A short post tonight because I was busy doing real life things today and thus missed most of what happened – which wasn't much.
Gillard was on Oakes this morning – she did fine. Abbott was on Insiders – he did ok I guess, if you can accept him dodging the question on whether or not Australia's economy is the envy of the world and also think his comparing the cost of installing fibre to the home in Korea and Singapore to the NBN is apples to apples. Here’s a tip Tony, take a look at this map of Australia and ask yourself if you think if might be a little bit bigger job than that of Singapore or Korea?
But then the “big” news of the day was the debate over a debate.
Abbott on Insiders also came out with the dopey idea of having another Rooty Hill type town hall meeting – which was rather odd given that he was appearing on an ABC program and tomorrow night on ABC he is appearing on a Q&A episode that is essentially a town hall meeting.
As soon as he suggested it, I and most likely the rest of the Insiders audience, knew that the ALP would respond by saying yep – but let’s have a debate while we're doing it.
And so it was. Abbott of course doesn’t want this. In a debate he won’t be able to sprout his usual bullshit and not get picked up on it (David Speers at Rooty Hill developed selective deafness and decided not to pipe up with a “well that’s actually complete tosh, Tony”). He also won’t be able to just get Dorothy Dixers such as “what will happen if the ALP and the Greens get in and bring in an ETS?”.
Pretty much Abbott loves town hall meetings because he can lie during them, and then later say he was just caught up in the moment.
You can’t do that in a debate.
In the US Presidential election they have a “town hall” debate – why not here? Well we know why not.
Abbott hates answering questions on anything other than debt, boats, mining tax and boats. The economy? Nup. Even on the mining policy they put out yesterday for a good period of the press conference he was reduced to second banana as Ian MacFarlane took all the tricky ones.
Today he gave the press pack a whole 12 minutes – and refused to give an answer on why he wouldn’t debate Gillard. Later tonight he came out for another quick presser to say he was challenging Gillard to hold another town all meeting – saying
“That's my challenge to the Prime Minister to have a town hall meeting in Brisbane where the two of us can spend an hour talking to the Australian public about the issues that matter to them.”
Sorry Tony, that dog won’t hunt, and if the media give him a free pass on that then they don’t deserve anymore than 12 minutes.
Both Abbott and Gillard can spend two hours talking to the Australian public they just should both be on the stage at the same time so they both get the same questions and so that if either says something full of fertiliser the other can jump in. Otherwise the exercise is a sham.
Today there was also lots of attention on polls.
The Galaxy marginal poll taken from last Sunday to Thursday across an odd assortment of marginal and not really marginal seats was extrapolated for no logical reason and also done incorrectly to have the Liberals winning by a seat. Well all I can say is if they have to use the dodgy reworking of statistics that we saw today to get the Liberal Party over the line, then the ALP will bolt it in (not that that is a prediction!).
The Newspoll will be out tomorrow (actually tonight). Last week it was 52-48 to the ALP, my guess is this time the ALP 2PP will be anything from 50-52. They had a very good week last week, but that doesn’t mean they can’t go down – remember 50% would still be within the margin of error and could be classed as statistical noise, but of course that’s not how it will be reported. Anything less than 50% would be completely rogue – you don’t have the good week the ALP had and lose 3 percentage points.
The ALP to be honest the ALP won’t mind too much people thinking it is close – this week they will run long and hard on the “Do you REALLY want this fool to be your PM?” (or words to that effect). She may not have been PM for long, but Julia does have some incumbency value – remember all the periods she acted in the job while Rudd was OS – in 2008 everyone was saying how good she was at it. Whereas Abbott… geez… that is still a step the voters haven't quite taken yet (even the Galaxy marginal polls had Julia well ahead as preferred PM, and only around 30% believed he would actually deliver on his 4 part campaign pledge).
So strap yourself in for a fun, neurotic fuelled 6 days. Oh and for the journalists following Abbott around, perhaps you need to take a tip from John McEnroe…
UPDATE: Well the Newspoll is 52-48. No change from last week, the ALP’s primary vote is steady on 38%, the LNP has gone down 1% and the Greens up 1% to an amazing 14%. My calculation have Newspoll calculating the Greens preference flows to the ALP of around 77% and 45% of “the Others” going to the ALP. The Nielsen Poll had the Greens preferences flowing the the ALP at 86%. If that were done with this poll the ALP’s 2PP would be 53.19%. Either way, while the ALP + Greens Primary is over 50, the Libs will not win (regardless of what the marginal polls say).