It might not seem like it at the moment, but an election is a contest. It’s a choice, a day when millions of us pause to select our government for the coming three years.

With the federal election date set for September 14, Crikey has looked behind the scenes at the most powerful people influencing the way we vote. Forget the pollies; we’re talking about the powerbrokers, the donors, the bagmen (and women), the creatives and the media honchos who will influence the result. You might not know some of their faces, but they’re certainly watching you — and all the other voters.

We’ve been counting down our top 10 election deciders via this Power Index series. Today we’ve reached number one: the campaign directors who are running the joint for Labor, the Coalition and the Greens. Labor’s national secretary (and campaign director) George Wright had this to say about elections:

“Your tactics are important but nowhere near as important as a clear message, hopefully an effective one.”

Hear hear, George. You said it. And that’s why, setting aside the fascinating stories behind this election campaign, it seems that the result is already determined. Does it even matter which side raises the most money? Comes up with the best ads? The best slogans?

You can have all the money, all the snappy phrases and all the genius Gen-Y advisers in the world, but if you can’t stand for something and get that message out, you’re doomed.

Memo to Labor.

* Many happy returns to the Queen. Crikey won’t be publishing on Monday due to the public holiday, but we’ll be back with a spring in our step on Tuesday. See you then.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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