Today was a very interesting comparison between Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott that tells a lot about what their respective Governments would be like, and what type of campaign they’re running.
Both were in Melbourne, both made policy announcements. Both parties made policy announcements on crime, both mentioned knives. The ALP put out their policy through an announcement by Brendan O’Connor. You all know Brendan O’Connor right? Well if you’re his family and friends you do, the rest of us? Nup he’s effectively a nobody – sand that says a fair bit about how much importance the ALP is giving the issue. During campaigns many things are announced, but only the big ticket item get the leader’s stamp.
The Liberal's policy on knives and crime was announced by Tony Abbott at a press conference. Yep he gave it the full leader’s press conference treatment – it was his big announcement of the day. He went all the way to Melbourne to announce he would be cracking down on gangs. Yep gangs. I know, we’re all so worried about gangs in Australia because it feels like Australia has become a huger sunburnt South Central LA. All those schools with Crips and Bloods and with their crack and what not.
I mean geez. For a start it’s a pretty small issue in the grand scheme of things, and secondly law issues like gangs is pretty much a state issue for state police – certainly not a Prime Mininsterial issue. Sure there are concerns about crime and sure bringing in new laws for knife importation etc are all good, but if Abbott wants to be a Premier, he need only resign and tell Barry O'Farrell to bugger off. We all know what he was doing – scare the oldies about those teenagers, let them know strong Mr Abbott won’t stand for any of that even though when you really get down to it, he as PM can do next to bugger all about it.
Julia Gillard meanwhile was in Melbourne announcing a major initiative on disabilities. Now I’ll admit right off the bat that as the dad of a 4 year old girl with Down Syndrome, I’m going to be pretty well in favour of more fund for kids with disabilities, but Julia’s announcement that:
Children with a disability would be given $12,000 to help pay for early intervention treatment and also funding an extra 150 supported accommodation places for people with disabilities and $1 million to help them find work.
She was passionate when she made the announcement – and the reaction from the audience made it pretty clear that this was a very welcome. Now what about the reaction from the sector? How about:
Gillard's disability pledge 'an historic achievement'
Now that’s what you want to see! Far from the disappointed and let down reaction to the metal health policy, today we had:
Anthea Green from First Voice, a coalition of organisations representing hearing impaired children and their families, told PM it was the first time the Federal Government had agreed to fund early intervention strategies.
"For us this is a very significant commitment from the Labor Party and really quite an historic commitment," she said.
"This service has been funded primarily by fundraising activities, we're trying to provide multi-disciplinary services of a professional nature like speech pathology, audiology, social work and counselling.
"So this is a very very fundamental shift in social policy, it's a great commitment and I think it's quite an historic decision."
That’s who you do it Julia!
The announcement was also made with Jenny Macklin and Bill Shorten. I have to say Shorten was excellent. His passion was just wonderful to hear. That he has spent the past two and half years cooling his heels as a Parliamentary Secretary just shows how dumb Rudd was at managing people. The guy is a gun. He can persuade people – he’s what the ALP has needed. If the ALP does win, I don’t care if the dumbass media will say it’s a factional deal, Shorten should be straight into the Cabinet.
And so there we have it: two leaders, in the same city, both announcing policies. One decides to go the shitty scare the oldies and talk about crime and laura norder and act all tough route; the other reaches out to a small group of pretty powerless people with a positive policy that will do good.
Today was a good day to be an ALP supporter.
A couple polls came out tonight – one from Morgan had the ALP up 53-47 and a Galaxy Poll which had the result 50-50. Is it the start of a trend towards a Liberal Party win, or is it the ALP seeing the results of a bad 5 days?
I think Gillard’s announcement on Friday of her climate change plan had the ALP hitting rock bottom – and it is no surprise that it feed through to these polls. For those who doubt the impact of her 150 citizens’ assembly idea, you only needed to watch The Chaser last night (which about 1.4 million did) at one point they asked the audience to give their views on the policy and they all shouted “It’s shit!”
Now since then of course there has been “the leaks”!!! And yeah the oldies have got on to 2GB etc to voice their concerns about Julia the communist. But they were already voting for the Libs anyway. And the past two days Julia has got her campaign back on track – today she did another meet’n’greet in the shopping centres and she was well and truly mobbed (ass this pic by journo Ben Packham shows).
Tomorrow she’s off to Perth. Sure WA may be the worst state for the ALP, but she needs to keep getting out among the people – they actually like her.
So yeah it was a bad start to the week, but it ain’t time to thinking the campaign is over. There’s a long way to go and Julia seems to have worked out what to do, and how to do it.