For the past five weeks, the nation's newspapers have carried story after story of candidates caught out by the rules, or their own behaviour. Are Australia's political journalists taking a decidedly investigative bent? Or are they being boosted by the research capabilities of the major parties -- now focusing on tearing down their opponents through any means possible?

From the outside, it's hard to know for sure where any single story originates. But all journalists and party insiders know opposition research routinely makes its way into the papers -- and more often during election campaigns. It's just one way the spinners of the two major parties shape and influence the campaign, each trying to secure their own side's advantage.