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: As tempted as I am to suggest that the party that launched a ludicrous proposal to start locking up land for a high-speed rail line that will never be built automatically loses, there are enough witless people around who might actually be taken in by Labor’s announcement. Tony Abbott made a bid for the tinny vote by promising to get rid of Labor’s marine reserves. But all the time, the issue of Coalition costings is bubbling away, bubbling away. I’m calling a narrow Abbott win.

Richard Farmer, Crikey election analyst: If you just read this morning’s newspaper reports you’d think it had been another day of triumph for Abbott. The Murdoch tabloids continued to give Rudd stick but there’s a clue in some of the subject matter that tells a different story. The Labor leader won the image war with his kiddies’ building blocks and very fast train, and the pictures matter far more than the words in influencing uninterested undecided voters. And team Murdoch knows it, which is why they give such a great run to the Abbott daughters. A Labor win.

Jane Caro, author, social commentator and communications consultant: Labor are working hard, but what with photogenic Abbott daughters who hit exactly the right notes about their “netball dad” at the LNP campaign launch, a concerted anti-ALP campaign from News Corp, and miffed make-up artists — I’d have to give the last few days to the Liberals. This election has become all about the personalities of the two leaders and it is Rudd who is coming out of that contest — so far — looking older, sadder and shakier. The remaining dog nipping at Abbott’s heels, however, is the paid parental leave scheme. It is unpopular with his own supporters, unpopular with business and unpopular with the people he is trying to placate — women.

Paul Barratt, former secretary of Australian Departments of Defence and Primary Industries: The firming prospect of a Coalition victory is drawing more attention to its costings, and where cuts to services and public sector employment will fall. The Coalition is looking increasingly tricky on that, and Labor is gaining some traction on it. Also, the Coalition took some incoming fire from Indonesia on its “crazy, unfriendly” scheme to buy back fishing boats. Labor managed to look more substantial with the Syria crisis and its plans to reserve a high-speed rail corridor. A better day for Labor against a worsening trend.


We’re well into the second half of the campaign and the Coalition is starting to announce (and re-announce) some spending cuts, to go with its long, long list of spending promises. But there must be more to come, as our online Cash Tracker shows … we’re updating it daily so you can see who’s promising to spend (and cut) what. The Cash Tracker lists every promise made since August 2, and shows Labor is a net cutter while the Coalition is a serious net spender.

Here are the latest promises, which have been included in the graphic above:




Kevin Rudd: began the day with a speech to Sydney’s Lowy Institute about Australian foreign policy. His focus was, as always, on China, reminding people that he mightn’t be popular or likeable. He also talked about moving a naval base, and Syria. He then gave a presser in Sydney.

Tony Abbott: starting Tuesday in Newcastle, the Opposition Leader announced his policy to give retroactive compensation to victims of terrorist attacks. His NSW counterpart, Premier Barry O’Farrell, has been out in force against Rudd’s proposed changes to the navy in NSW. Later Abbott headed to the NSW seat of Dobell (where Craig Thomson seems headed for defeat), to announce projects across the Central Coast. It’s a nice piece of coast, but the budgie smugglers didn’t come out …

Christine Milne: announced her pledge for threatened species this morning, with some adorable Tasmanian devils. This afternoon she will be doing a Twitter Q&A between 4 and 5pm.

Clive Palmer: The leader of Palmer United Party had an interview this morning on the Kyle and Jackie O radio show. Here are the horrifying results …


Have you ever thought, “I just wish I could see Clive Palmer twerking with Kyle Sandilands”? Well if so, today is your lucky day. For those who don’t know, twerking is the new dance craze in which the dancer “shakes the hips in an up-and-down bouncing motion” (think Beyonce). Yesterday it was Miley Cyrus. Today, it’s future PM Palmer.


Kevin Rudd tweeted a picture of himself today talking to US President Barack Obama about Syria. Very somber, although we’re not sure an instagrammed picture was really needed. And is it appropriate to discuss horrific, deadly chemical attacks on civilians with the Leader of the Free World … in your Brisbane Broncos tracksuit?

Kevin Rudd talks to President Obama

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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