adelaide to talk renewable energy, and this afternoon heads to Brisbane to speak at a function on the Greens’ opposition to Labor’s internet filter proposals.
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.