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 THURSDAY?
Bernard Keane, Crikey Canberra correspondent: I’m of the view that the costings imbroglio doesn’t matter a jot: voters are aware that the Coalition has dodgy form on costings, and they’re prepared to back it anyway. The press gallery misinterpreted and wildly overhyped the alleged “slapdown” of Labor from the secretaries of Treasury and Finance and the head of the Parliamentary Budget Office, and in any event it merely begs the question of why we’re all playing guessing games about the Coalition’s costings. Rudd, however, got the chance to look prime ministerial on Syria, which may yet have a significant role in the campaign if the US decides to launch any sort of attack in the next week. And then there was that mildly creepy photo of Abbott with netballers. Narrow win to Rudd, still unlikely to do him much good.
Richard Farmer, Crikey election analyst: Politicians arguing over whose figures are right and whose costings are wrong dominates the words about yesterday, but I doubt they are having much impact on a public predisposed to think that the whole lot of them just speak lies. I’ll stick with the pictures having the most impact and thus another win for the Coalition, with Tony Abbott visiting a school to announce an education policy that promised something or other for someone or other.
Clement Macintyre, head of politics and history at University of Adelaide: The one persistent weakness through the Coalition’s campaign has been concern over the lack of detail relating to costings and proposed cuts. With just over a week to go, that problem remains, and the longer we wait for the release of full costings, the more pressing it becomes. However, any advantage that Labor tries to draw from this was lost yesterday when Finance and Treasury as well as the Parliamentary Budget Office criticised the way that Labor was using its figures. Suddenly the focus went from questions about the Coalition’s integrity to concerns that Labor’s claims don’t stack up. Like most days through this campaign, another Coalition win.
- $34 million towards opening 10 new HeadSpace centres across Australia;
- $16 million for a new Space and Spatial Information Partnernship, to attract high-tech industry to Australia;
- $8 million to the Foundation for Young Australians, to support gay youth in schools.
- $600 million for a Regional Support Fund, to help rural Australia and fund infrastructure upgrades;
- $120 million on the Coalition’s education policy, which includes a focus on languages and incentives for public schools to go independent;
- $6 million to build a Netball Centre of Excellence in Sydney in the lead-up to the 2015 Netball World Cup.
CAMPAIGN DIARY (FRIDAY)
Kevin Rudd: The Prime Minister is in Perth, where he will announce his new cities policy, including a new “minister for cities”. He will also address a meeting at Unions WA.
Tony Abbott: Starting off the last day of week four in Victoria, Abbott announced his plan for more young Australians to be involved with Asia at the University of Melbourne. While talking with ABC host Jon Faine, he tipped the Swans to beat Hawthorn tonight in a move clearly targeted at swinging voters in NSW.
Christine Milne: The Greens leader began her day in Hobart, announcing her party’s healthy eating plan. It will cost $46.5 million to improve food and nutrition education in schools and will fund an extra 800 kitchen gardens in schools.
QUIRK OF THE DAY
The Prime Minister joined the ranks of tech-savvy American politicians such as President Barack Obama and Republican Ron Paul by doing an online Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session last night. Although he only answered a meagre 20 questions out of the thousands submitted, there were some interesting answers. We now know what beer Rudd drinks:
How he practices Mandarin — and annoys wife Therese:
TWEET OF THE DAY
One party isn’t whinging about being picked on by News Corp this election, and that’s the Bullet Train for Australia party (formerly Bullet Train for Canberra). In fact, they’re feeling a bit left out. The party tweeted this morning that if someone wanted to pay a bit more attention, it wouldn’t mind it at all.