NEWS AND VIEWS
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
The Owl's Election Indicator : Coalition 21% Labor 79%
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Limited Role for Advertising
Political television advertising will grind to a halt this evening with the major parties having spent $40 million or so without achieving anything. There has not been a single ad from either side that has cut through the natural scepticism of voters towards messages from politicians. In short there has been a colossal waste of money.
Now I am not an avid television viewer but for the last five weeks I have forced myself to watch the nightly news and current affairs programs on all channels and offerings like Rove where political comments might bob up. Thus I have been subjected to a fair bombardment of messages from Liberal, Labor, Nationals and Greens.
I know there was some rather pale imitation of an old time John Singleton whinging Wendy ad for Labor but for the life of me I can not remember what this less coarse version of Wendy was actually on about. Johnny Howard was doing something or other wrong but I completely missed the message.
There were blips, too, coming from the screen and I think I was being told that Kevin Rudd was staying for three years while Johnny was going before then. I guess whether you thought that was a good thing or a bad thing depended on what you thought of the two gentlemen and the use of Peter Costello off the interchange bench.
Trade union leaders have never been a frightening lot of fellows for most Australians because they have never thought employers provided a five day week of 40 hours or less with annual holidays and sick leave and time off for lunch, equal pay for women and a few weeks of maternity leave, out of the goodness of their hearts. Now those battles for a civilized balance between capital and labour are established, most people don't need a union any more but that doesn't mean they think of union officials as ogres.
That “trade union official” stamp coming down in Liberal Party advertisements about the prospective Labor Party ministerial team perhaps would reassure more people than it frightened. There's nothing scary for an ordinary worker about protection by a trade union influenced government without having to pay union dues!
The nearest I have to a recollection of an advertisement that might influence me on Saturday is the Green undertaker Bob Brown telling me I can have two bangs for my buck by voting Greens first and then for someone else with the somber Senator suggesting, I think, that the someone else should be Labor.
The idea of a Senate with checks and balances got through to me in the Greens advertising campaign. Whether it impressed a greater constituency we will know come Saturday night but I venture that the limited Greens advertising budget is the only one that will provide value-for-money in this campaign.
Publicising the Mistakes
The theory behind the Coalition election campaign was that when people finally started engaging with what the politicians were saying that the record of sound economic management would enable it to pull back Labor's lead. Well the public interest has finally arrived but the pull back hasn't.
The Owl's Reality Check of what stories people are actually reading on internet news sites has this week reached a record level and will go higher before the week ends. But the stories people are reading are not about a competent Government comfortably in control of events but of a Government at panic stations.
Politics on Page One At Last!
Every day of this election campaign I faithfully check the front page of the Northern Territory News to gather the information I need to plug in for Crikey's Daily Verdict so I am, let me tell you, well informed about crocodiles. The brutes are a big favourite for a page one pic and banner headline up north but political reptiles just don't feature.
Or they didn't until today when I noticed the head and shoulders of Kevin 07 peering out not only from the bottom of page one but of the back page as well.
Surely when the NT News puts politics on page one for the first time it means that interest in the election really has hotted up.
Closer inspection, however, showed that the policy of keeping the paper a politics free zone continues. The esteemed editor was not one of the 50 infected by a brain virus. The Labor team had bought the page one exposure. \The one who needs to buy some page one exposure is Team Howard. The Coalition continues to be unable to take a trick with Labor again clear winners of the campaign on Tuesday.