Federal Politics

Election wrap: August 21, 2013

Here is a video of debate highlights, if you missed it:

 

 

We talk a lot about who wins and who loses debates. But really, the only thing that matters is how many undecided voters changed their minds tonight?

And with that, I leave ye.

Until tomorrow - please join Steph Peatling for The Pulse live blog all day.

This debate has really revitalised the campaign. The best bit is always at the business end, when the pressure starts to bear and the stakes get ever more real.

 

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at the leaders' debate at the Broncos Leagues Club in Brisbane.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at the leaders' debate at the Broncos Leagues Club in Brisbane. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Fairfax's chief political correspondent Mark Kenny,who just so happens to be sitting within yodelling distance of me, believes Rudd won the debate pretty convincingly.

Mark scored the last debate to Abbott.

But this time, Mark believes Rudd nailed Abbott on the costings and cuts critique, and that is the only thing Labor has got.

But you can read Mark Kenny's full and frank analysis in the Sydney Morning Herald, and Age tomorrow, or back here on the website, where it shall find a cybery home.

So when will next our two titans clash?

Wellll, Abbott has challenged Rudd to a duel at the Rooty Hill RSL next Wednesday, where the beer flows freely and the schnitzel is always extremely large.

Rudd has said he is busy, actually, and won't be able to make it.

But given the importance of the marginals in Western Sydney, will he dare say no to the good people of Rooty Hill?

There is only one rule in modern Australian politics. Don't disrespect the Hill.

Julia learned that the hard way.

I had thought that the leaders' answers weren't timed, but I was wrong. Here is a close-up of the discreet bell that trilled when the leader needed to wrap up.

#Traumaticflashbackstohighschooldebatingtournaments

The timer bell at the second leaders' debate at the Broncos Leagues Club in Brisbane.
The timer bell at the second leaders' debate at the Broncos Leagues Club in Brisbane. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
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I like to think Julia Gillard and maybe a pal of hers, like Nicola Roxon, were watching tonight's debate in their jarmies on a couch somewhere. Eating popcorn and shouting at the telly.

So apart from the theatrics, what did we learn tonight?

For mine, I thought Abbott was relaxed, calmly punching out another few kilometres in the marathon campaign he is running. He was mostly level-headed, he was mostly good-humoured, and he seemed direct. He seemed to level with people.

But Rudd was more passionate and made his points well on what an Abbott government might do - and it is a scare campaign, whether or not it turns out to be true. He communicated better than he usually does, and he kept his cool when Abbott lost his momentarily.

We are at the campaign equinox, the mid-point of the whole show, and Rudd badly needs momentum to catapult him over the line. Did this give him that? I think it certainly gave him a good push.

It's clear that the Labor strategy is now to firmly target the worries and fears and niggling doubts undecided voters might have about an Abbott-led Coalition government, and exploit them.

 

Graham Richardson and Michael Kroger are on Sky as we speak, aren't they just the cutest couple?

Richo thinks Rudd did good, and he didn't expect him to do very well (wow, talk about a passive aggressive compliment, Richo, have you been taking notes from my mother? I joke).

Peter van Onselen, who also graces the Sky screen, says Rudd won, but it won't make a jot of difference because the last few years of Labor government have been so shabby.

Kevin's Fringe has weighed in with his analysis:

 

And here is another of Abbott mingling post-debate with the good voters of the Broncosaurium.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott meet participants after they attended the People's Forum at ...
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott meet participants after they attended the People's Forum at the Broncos Leagues Club in Brisbane. Photo: Andrew Meares
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Here's my boy with the jaunty jumper. He asked about gay marriage.

People's forum with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott at the Broncos Leagues Club in Brisbane.
People's forum with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott at the Broncos Leagues Club in Brisbane. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

The results of the Bronco Ballot are in!

Who won the debate?

35 to Abbott

33 to Rudd 

37 undecided.

Oh people. Make up your minds already.

Here's a pic of Tones mingling post-debate. He stuck around for about 20 minutes before skedaddling. That's not really the right verb for him, is it?

People's forum with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott at the Broncos Leagues Club in Brisbane.
People's forum with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott at the Broncos Leagues Club in Brisbane. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Was Chris wearing some sort of subversive Chanel logo on his t-shirt? (see 7.55pm post) I hope so.

And here is a shot from our brilliant photographer of the confrontational moment when the self-confessed schoolyard nerd confronted Abbott, and asked him to tell voters where his cuts are coming from.

It's possible I need to get out more, but it was quite electric, no?

Abbott, who has been so disciplined for so long, seemed to get a little riled up at this point. Not long after he made the quip about Rudd's loquacity. Which, to be fair, no one sane can really deny.

People's forum with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott at the Broncos Leagues Club in Brisbane.
People's forum with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott at the Broncos Leagues Club in Brisbane. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
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Here is a picture of Chris, who was concerned about WorkChoices and wore his sunnies atop his head. I love our country, I really do. Chris was one of my favourites.

The votes of the Bronco Ballot are being counted as the punters file out of the Broncosaurium. Soon we will know their verdict.

ELECTION 2013: People's forum with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott at the Broncos Leagues ...
ELECTION 2013: People's forum with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott at the Broncos Leagues Club in Brisbane, Queensland on Wednesday 21 August 2013. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen 

The pundits on the television say it was a great encounter. Dennis Atkins of the Courier Mail says it was electric!

Certainly it was a lot more entertaining than the last debate at the National Press Club, which would have put a crack addict to sleep. The combination of a skeptical public, a relaxed setting in which neither leader feels particularly at home, and the ability to actually engage eachother, worked to create good TV.

Here is the Rudd clan watching their man - Therese Rein and Marcus Rudd.

Therese Rein and Nicholas Rudd watch Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott attended the People's ...
Therese Rein and Nicholas Rudd watch Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott attended the People's Forum at the Broncos Leagues Club in Brisbane on Wednesday 21 August 2013. Election 2013. Photo: Andrew Meares 

There is some discussion on the telly-box now of whether or not Abbott was right to ask whether Rudd ever shuts up.

Graham Richardson believes it was rude (and he is a paragon of good etiquette, after all).

Jessica Irvine, journalist who is on the Sky panel, says it was probably the best career advice Rudd ever had.

Does this guy ever shut up?

 

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott attended the People's Forum at the Broncos Leagues Club in ...
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott attended the People's Forum at the Broncos Leagues Club in Brisbane on Wednesday 21 August 2013. Election 2013. Photo: Andrew Meares
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