Thoughts on the election campaign so far

These are ads from the ALP’s campaign so far. None of them are good (I feel like I’m going to get stabbed after watching the first one).

In a previous post, I mentioned that the structural base votes of the two major political parties are somewhere around the region of 38% for the ALP and 43% for the Coalition. For the ALP to win elections, they need to make inroads into the Coalition’s vote. The Coalition can afford to target their base when the ALP doesn’t offer an alternative because they have a larger base to work with.

All of the ads above are doing is targeting the ALP base and not in a way that is electorally appealing or effective in my view.

The major issue for voters over the last term of government has been the widespread disillusionment with politics and the perceived lack of direction from their elected representatives and it has been specifically focused at the top job: the Prime Minister. This then plays into the emotions of voters and inevitably gets linked to major issues like the economy, job security and people’s day to day lives.

Kevin Rudd initially addressed this issue when he regained the ALP leadership by talking about ending the negative politics from both sides and addressing the public’s disillusionment with the national debate. It wasn’t the negative politics in and of itself that was the issue but the framing of the national debate Kevin Rudd was using to attack his political opponents (from all sides).

Since the campaign began, Rudd has contradicted this message by firstly trying to make a conspiracy out of the Coalition’s plans for the NBN by insinuating the editorial attacks from Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers against the government were due to a conflict of interest in regards to Foxtel and trying to link Tony Abbott to sexual harassment after Abbott said one of his candidate’s had “sex appeal” (Tony Abbott has spent the last three years politically inoculating himself from these sorts of attacks). He would have been better off to leave both of these incidents alone.

What these sorts of things inevitably lead to is getting dragged into the malaise that has dominated the national debate over the previous three to four years.

The Coalition’s campaign slogan is “Hope, Reward, Opportunity.” When I hear these words I don’t feel any hope, reward or opportunity, I feel fear, doubt and uncertainty. I genuinely want to know what their plans are for the nation’s future, yet I don’t feel that they have had any serious pressure put on them by the ALP so far in this campaign. Many ALP supporters will blame the media for being partisan. Story’s like this one in the Australian Financial Review today contradict that view.

In the absence of any pressure or competition at the electoral centre from the ALP at an emotional level on issues such as job security, cost of living pressures, economic management (specifically as it relates to ideological agendas in uncertain times) and the nature of politics in it’s present form (where Rudd’s electoral popularity stems from) the Coalition’s campaign wins by default.

One thought on “Thoughts on the election campaign so far

  1. Ralph August 22, 2013 at 4:26 am Reply

    Hard to disagree with that. The problem is that the ALP can’t point to its good record in government because it consists of either stuff ups (or broken promises) or, for things that it is proud of (i.e. carbon tax, disability care etc), it isn’t brave enough to campaign on them. In the absence of being able to defend the good stuff it’s done, all it is left with is a fear campaign against Tony Abbott. The voters may be nervous at the prospect of Abbott as PM, but the ALP doesn’t have enough positive stuff to say about itself. Therefore, as you say, the voters grudgingly give Abbott the benefit of the doubt and the Coalition wins by defualt.

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