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 TUESDAY?

Bernard Keane, Crikey Canberra correspondent: Problems for both Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd yesterday: Abbott continues to face difficulties with his wretched paid parental leave (PPL) scheme, with WA Premier Colin Barnett publicly having to be talked around, and the online antics of the Liberal candidate for Charlton led to his resignation. But a sinking boat off Christmas Island seemed to again demonstrate that Labor’s PNG solution hadn’t yet managed to deliver an effective message to asylum seekers. On balance, a narrow win for Rudd, but not a day either would be happy with.

Richard Farmer, Crikey election analyst: A definite change of tactics by the Prime Minister surely gave Labor the win. Standing on a platform outside addressing the throng we saw a passionate Kevin Rudd in an impressive dress rehearsal for the televised public forum to come tonight. It was an appealing image and a refreshing change from the over-scripted appearances from both leaders earlier in the campaign.

Ian Smith, partner of Bespoke Approach and former Liberal Party advisor: What strikes me at the moment, halfway through the campaign, is that Kevin Rudd reminds me of Michael Clarke in the middle of the Test match. He doesn’t know who to call up, and George Wright is a bit like Shane Watson, he doesn’t get along with the captain. They’ve called up Mark Butler and Peter Beattie; it all seems mildly chaotic. On the other hand, the Coalition are still playing to the game plan. It’s all a bit mundane but I can’t see how Rudd is winning anything at the moment.

Jane Caro, author, social commentator and communications consultant: It’s all about the paid parental leave kerfuffle, isn’t it? It’s a problem for Tony Abbott. I actually happen to think it’s still a good policy. I think its playing badly for him in terms of the electorate. His natural constituency just don’t like it, the people he’s trying to attract aren’t warming to it and his own party are clearly uneasy with it. It’s a lose all round for Tony Abbott. It’s a loss for Tony Abbott not a win for Rudd. I don’t think either of them are winning anything at the moment. In this election, nobody’s voting for anyone, everyone is voting against someone.

CASH TRACKER

Labor

  • $15 million for 34 cancer care nurses;
  • $4.17 million for the Lethbridge Water Pipeline project in Victoria;
  • $50 million for stroke care coordinators across the country

Coalition:

  • $5 million to the redevelopment of the Broncos Stadium.

CAMPAIGN DIARY (WEDNESDAY)

Kevin Rudd: Starting the day in Brisbane, Rudd has two campaign stops before bunkering down to prepare for tonight’s leaders’ debate. Rudd announced $15 million for specialist cancer nurses across the country in the seat of Petrie, which Labor holds by 2.5%, before heading to a family barbecue.

Tony Abbott: Abbott’s team had a very early start, taking a 5am flight from Melbourne to Brisbane. After arriving in Brisbane the Opposition Leader headed straight to the Broncos Leagues Club, appearing at a press conference with Queensland Premier Campbell Newman and announcing funding for the Broncos stadium redevelopment. Staunch campaign trail journos James Massola and Andrew Tillett, who are on the Abbott bus (and look vaguely similar), both celebrated a birthday today.

Christine Milne: The Greens leader is in Melbourne, announcing the Greens’ $100 million community renewable energy policy with Adam Bandt. The policy would provide for “feasibility grants, project management and specialist expertise”.

QUIRK OF THE DAY

Peter Slipper has blown the cobwebs off his old campaign signage (as well as removing references to the Liberals) for his campaign as an independent in the seat of Fisher. He says it’s not to save money, he just doesn’t want to waste good signs. We think the retro look works for him.

Peter Slipper

TWEET OF THE DAY

Clive Palmer tries to differentiate himself from the major parties…

CANDIDATE OF THE DAY

The Rise Up Australia Party is always interesting, but Paul Lewis, their candidate for Capricornia in central Queensland, has taken it to another level, saying that the Queensland floods of 2010 and 2011 were caused by “weather manipulation”. Lewis told the Mackay Daily Mercury that the United Nations contracted a US company to spray chemicals on the clouds in the area, causing high levels of rainfall. And if you vote Liberal for the Victorian Senate, this is the party your preferences are going to … perhaps better to vote below the line this time?

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