Crikey asks the sharpest political commentators which leader got the best of the campaigning day yesterday, plus we track where the leaders are and what cash promises they’ve made … 

WHO WON THE DAY ON WEDNESDAY?

Bernard Keane, Crikey Canberra correspondent: Another win for Kevin Rudd; good images from the “Ekka”, whatever that is, in Brisbane, on the evening news, while Abbott had to backtrack on his “fashion” comments about same-s-x marriage (it’s not the first time he’s belittled it, by the way — he has previously referred to “so-called same-s-x marriage”, whatever that means. Another self-inflicted wound by Abbott, surprising from a man who has been so disciplined for so long.

Richard Farmer, Crikey election analyst: Did anything of substance happen? If it did I failed to notice it. The steadfast refusal by both leaders to honestly talk about what a government led by them would do continued. Kevvie was with the kids again and Tony Abbott had his daughter alongside to soften those se-ism remarks. And both teams dislike the Greens and promise not to deal with them. Ho de hum. Believe that and you will believe anything. Let’s call the day one of those boring nil-all draws.

John Hewson, former leader of the Liberal Party: The positive “new politics” lasted about a week. Rudd’s campaign has turned decidedly negative and opportunistic, both in terms of direct attacks on Abbott, and with the launch of negative ads. Abbott left himself somewhat open re “s-x appeal” and the latest “fashions”. PEFO puts pressure on both sides. Rudd is in danger of looking increasingly desperate, while Abbott is desperate to sustain an image of discipline and stability. Still not much in it, on a day-to-day basis, but Rudd probably slipping further behind.

Paul Barrett AO, director of Australia21 and a career public servant: The Coalition is looking increasingly confident, and every day it does not lose is a day it wins. The fact that the Prime Minister tried to get a second day out of Tony Abbott’s “s-x appeal” gaffe smacks of desperation, as do the micro-funding announcements that can make no difference to the problem they purport to solve. Really, $25 million for a War on Weeds? A win to the Coalition.

Simon Breheny, editor of Freedom Watch at The Institute for Public Affairs: Abbott’s decision to preference the Greens last is an excellent (and essential) move. Starving the Greens of preferences allows the Coalition to consistently attack extreme Left policies without the niggling inconsistency of putting the Greens above Labor à la 2010. It also kills Adam Bandt’s chances of retaining Melbourne. Some media outlets tried to whip their readers into a frenzy of outrage over a comment made by Abbott on social change. The reality is that only never-voting-Liberal, inner-city socialists will care. A clear win for Abbott.

CASH TRACKER

Both Labor and the Coalition have made additional cash promises in the last 24 hours, turning their attention to Tasmania.

Labor:

  • $5 million for the Townsville Salvation Army Multi-purpose Centre
  • $1 million for Tasmania’s town planning initiatives
  • $800,000 for Adelaide innovators.

Coalition:

  • $24 million for an Antarctic research centre in Hobart
  • $38 million for the upgrade of Hobart airport to accommodate freight jets.

You can check out the list of every spending and saving promise made by the major parties since August 2 via our online Cash Tracker. We’ll be keeping it updated daily as the leaders splash (and axe) the cash. We’re waiting for some big cuts to be formally announced and detailed by Abbott before election day …

CAMPAIGN DIARY (THURSDAY)

Kevin Rudd: Left Brisbane at 4am for Darwin where he addressed the media at Robertson Barracks and reported that Mohammad Rozi, the Afghan soldier who shot three Australian soldiers in 2011, has been killed. Rudd will move to Kununurra and the Ord River this afternoon where he is expected to set out his vision for northern Australia.

Tony Abbott: In Launceston this morning talking about unemployment and economic development. >Before announcing funding for the Hobart airport and an Antarctic research centre, Abbott attended a business breakfast and spoke with US pop-star Katy Perry on Sydney’s 2DayFM.

Christine Milne: The Greens leader is in Sydney today where she has been speaking to the media about the preferencing agreements of the two major parties and Adam Bandt’s campaign for Melbourne. Milne is scheduled to fly to Mackay later.

QUIRK OF THE DAY

Abbott took a little time off the campaign trail this morning to talk to chanteuse Katy Perry on Sydney’s 2Day FM. In what became a rather awkward interview, Abbott failed to obtain Perry’s endorsement as she dismissed his stance on gay marriage and asylum policy.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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