Today is a big day in the cycle for the proprietors and editors in the Very Important Mainstream Media. It’s the day they get to tell their readers how to vote.

The instructions were as follows:

The SMH: Why Labor under Gillard deserves a second chance

… for all the above, we believe Labor at a federal level deserves another chance. Why?

First, it did successfully get us through the global financial crisis; the nation is not suffering from the crippling economic malaise — the loss of confidence and jobs — still found in the United States and throughout Europe. It is true, some of the economic stimulus was wasted or went astray — but it has to be understood and judged as an emergency measure enacted and managed in haste. That does not excuse it, but it goes a long way to explain it.

Second, Labor does have a plan — properly costed — to reduce national debt and get the federal budget back in surplus; its economic policy settings seem about right. Third, it has promised to build the national broadband network and increase taxpayer value in the crucial areas of education and health, by forcing the states to perform and be accountable. Fourth, it has performed well, if not better, in important though less than contentious areas such as defence, national security and foreign policy.

And last — what is the alternative?

The Age: Australia needs a government with a vision for the future

The Age believes the government should be returned, because of … successful economic stewardship and so that it can resume the project of adapting Australia to meet the challenges of the 21st century. In undertaking to build a national broadband network — a transformational project whose importance the opposition seems unable to understand — the government has shown that the vision of 2007 was never entirely extinguished.

The Australian: A vote to end the curse of big government

The true test of a prime minister is not how he or she survives an external shock but how well they prepare us for the next one. It comes down to a question of trust in a contest between a leader who learned his trade under Mr Howard and one who served under Mr Rudd. On those grounds, we endorse Mr Abbott as our 28th prime minister.

— The Daily Telegraph: A government that’s lost its way

… after two years and 10 months in office, and five weeks of campaigning and assaulting our senses with tens of millions of dollars of advertising and slogans, we’re still not sure what Labor stands for any more. Labor is in a sick state. It needs to heal itself and only a stint in opposition can give it the opportunity to rediscover its moral compass.

The Herald Sun: We deserve much better

Without any great enthusiasm, we believe Mr Abbott and the Coalition are best placed to lead Australia.

Labor is bloodied by its swift removal of Mr Rudd and remains equally accountable for the mistakes he made. The insulation batts scheme, the BER chaos and the confusion over the climate change debate will be writ large in the history books.

The Coalition is right in wanting to cut government spending. Mr Abbott would put Australia’s much-needed broadband rollout in the hands of private enterprise, whereas Labor would take $43 billion from the public purse to finance it.

This is not about irresponsibly throwing out a government after its first term. This is about holding a government to account.

The Adelaide Advertiser: Vote for a call to action

As close as it will be, Ms Gillard and Labor should be given a second chance.

That vote should be made with the clear understanding that the time for dithering is over.

The Northern Territory News: Labor earns second term

… the heart of the matter is the economy. No federal government has been defeated after only one term since 1931. And this Labor government does not deserve to be defeated. Julia Gillard’s team deserves a second term for having the courage and vision to think big in the face of a monumental crisis.

The Courier Mail: We can only move forward with the Coalition

We know well what Mr Abbott stands for because his positions are well chronicled. Like this newspaper, he stands for the strength of free enterprise empowered by less regulation and lower taxes. So does his party. The nation will be better for their return to government.

The West Australian: It comes down to a question of who we can trust (not online)

Tony Abbott has offered to scrap the tax, lifting a yoke that will constrain WA’s prosperity. For this reason, The West Australian believes a vote for the coalition is the safest option for the future of WA and for the nation as a whole.

The Tasmanian Mercury: It’s not time (not online)

There is no mood, no compelling reason for change. And, as the parties have made character and leadership a key question, Ms Gillard has done nothing that deserves being booted from office.

Meanwhile, here at Crikey, our instructions to you are somewhat firmer than those issued from the comptrollers at News and Fairfax. You are instructed to exercise your democratic privilege and vote based on your own good sense and free will.

Vote early and vote often. And don’t forget to collect a sausage on your way out.


Our election night party pack provides you with everything you need to get you through this nail-biter

First of all, bookmark this link now for our Election Night Live Blog, kicking off at 6.30pm. Featuring Canberra correspondent Bernard Keane, resident political animal Richard Farmer, psephologist Charles Richardson, Poll Bludger’s William Bowe, Pollytics’ Possum Comitatus, the Crikey round table (blogging from a pub near you…) and numbers man First Dog on the Moon.

Next, download our Party Pack Part 1 (7MB — high res baby heads, ok?) for:

  • Your ‘Polls & Worms’ board game, complete with Antony Green’s head in a jar action cards and Giant Baby tokens. Drink!
  • The Complete Works of the ABC Interpretive Dance Bandicoot.

Next, download Party Pack Part 2 (5MB) for:

  • Your tipping form, to tick off the seats as they fall.
  • Poll Bludger’s marginal seats cheat sheet.

This may take all night.


Plus, don’t forget to check in with the Crikey Twacker tomorrow.


Tweet as you queue to vote, upload any interesting pics/observations/news from your electorate. Just use the hashtag #ausvotes followed by your postcode.