Alrighty - time to look back on the campaign day that was:
- both major parties announced special economic plans for special states/territories;
- the Coalition had $62 million worth of goodies for Tasmania where it is quietly confident it can pick up seats;
- Labor had $10 million up its sleeve for northern Australia and an uncosted announcement about reducing the company tax rate for businesses based in the Northern Territory;
- the Coalition is concerned releasing its policy costings would "bore the Australian people to death"; and
- former speaker Peter Slipper will recontest his seat of Fisher.
My thanks, as always, to you for reading and joining in and to Andrew Meares and Alex Ellinghausen for their sensational work.
See you in the morning.
Okay I now feel officially sorry for Team Rudd. Their bus left their Brisbane hotel at 4am (so that's a getting time of a bit after 3am) before flying to Darwin. Then they flew to Kununurra. Then it's on to Perth which they have been told they will not reach before midnight.
The signal out of Kununurra is weak so I'm told we may not hear much out of them for at least another hour.
Meanwhile, it was a relatively easy day for Team Abbott. They at least woke up in the state they spent most of the day in - Tasmania - and one stop in Launceston and one in Hobart is nothing. They are now in the air headed for goodness knows where so that's it from them today.
I know many of you are, like me, huge fans of the wizardry worked by Andrew Meares and Alex Ellinghausen.
Normally I don't just publish press releases verbatim but I'm making an exception for this one from Bob Katter, MP for Kennedy in Queensland's far north.
"Good afternoon and please see details below for media conference tomorrow," it goes (so far, so normal).
"Bob will be making an entrance via helicopter in what could be the first aircraft to land at Sydney's proposed second airport. Apologies to those for whom this is irrelevant."
Mr Katter will, it is promised, be making "important aviation announcements".
(Okay, so I'm easily amused.)
Ever wonder what happens to the campaign props when the caravan has packed up and moved on? This.
6 year old Matilda Stevenson after a campaign launch in Hobart, Tasmania, on Thursday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Opposition leader Tony Abbott meets 4 year old Tess Stansfield during the campaign launch for candidates Tanya Denison and Bernadette Black, in Hobart on Thursday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Another day, another child used as a shameless prop used in the name of politics.
While he was in Darwin Mr Rudd visited Robertson barracks, the cenotaph and held a press conference where he encountered a gentleman called Robert Buchan. Mr Buchan, 71, was most persistent in asking Mr Rudd when the national debt would be repaid.
You can watch what happened in this video shot by our man on Team Rudd, Andrew Meares.
No doubt Mr Rudd is fielding a few questions about his northern Australia policy (you can read Judith Ireland's story about it here).
This announcement did not go particularly well for Mr Rudd - he stumbled when questioned about the specifics of his company tax cut proposal and had to admit it was not costed.
Which might blunt any attack Labor might have been planning based on Coalition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey's assertion that Australians would be "bored to death" if all the campaign focussed on was costings.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on the plane from Darwin on Wednesday. Photo: Andrew Meares
Mr Rudd is flying with the media from Darwin to Kununurra. In other words, he's slumming it.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd joins the media charter plane to fly to Kununurra from Darwin on Wednesday. Photo: Andrew Meares
More things that I should have brought to your attention.....
Chief political correspondent Mark Kenny makes the observation in his weekly column that the gap in the polls for the parties may have become "structural".
Mark grabs hold of a space theme and goes with it: "Like the staged firing of a Saturn V rocket escaping its earthly bonds, Labor banked on the election to provide the final impetus needed to slip its heavy past and propel it skyward in 2013."
Can he sustain the theme throughout his piece? Yes he can.
Technology reporter Lucy Battersby takes an in depth look at one of the key policy differences between the major parties - the National Broadband Network - and assesses the claims made by each side.
My apologies for being so late in putting up today's Fact Checker segment.
Today Peter Martin looks at a Labor favourite - that Tony Abbott took "$1 billion in hospital funding out of the states".
How does Peter rate this claim? You'll have to click here to find out.
Really, this man should know better:
Bondi Junction Mall - blowing a Tibetan trumpet with less than Himalayan results. pic.twitter.com/r16LXg9dj9— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) August 15, 2013
No truth to the rumour that Labor is bringing sexy back.
As seen from Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's media bus in Darwin on Thursday. Photo: Andrew Meares
Mr Slipper's wife, Inge, steps up to the microphone.
Mrs Slipper does not mince words as she accuses the media of making her life "hell".
She describes helicopters flying over their house and people feeling the bonnet of her car to see if she'd been out as part of the harassment she has endured.
Mrs Slipper describes it as "a direct hit on our marriage" but "our marriage is real".
"I have stuck by Peter," Mrs Slipper said. "There's so many things you guys don't understand about Peter. He has made some mistakes but he's a really good guy."
"That's a nice thing to say," Mr Slipper interjected.
But it did not deter his wife: "I do love my husband [and] I took my vows seriously."
Mr Slipper concludes the press conference with sage advice: "Life is a journey, not a destination."
The former speaker, Peter Slipper, has announced he will recontest his Queensland seat of Fisher.
Mr Slipper says running as an independent is "a David and Goliath effort" and his "most difficult election ever because I'm up against the major parties".
Mr Slipper - once the Liberal National Party MP for the seat until he defected to take up the speakership - wants to offer the people of Fisher "real choice".
Mr Slipper says "people have seen through the plot that was set up against me".
Photographer Alex Ellinghausen reports in from Hobart airport which Team Abbott was visiting to allow the Coalition to promise greater funding for the tarmac. (You can read about Mr Abbott's announcement in relation to funding for Tasmania here.)
The photo I ran in the 12.41pm post was not sufficiently picturesque for some people who demanded a better photo op.
This is what Team Abbott and the airport crew came up with.
Opposition leader Tony Abbott at Hobart airport in Tasmania on Thursday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Coalition leader Tony Abbott pounces.
"We've just seen an extraordinary press conference from Mr Rudd in Darwin where first of all he said he wanted to deliver an entirely uncosted tax cut for all the businesses in the Northern Territory," Mr Abbott says.
"Then it suddenly became all businesses in Darwin, then it became businesses in the Northern Territory but only businesses that were actually based in the Northern Territory as opposed to operating in the Northern Territory."
And the knock out punch: "It's just another thought bubble from a prime minister who had a plan to tear down his predecessor but he doesn't have [sic] a plan to develop our country."
Opposition leader Tony Abbott visits Hobart airport on Thursday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
And the press release outlining Labor's plan for northern Australia just arrived. Maybe that will deliver some clarity.
The seventh paragraph describes the plans for a tax cut (and I'm quoting the entire reference) as a "new tax incentive with the objective of reducing the company tax rate for Northern Territory based companies in five years".
There is one new figure in the document - $10 million to help the expansion of the Ord River irrigation scheme.
Well that was a policy announcement which was a little light on detail.
I'm sure Labor campaign headquarters will rapidly issue a formal document answering all questions about it.
Mr Rudd looks slightly flummoxed when asked if there is a reason why Senate candidate Nova Peris is not at the event.
Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Warren Snowdon, who is standing next to Mr Rudd, jumps in: "Nova's where I'm supposed to be."
(Former prime minister Julia Gillard excised Rudd supporter Trish Crossin from Labor's Northern Territory Senate ticket in favour of Ms Peris early this year.)
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at a press conference in Darwin on Wednesday. Photo: Andrew Meares
Mr Rudd is asked how much a company tax rate cut for NT based businesses would cost.
"We're working all that through," he says.
Bruce Hawker, advisor to Kevin Rudd, takes a photo during a media conference in Darwin on Wednesday. Photo: Andrew Meares
Mr Rudd is defending Labor's advertising saying every night the party faces "18 inch guns" that are "all trained on us" courtesy of the Coalition.
He claims that the ratio of Coalition to Labor ads is ten to one.
Kevin Rudd is holding a press conference in Darwin (before wheels upping for Kununurra).
He has announced that a re elected Labor government would introduce a special northern economic zone just for the Northern Territory.
This would include a 20 year growth year plan to engage the "national imagination" about how to harness the agricultural potential of the area.
Mr Rudd would also like to see a reduction in the company tax rate of one third for businesses in the NT.
I'm glad someone is:
There's not been much attention on stopping the boats this week despite it being one of the key issues for both major parties.
Immigration Minister Tony Burke has announced that families will be sent to Nauru within weeks. He has also repeated his promise that this would include unaccompanied children being sent to Papua New Guinea and Nauru despite concerns from refugee advocates that the facilities are unsuitable.
Reporter Bianca Hall looks at Mr Burke's announcement which comes as Labor MPs start to voice their concern at some of the aspects of the Papua New Guinea policy.
It's a planes, trains and automobiles kind of day.
Off the bus, onto the plane, in Launceston, Tasmania, on Thursday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Babies and children, soldiers and now dogs - all doing their bit for campaign photo opportunities.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd inspected troops including Kell, a explosives detecting dog, at Robertson Barracks in Darwin on Wednesday. Photo: Andrew Meares
Mr Rudd has addressed the troops but is not taking questions from the media.
Mr Rudd thanks Defence personnel for their commitment and sacrifice and notes the service of those who have been in Afghanistan.
"It's a hard war, not an easy war," Mr Rudd says.
"Decisions on war and peace are grave decisions for any leader of this country whether it's been in the past under Mr Howard or recently under myself."
[Wasn't there another prime minister in between?]
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd passes an 84mm anti-tank rocket launcher with candidate Luke Gosling at Robertson Barracks in Darwin on Wednesday. Photo: Andrew Meares
Kevin Rudd is visiting the Robertson barracks in Darwin.
Intimidating welcome, no?
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd inspects the troops at Robertson Barracks in Darwin on Wednesday. Photo: Andrew Meares
Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese is fond of a pithy one liner.
For a while he thought he was on to a winner with "In your guts you know he's nuts", a reference to Coalition leader Tony Abbott.
Mr Albanese was forced to retire the line after complaints from mental health groups.
But you can't keep a good man - or line - down.
It has been refashioned and Mr Albanese trotted it out yesterday: "When it comes to Tony Abbott, in your guts you know he'll make cuts."
(My thanks to the eagle eyed Daniel Hurst for spotting this in a transcript.)
Both the major parties are still anti Green.
To recap: Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt has called on voters to forget Labor and the Coalition, branding them the ''Coles and Woolworths of politics'', after both ruled out any post-election deals to form government.
But what it all mean?
Opposition treasury spokesman, Joe Hockey, says there is good reason not to release policy costings too soon: "If the whole election's going to be about costings rather than about policies like we're announcing today, then I think everyone is going to bore the Australian people to death and we don't want to do that."
Opposition leader Tony Abbott and treasury spokesman Joe Hockey address the media in Launceston, Tasmania, on Thursday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
The Coalition, as you will be well aware, is under pressure from Labor to release its policy costings.
The Age's environment editor, Tom Arup, has written this piece in which modelling commissioned by the Climate Institute has found the Coalition would need to spend an extra $4 billion more than it has budgeted under its direct action climate policy in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by five per cent by 2020.
What do you think? Should there be stricter rules around the timing of the release of policy costings before an election? You can have your say in our readers' poll which you can find here.
Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose.
But the day is only going to get better - after Darwin it's on to Kununurra for Team Rudd where media have been warned the venue will have "no toilet facilities".
The media covering Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on the plane to Darwin. Photo: Andrew Meares
Next we have Jonathan Swan (Team Abbott) who witnessed Mr Abbott's campaign cover everything from "porous boarders" to some free netball advice for his daughter, Bridget.
Alex Ellinghausen also shot a video - check out the bit where Mr Abbott asks "Bridgie" is she's got everything on the netball court under control.
Abbott gets tough
Jonathan Swan is on the road with Tony Abbott as he plays netball coach, makes a "captain's call" on Greens' preferences, and bemoans Queensland's "porous border" with PNG.PT2M21S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2rxkd 620 349 August 15, 2013
Before we get on to the news of the day let me direct you to how our troops on the ground saw yesterday's campaign.
First up is Heath Aston (Team Rudd) who filed this take on yesterday's swing through Queensland.
There is also a video of some of the day's highlights show by Andrew Meares.
Let's get a big, big, big issue out of the way this morning before it derails Mr Abbott's campaign.
Katy Perry will not be voting for him.
"I love you as a human being but I can't give you my vote," the pop star told Mr Abbott during a Sydney radio encounter earlier this morning.
This is because Ms Perry disagrees with Mr Abbott on gay marriage.
Mr Abbott was more concerned with other things: "When are you coming back [to Australia]? We need you, we want you."
Ms Perry brushed his question aside: "Oh come one, that's not a political question, let's talk about gay marriage."
Mr Abbott nominated one of Ms Perry's hit songs - Hot and Cold - as a possible campaign anthem.
The private planes have arrived. It takes some time to get them sorted out which is why the media was flying around in Defence aircraft last week. Don't worry - we pay our own way and it ain't cheap. Business class fares for every journey; travel forms a large part of the enormous cost of covering campaigns for media outlets.
The media covering Prime Minister Kevin Rudd depart Brisbane airport at 4.50am on Wednesday. Photo: Andrew Meares
Covering a campaign is fun, there's no doubt it. If that's your thing. I've enjoyed my past stints on the trail - including being driven straight onto the tarmac to the steps of your plane - but I don't miss going to sleep late at night then being woken by a text message at about 2am telling me I have to be checked out of the hotel at 3.30am to get on said plane.
The media covering Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at Brisbane airport at 4.40am on Wednesday. Photo: Andrew Meares
Rise and shine.
It's 4am and the media following Kevin Rudd troop out of the Brisbane hotel bound for the airport including our own man on the team, Heath Aston.
The media covering Prime Minister Kevin Rudd depart its Brisbane hotel at 4am on Wednesday. Photo: Andrew Meares
Good morning. The respective campaigns are spanning the continent - Labor is chasing the sunshine in the Northern Territory while the Coalition is zeroing in on Tasmania, a state it thinks it can do well in.
It's a pleasure to have your company as Andrew Meares, Alex Ellinghausen and I bring you all the news and views from the campaign trail.