NEWS AND VIEWS
Thursday, September 27, 2007
The Owl's Election Indicator : Coalition 34% Labor 66%
Preparing for Government
If evidence was needed that Kevin Rudd is not taking victory for granted the last day provided it. Mr Rudd could not give an answer off pat about who would be Treasurer in a Labor Government because he had not really thought about it. When asked about it by a journalist he wanted to avoid putting his deputy Julia Gillard offside because the deputy normally has the choice of job.
Overnight the thinking was done and the discussion with Ms Gillard held and the only possible conclusion reached - Wayne Swan would be at the Treasury with Ms Gillard in charge, as expected, of industrial relations. For good measure the shadow Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner was also elevated in to the ranks of the favoured few whose future job is assured if victory does come.
Getting the Picture Right
For the political advance person it is not the words that matter but the picture. For every person who actually listens to the news there is another who only glances at the screen and hears very little. Getting the right background and the right supporting cast is thus of paramount importance.
Team Rudd well understand it and knows that families with young children are a demographic they must capture to win this election.
The hunt is thus always on for schools, pre-schools, day care centres and playgrounds where their man can show his fatherly side. "Goodness knows what that nice Kevin Rudd was talking about but he obviously cares about working families" is the message Labor wants to convey. You will have seen plenty of such photo opportunities in the last few weeks and will see many, many more before polling day.
The picture came out as ordered but there needs to be a little more care taken with the preparatory work in future. A cruel journalist from The Australian discovered that the photographed pair were friends of a Rudd staffer recruited for the occasion while on a holiday visit rather than fair dinkum Tassie residents.
Not that the words written about the staged event really mattered because the motto of the advance man is that it is all about the picture, stupid.
That's something I learned back in my Hawke campaign days when the pollsters were reporting that for some reason the normal Bob charm was not working on the women swinging voters. A steady diet of those schools, pre-schools, day care centres and playgrounds for a week with the master chatting with mums and bubs and the figures started improving.
John Howard knows it well enough too. There he was on the television tonight showing that grand fathers approaching 70 can cuddle toddlers every bit as well as 50 year old fathers. And to really show that he can enter in to the true campaigning spirit he consented to have a Geelong cap put on his head as well.