NEWS AND VIEWS
Saturday, November 03, 2007
The Owl's Election Indicator : Coalition 28% Labor 72%
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Howard Team Goes in to Reverse
The Government attacks on Labor as the Me Too party apparently have come to an end as the Coalition campaign team desperately searches for something, for absolutely anything, to put them back in this election race. It always struck me as counter productive to try and tarnish the image of Labor as being a fresh new alternative to a tired and boring government by suggesting that all it offered were John Howard's policies. As I wrote yesterday, if you believe your own policies are good ones, it is hard to believe the voters will be frightened by another side which promises to introduce them. Changing the Coalition message, therefore, is eminently sensible.
The new line being trotted out is that Labor is just saying it will follow the Liberal policies if it is elected while actually intending to do completely different things. The evidence for this accusation is something which the shadow Minister for the Environment, Peter Garrett, said to a couple of media people in an airport lounge while waiting to catch a plane. The low rating 2UE talking head Steve Price had shown Mr Garrett the Melbourne Herald Sun with its “$50b COPYCat” headline and the politician responded: "Once we get in, we'll just change it all."
The take on the comment by Nine Network television personality Richard Wilkins, also present, was “that it was very much a sort of light-hearted, throw-away line” but Price is a handy fellow with an egg beater. He told his listeners he was surprised by the Garrett comment which was “an insight as to what we might be in for if the polls are right and it goes to the suspicion that politicians and political parties will say and do anything to get elected like John Howard with his no-never GST and Paul Keating's L-A-W law tax cuts.”
For Coalition tacticians and for journalists on what was a slow and boring news day because the political party leaders were in Perth attending the funeral of a soldier killed in Afghanistan , the words of Price were manna. The claim by Garrett that his conversation with Price had been jocular was brushed aside and the observation of Richard Wilkins was not allowed to get in the way of a good yarn.
With the PM away, Treasurer Peter Costello was paraded to solemnly declare that “Peter Garrett, I think, in a moment of candour and truth, has really exploded Kevin Rudd's pretence; these are the words that are going to haunt this campaign from now on: ‘once we get in, we'll just change it all'.”
The television stations last night loved it as did the newspapers this morning.
It was more than enough to give the Coalition the victory on The Daily Verdict for Friday.
This afternoon Prime Minister John Howard confirmed the change in Coalition campaign strategy from Labor's “Me Tooism” to Labor's plan for breaking promises. Mr Howard said he did not think Mr Garrett's remarks were a joke or a gaffe and they showed the Labor party would form a radical and risky government. “What he's done is confirm the suspicions so many of us have had for so long and that is the me-tooism is nothing more than a dodgy strategy to get elected,'” Mr Howard told reporters in Darwin. “You don't joke about what your intentions are in government three weeks out from the election. That's just, altogether, unbelievable. What Mr Garrett has done is belled the cat. He's told the truth.”
So what will it all amount to in the longer run? Very little I suspect.
It's Difference of Opinion that Makes an Opinion Poll Interesting
When you buy The Australian like I do every day you pay your money and can take your choice. There's always a variety of opinion and never more so than this morning when there were two very different interpretations of some Newspoll research in to voting intentions in marginal seats.
The paper's political editor, Dennis Shanahan, had the star billing with his optimistic assessment for the Government of what the survey of almost 3500 voters in the most marginal seats in NSW, Victoria , Queensland and South Australia actually meant. In a piece labeled as ANALYSIS, Sol Lebovic, the founder and former chairman of Newspoll acting during this campaign as The Weekend Australian's polling consultant, found little for John Howard and his team to be optimistic about at all.
The views are so startlingly different that a casual reader might mistakenly think they were commenting on completely different polls.