A quick summary of the past three years:
“I’m Julia Gillard. and I’m your Prime Minister.”
“I’m not Julia Gillard, she wasn’t elected by the people but by the faceless men of the Labor Party, so vote for me.”
“I’m Julia Gillard. And I believe the following things.”
“I’m not Julia Gillard, so vote for me and I’ll stop the boats, abolish the carbon tax, reduce tax for everyone and get the budget back to surplus.”
“I’m Julia Gillard. I’ve accomplished the following things.”
“I’m not Julia Gillard. So vote for me.”
“I’m Julia Gillard. These are the things I want to do.”
“I’m not Julia Gillard, I’d die of shame if I were.”
“I’m Julia Gillard. AND YOU OFFEND ME!”
“I’m not Julia Gillard, so vote for me.”
“I’m Julia Gillard, and I’m going to introduce a disability insurance scheme and improve education..”
“Yeah, yeah, I’ll do all that, and I have the added advantage – I’m not Julia Gillard.”
“Neither am I – I’m Kevin Rudd.”
“…Ah… Julia should be PM, you weren’t elected by the people.”
* * *
Ok, that’s probably left a few bits out, but I think I’ve covered all the significant things that Abbott has said over the past three years. Voting, for a lot of people, is about perception. Kevin Rudd may be annoying, and remind people of their school principal when he’d try to show the kids that he was a “good sport” and could speak their “lingo”, but, for many, that’s the sort of person who should be running the country.
Abbott, on the other hand, has been suggesting that we need to have a change of Government. That Gillard and Swan need to be removed. In a way, that’s happened in the past week! No, no, complains Abbott, that wasn’t the change I meant. Mm, think the mob, that man is never happy. Of course, some will be thinking that he couldn’t get rid of Julia, but Rudd did. Rudd wins, Abbott is ineffectual.
Now, I realise that these are not sophisticated ideas, but that’s the point. There’ll be thousands of voters who switch based on their impression. Not on what they’ve read. Not on the detail of news bulletin. They’ll vote on what they perceive to be happening. “We wanted change, now we’re happy.” That’s why the Liberals flyer in my letterbox was telling me that this is the same Labor Government. Anyone who follows politics will know that; anyone who doesn’t probably won’t even read the pamphlet.
People do like to follow crowds and jump on the winning side. Will the swing back to Labor in the latest poll create an even bigger one in the next election or will the honeymoon period only last a week? I suspect the former, because Kevin Rudd now looks like a winner. Tony Abbott, on the other hand, continues to complain that we need an election now. It’s a simple message, and his supporters will agree, but I suspect that, for many, it’s starting to sound monotonous. Rather than sound like he’s keen to be Prime Minister, it has the faint sound of desperation. Politically, it also seems strange. If an election had been held straight away, the Liberals would have undoubtedly been saying that Kevin Rudd was worried that the cracks in the Government would start to show. Abbott’s constant demand for an election makes that line of argument a little harder to prosecute. “We want an election now, but calling one shows that you’re scared.” Surely, the Liberals would expect the sooner Rudd calls the election, the less time for his so called “honeymoon” to wear off.
Whatever, I’ve only noticed one poll appearing in the news in the past week. I wonder how many we’ll get in the coming fortnight. And I wonder if they’ll ask the question I asked last week comparing Abbott and Turnbull.
Contrast the Liberals approach with Labor’s: