Three days to go people. Get excited. Julia Gillard made a lightening single-day trip to the west yesterday, before flying back to Brisbane for last night’s public forum. Meanwhile, Tony Abbott was once again touring the Queensland marginals, noting a “sensible politician” maximises their time where the votes are. Meanwhile, Julia Gillard was copping jibes from everywhere, including brussel sprouts.
So after 32 days of endless Rooty Hill jokes, Tony Abbott has travelled 42,287km, while Julia Gillard has stormed back into the lead with a huge 47,334km (thanks to her cross-country trip). Together, that’s an incredible 90,161 km — the equivalent of more than 1.8 billion brussel sprouts.
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- Julia Gillard visited Welshpool in the seat of Swan in Western Australia yesterday, where she spent a few hours laying a wreath at a war memorial and speaking with reporters at a local factory. After spending just a day in Perth, Gillard was back on the plane to Brisbane, where she took part in a town hall forum with Tony Abbott. Gillard defended her whirlwind trip to the west, telling reporters that all votes were important. “This trip is about me saying to the people of Western Australia their votes count on Saturday,” she said.
- Gillard then appeared at Broncos Leagues Club in Brisbane, to take part in the second public forum of the election campaign. Undecided voters asked the questions, with economic management, gay marriage and the disposal of Kevin Rudd all on the agenda. “If Kevin were here tonight, what he would be saying to this audience is that he’s come off a sick bed to campaign for the re-election of my government,” said Gillard. In an audience vote conducted after the event, Gillard was the winner by 83 votes to 75.
- Tony Abbott was campaigning in Gladstone in the marginal seat of Flynn yesterday, where he got behind the wheel of a Caterpillar bulldozer and talked with workers about Labor’s mining tax. He also told reporters the final days of the campaign will be primarily held in Queensland and western Sydney.”Sensibly, in the last few days of the campaign, I am going to focus on the areas where the most swinging seats are,” he said.
- Abbott then made the trip to Brisbane, where he took on Julia Gillard in the second public forum of the election campaign. Abbott fielded questions on the GFC, HECS debts and, of course, the “dead, buried, cremated” body of WorkChoices. “As far as I am concerned, the lesson is absolutely, totally learned. It is gone forever, under any name, just gone,” he said.
- Meanwhile, Andrew Robb and Joe Hockey finally released their policy costings yetserday. According to accounting firm WHK Horwarth, a Coalition government would deliver a budget surplus of $6.188 billion in 2012/13.
- Subtle as a sledgehammer, Tone:
- Fruit and veg people sure do know how to bring the funny. Here’s a bag of sprouts on display during Abbott’s fruit and veg visit this morning:
- It’s not quite a recent gaffe, but the revelation that Michael McCormack — Nationals candidate for the seat of Riverina (14.6% NAT) — once wrote a homophobic editorial entitled “Sordid homosexuality — it’s becoming more entrenched” is still extremely damaging. According to the Area News, “the homophobic rant, which was made when McCormack was editor of The Daily Advertiser, “has been variously described as “repugnant”, “disgraceful” and “disgusting” by his political opponents, voters and the Griffith gay community”.
- “You’re not even allowed to boil the billy.” — Bob Katter, the force for the north and indepenednt member for Kennedy, says his constituents are angry they need a permit to light a fire and make a cupper.
Where they are today:
- Tony Abbott was out early this morning, shaking hands at the Brisbane produce markets and doing a live cross to Nine’s Today show. He’s expected to formally announce (after letting slip in last night’s forum) a policy to allow students to cut their HECS debt by doing volunteer work.
- Julia Gillard fled Brisbane last night for the country’s fiercest battleground — bellwether seat Eden-Monaro. There’s was a 9am event scheduled, ahead of the traditional pre-poll speech to the National Press Club at 12:30pm.
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.