Leaders' debate
(Image: 7Plus)

The first leaders’ debate aired yesterday on the Seven Network, but why was public interest so muted? And why, for the majority of viewers, was Home & Away on the main channel while the debate instead aired on the less popular 7TWO? Crikey readers share their thoughts:

On the dwindling interest in leaders’ debates

Trish Cahill writes: The BBC rejuvenated the idea with a multi-party leaders’ debate which surely is worth looking at as the two leaders format has got a bit stale. I think the BBC had six parties on stage. I gather it was a ratings winner and the only downside was voters across the UK thinking they could vote for Nicola Sturgeon and her Scottish National Party when she wasn’t standing personally and the SNP was only standing in Scotland!

Ian Smerd writes: In the US debates can be informative because the candidates are running for a single office … President. In Australia, the leader is only part of our electoral equation and, in my opinion, should not be the main focus of attention. Of more importance, in my opinion, would be a focus, including a “debate”, on the relevant minister and shadow minister. It is somewhat misleading to create the impression that we are electing a prime minister. We should be really paying much more attention to the competing parties’ policies.

David Arnold Writes:

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  • Politicians are now sufficiently media-trained that their speech is basically content-free
  • There’s nothing new in the debates — no announcements, no questions we haven’t heard before. It’s really just an opportunity to try to trap someone into straying off-script and the smug schoolyard point-scoring that then elicits from the “winner”
  • Anything at all interesting will be on social media in the morning anyway, so you can watch it then and avoid wasting your life the night before.

Terry J Mills writes: I don’t think we have lost interest with the leaders’ debates but I would question why we are going to 7TWO and then the minority of subscribers (will they get 50,000) at Sky pay TV and then possibly the Press Club. The latter is the natural venue even if they have to hold it in the evening rather than lunchtime: Monday night on ABC would get them half a million viewers easy.

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