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 … 


Bernard Keane, Crikey Canberra correspondent: Hard to get a read on yesterday. Kevin Rudd was at one end of the country, Tony Abbott at another. Abbott was engaged in retail politics in Tasmania, where he hopes to pick up a couple of seats; Rudd was at the Top End making a pitch for Bob Katter’s preferences with an absurd “Northern Australia” vision that appears to have been put together on the back of an envelope. The extent to which either filtered into voter consciousness isn’t clear. I’m giving it to Abbott, simply on the basis that if Rudd’s Northern Australia nonsense is any way appealing to the electorate, we may as well all give up and go home.

Richard Farmer, Crikey election analyst: The tactical battle by the big two for lower-house preferences of minor parties and independents is always interesting. And yesterday we saw just how amusingly unprincipled that battle can be with Labor pushing special taxation support for companies in the NT. At stake with this piece of economic madness are the preferences of Katter’s Australia Party, which could decide who wins seats in Queensland. Rudd is now desperately throwing the dice. Abbott, who made a similar promise before, was in Tasmania pledging taxpayer money to develop the state. I’ll call it a win for Abbott and hope that Brian Harradine has not had too much influence on that planning.

Nick Economou,  senior lecturer in the School of Political and Social Inquiry, Monash University: Abbott won yesterday because Rudd went off on a Northern Territorial tangent. Labor’s eleventh hour northern Australia policy clearly has not been thought out thoroughly. It’s not particularly wise economically and it’s constitutionally dubious. Labor’s platform is looking more and more like policy on the run and telling whichever crowd you’ve run into that day what they want to hear. What’s the point in promising the world to two seats when there are marginal seats across the country?

Clement Macintyre, head of politics and history at University of Adelaide: The ALP’s new NT policy is a significant change from its earlier position. Big announcements that come out of the blue without longer public discussion and a broad engagement look like last-minute thinking. They also have a danger of being exposed as incomplete. The Liberals’ major pitch was on asylum seeker — this is much more comfortable ground for them. With the polls showing a consistent lead to the Coalition in critical seats, Labor needs to define some clear points of policy difference and score some big wins. Their policy on the NT won’t shift many votes in the eastern states. The Liberals will count yesterday as another small victory.




Crikey has developed an online Cash Tracker tool to keep track of how much the major parties have promised to spend – and cut – during the election campaign. We’ve compiled a list of every promise made since August 2, when Labor released its pre-election budget update, and we’ll update the list daily (including when promises made before August 2 are re-announced or detailed). Some big spending cuts are coming from Abbott …


Kevin Rudd: In Perth today, studiously ignoring opinion polls and looking instead at the marginal WA seats of Hasluck and Swan. He will also inspect works on the Perth City Link, which could be a perfect opportunity for a fluoro-vest to make an appearance.

Tony Abbott: Starting his day in Melbourne, Abbott announced the Coalition’s new hard-line asylum seeker policy with shadow immigration minister Scott Morrison. Abbott intends to focus on the carbon tax as well today.

Christine Milne: The Greens leader is in Queensland today, launching a $176 million rescue package to protect the Great Barrier Reef from mining, before flying over Abbot Point to see the environmental damage. She might be hoping to get a great picture of herself looking pensively out the window, like Martin Sheen at the end of The West Wing.


Many have tried, but no one can out-wacky Clive Palmer. He recorded a video for ABC’s controversial new “comedy” show, Wednesday Night Fever, where he admitted he liked pie, made fun of his more dubious investment decisions and proceeded to sing about how it was “all about pie”. Proving it hadn’t all been a fever dream, he proudly tweeted a link to the video yesterday:

Renowned DJ (and deputy PM) Anthony “Albo” Albanese will be coming to your TV screens on August 31 as the guest programmer on ABC’s Rage. What tunes do you want him to bust out? Apparently “There Is A Light That Will Never Go Out” by The Smiths has already made the list.

DJ Albo