Just a few days to go now and it looks like the debate stand-off could be coming to an end, with both leaders agreeing to meet at Broncos Leagues club tonight. Julia Gillard was in marginal north Queensland yesterday, as she tried to win over a range of key sunshine state seats that polls suggest are moving away from the Labor Party. Meanwhile, Tony Abbott was in Canberra outlining his youth employment incentives yesterday, before heading to an interview on the 7.30 Report. However all the talk was about tomato sauce yesterday, as a Townsville journo quizzed the PM on free condiments at bakeries.


So after 31 Peter Garrett-free days, Julia Gillard’s Sauce Bottle Squad have squeezed their way through 40,225km, while Tony Abbott’s Uncosted Coalition have made their way to 41,268km. Together, that’s  81,493km — the equivalent of 271 million sauce bottles.


  • Tony Abbott addressed the National Press Club in Canberra, where he outlined his scheme that offers unemployed young people up to $6,500 for finding and keeping jobs. The bonus would see people under the age of 30 receive payments of $6500 if they can stay off the dole for more than 12 months. If they keep the job for two years they will receive a further incentive of $4,000. Abbott defended his decision not to provide costings on how much the policy would cost. “This is a policy of incentives; it’s not a policy of punishment,” Abbott said.
  • Abbott then went on The 7.30 Report in Sydney, where Kerry O’Brien persisted with questions about the ridiculous debate debate. There was some resolution to the will-we-or-won’t-we debate issue, with Julia Gillard confirming she’ll attend a town hall-style forum in Brisbane tonight, but is still pushing Abbott to debate her on the economy for a full hour (as opposed to Abbott’s favoured half-hour).


  • Julia Gillard blitzed far north Queensland yesterday, as she tries to keep the economy on the agenda ahead of Saturday’s poll. As well as visiting a workshop in Mackay, the prime minister took in Townsville and Emerald. Labor is trying to improve its standing in the key state, after they were damaged by Kevin Rudd’s dumping. The local member for Dawson is Mike Brunker, who was involved in a controversial fracas with the president of the Bowen Turf Club over the weekend. When asked about the stoush, Gillard said she was in Mackay to talk about the economy.

Sauce Gate:

  • It’s the controversy to end all controversies and Townsville were all over it yesterday, when local radio announcer Blake Pattenden asked Julia Gillard during a press conference whether sauce should be given out free with pies. It was a scoop that hit the nation’s papers and weren’t the Townsville Bulletin proud:


Stunt Watch:

  • Sport is once again the theme in stunt watch, as the opposition leader dangles a line for a photo-op in Narooma in NSW:


Nulla Nulla Gate:



  • ”It was put on out of the bottle at the bakery. I know in the modern age, I’m not sure but perhaps for health and safety reasons, we’ve moved to plastic packets you squeeze and you pay for. I guess it is better when the sauce comes for free.” — Julia Gillard airs her views on Sauce Gate.

Where they are today:

  • Julia Gillard spent the night in Perth and will continue campaigning there today, announcing a $10 million program to include financial literacy in high school maths programs — so they can choose the best mobile phone plan. She’ll fly to Brisbane later today for Rooty Hill: The Return — Gillard will answer questions at another town hall meeting, this time at the Broncos Leagues Club in Red Hill, at 7:30pm after her opponent takes to the stage (or the audience) at 6pm.
  • Tony Abbott is taking the long road to Brisbane, moving through marginal territory in Rockhampton and Gladstone on his way south.
  • Bob Brown is in the nation’s capital for his National Press Club address at 12:30pm. Gillard is the last of the three leaders to speak tomorrow.

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.