Thankfully the first week of the campaign is over. I think my relief is even more palpable than it was last Sunday when the PM finally called it. I must admit, that after months of predicting wrong dates, I was a tad excited and sat glued to my television watching Sky News. But sadly by Monday afternoon the glow had well and truly worn off and all I wanted to do was tell certain sections of the media – and not just the ones in the gallery – to take a Bex and have a good lie down.
RELAX PEOPLE! THERE ARE FIVE WEEKS TO GO!
Yes that’s right, five long, long, long weeks. They really need to be pacing themselves. There have already been some outstanding efforts though. Sky’s David Spears and Kieran Gilbert get the gong for the most comprehensive effort to fill time that I’ve ever heard. Talk about minute by minute! Kieran Gilbert took us from the gates of Yarralumla, to the PM’s courtyard and finally to the Blue Room – so called, according to Kieran, cause it’s blue. Well of course it is!
I particularly love the gimmicks. There’s Ten’s Journo’s Jury and their regular nightly poll question. There’s Mal’s Meter (Malcolm Farr) in the Tele and Insiders is doing its ‘pollie-debates’ in marginal seats for the election. All the broadsheets are also covering all the marginals around the country and the so called ‘personality’ seats. There’s really only two, Peter Garrett singing his way into Parliament and the truly pathetic spectacle of Malcolm Turnbull’s campaign unravelling in Wentworth. Seven’s going to do the ‘worm’ but Nine won’t, and even though Ray Martin gets to host THE DEBATE, he’s mightily miffed that he’s sharing the stage and reduced to little more than a set extra.
What with Olympic welcome home love-ins, promising Mum to keep the nation’s interest rates down and the budget in surplus; plus a menagerie of animals from rodents to cats and dogs ripping through the coverage, meaty policy discussion has been non-existent.
So, bring on Week Two.
Tragically Medicare has been reduced by the major parties to little more than a bidding war, with just about every doctor in the country saying the announced measures do not get to the root cause of the problem; the Medicare fee schedule is just too low.
But on this Monday afternoon the shenanigans of the Latham minders surrounding the release of their tax policy are something to behold and take the cake. Is it Tuesday? Is it Wednesday? Will there be a Budget style lock-up (talk about overkill!) or another vacuous publicity stunt? Will it be in Brisbane or Sydney?
After such a build up all I can say is the policy would want to be pretty bloody good.
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