Thursday, July 22, 2010

Electioneering 2010

The Federal Election 2010 is not yet a week old. Are you bored yet?? You should be.

Labor Prime Minister Julia Gillard has maintained her "ice-queen" persona. It is a continuation of her performances as Minister for Education & Minister for Industrial relations. Measured, reasonable, logical. But there's little sign of passion. There has been little policy detail. At least the Labor Party's site (   includes its traditional logo, unlike the Liberal Party's (see below). Deposed PM Kevin Rudd is rarely mentioned, and mostly by journalists. For his, part, Rudd seems to gag and has not mentioned Julia Gillard's name. there are plenty of slogans, photos to feed the journos, and create the desired image, but not much policy reporting.

Opposition, & Liberal Party, Leader Tony Abbott has also done his best to seem measured, but it took a matter of days before his foot was firmly in his mouth over ... WorkChoices. He "promised" that WorkChoices was "dead, buried and cremated",  but then indicated he wouldn't 'make changes to IR laws in the first term, but would in the second!  It seems there was a conscious party decision to try to bury WorkChoices, and keep its desired changes from teh public. His picture on the front page of the Liberal Party website ( ) does NOT include the Liberal Party Logo - it's not anywhere! His official election photo (right) also has no identifier Perhaps he doesn't want people to remember Liberal Party policies when in government. Little has been heard from the National Party, at least in metropolitan areas. Perhaps they are trying to keep a lid on Barnaby Joyce.

What we are seeing is a form of electioneering that involves:
  • image manipulation. There will be only 1 structured, manipulated, "debate".
  • attempts to be measured and reasonable, to point of iciness. The facades are brittle, especially for Tony Abbott
  • a distinct lack of policy detail through the major media outlets.
  • simple, transparent, attempts to gain votes by demeaning the other leader.
  • a "presidential" style, where we voters are asked to vote for a leader. Except for the people in their respective electorates, we don't.
There is a real risk that this type of election campaign will alienate more voters, who will either deliberately vote informal, try not to vote, or donkey-vote. Both parties demean our democracy, for some perceived short-term interest. I'm sure many voters want to see policy detail, and just a little passion - enough to show firm belief in the policies.