Somewhere along the line, election campaigning moved from being about vision and policies to being a hotchpotch of funding promises, a festival of pork-barrelling announced by leaders who are marketed as celebrities.
We are bombarded with an ignominious display of our prospective PMs’ personal lives. Photos with the dog are a must. I always wonder who actually looks after those poor benighted creatures since their owners are so rarely at home. Who is feeding the chooks and cleaning out the pen that DIY Scotty built at the Lodge since they live at Kirribilli?
Jen and the girls live with the constant presence of an official photographer. Consequently, we live with a constant stream of photos of Jen and the girls. When I visit the Prime Minister’s social media pages, I am greeted not by policy discussion but by photos of what he (supposedly) cooked last night.
Not to be outdone, Albanese is dragging his girlfriend by the hand along the campaign trail. Barely a press conference or interview goes past without him telling his log cabin story.
Anecdotes about disabled relatives abound. Encounters with individual constituents are recounted to show that our leaders are “in touch” with the people but, instead of solutions, they are offered a selfie.
We follow our leaders to church and the footie. We watch them exercise.
So ridiculous has this become that Morrison tries to convince us that, because he hasn’t changed glasses or lost weight, that is proof that he is best suited to offer a steady hand to steer the ship.
Someone needs to remind these two men that they are not vying for supreme leader. They will be the spokesperson for government should they gain or negotiate majority support.
Albanese is playing the wrong game.
Rather than ceding the stage to reporters asking gotcha questions, he could so easily say “My job is to communicate our priorities and goals and our strategy to achieve them. The strength of the Labor Party is a team of very capable ministers in every portfolio to answer questions about policy detail or relevant statistics. I am not a one-man show.”
Why do the two leaders spend so much time and money flying around the country to stage managed photo shoots with hand-picked crowds to make local announcements? Does the entire entourage really have to fly to Corangamite to announce a swimming pool or a few solar panels for the local bowlo?
Very few of us will have the opportunity to vote for either Morrison or Albanese. We need to hear from our local candidates if they are to be the ones representing us but they are sidelined in this celebrity circus of presidential style campaigning – a nodding head providing background for the aspiring star of the show.
Neither of these men are inspirational individuals. Instead of trying to sell themselves, they should be concentrating on explaining the what and how rather than the who.
After all, this is not an autocracy – yet.
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