2007: The (Second) Last TV Election

The next time someone says we’re experiencing Australia’s “first Internet election” or our “first YouTube election”, slap them. Slap them very hard.

Our politicians only see the Internet and the emerging social media as a different kind of TV. YouTube is a place to post commercials, MySpace and Facebook for media releases. Their use of social media is so clueless that geeks attending PodCamp in Perth this Saturday were laughing.

Far from this being the “first Internet election”, it’s more like the The Last Television Election. Maybe the second-last.

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“Officially” is the new “literally”

“Labor, the party of the working class, has officially become the party of choice for intellectuals,” claimed The Australian last Thursday. Sorry, which “official” said this?

No, it wasn’t a Labor party official announcing a change in their funding source. Nor some mythical official spokesperson for “intellectuals” — could there ever be such a central organisation? No, the “official” is just the journalist who wrote the story, or his sub-editor.

In one way this is like that common mis-use of the word “literally”. As in: “Kevin Rudd was literally torn apart in Parliament this afternoon.” But there’s also some lovely propaganda at work — either because the journo thought it’d make it more dramatic, or because (heaven forbid!) The Australian is continuing its pro-Coalition stance.

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Gentlemen, start your engines!

Ah, I love the smell of an election in the morning! Camera crews waiting outside Yarralumla sneak one last ciggie. Candidates of all persuasions reach for The Good Suit and ponder which tie they should wear. Journalists place last-minute bets on The Date and wonder just how many grams of speed they should lay in to last the distance. Media outlets everywhere reach for their plans and everybody says goodbye to their loved ones for a few weeks.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer is on Sunday, live from his Adelaide Hills palace, dutifully repeating The Message. “To change the government is to change the country.” “Trade unionists.” Repeat ad nauseam.

We’ll hear Lord Downer repeating his scary mantra many, many times as the Coalition fights to the death.

“I think they need a miracle, really,” says The Sphere of Influence. “Unless Kevin Rudd falls over in the campaign, the Liberals will find it very difficult… Unless they get their [economic] message to the forefront of the campaign they’ll have no chance.”

So they’re the battle lines, at least so far. Labor will reinforce their message that it’s time for a change. The Coalition will reinforce their message that only they can maintain the economic boom. And everyone else will be scrambling for Senate spots.

And now we’re just waiting for The Announcement…

[Update 1215: The election date is Saturday 24 November. JWH is currently doing a media conference, which will doubtless be analysed to death over the next 24 hours. Have fun, kiddies!]

Rudd’s +2 charisma roll: thanks, Al!

Photographs of Kevin Rudd with Al Gore, and John Howard with George W Bush

Al Gore’s Nobel Peace Prize is like a Magic Cloak of Invincibility. Now anyone wanting to criticise him had better have all of their ducks in a row — feathers freshly preened and all lined up like the North Korean Army — before they dare open their mouths.

And, through the magic of televisual political frottage, Kevin Rudd gets a +2 on his charisma too, since he’s been seen wandering Melbourne with The Big Al himself, quietly discussing… well, discussing something anyway. Does it matter exactly what?

Kevin Rudd knows Al Gore! AL GORE! He must be cool!

Since the US of A is our best friend and protector, mentor and high-tech stuff salesman, these pairings of potential PM with an Important American define our future.

We have Kevin Rudd, the quiet and unassuming Supernerd who can crack jokes with the president of China in his own language. Next to Kevin we have Al Gore, who everyone knows through that movie.

OK, some people want to spoil the fun by pointing out a few errors, but hey we all got the message.

Al Gore hasn’t yet said whether he’ll run for President, but former president and Nobel Laureate Jimmy Carter is behind him.

And then we have the Man of Steel and his submissive relationship with the Lame Duck President, digging up coal and uranium and oil and gas and whatever else they can find and selling it as fast as they can. Dubya is on the nose politically and has been for months, and the Man of Steel is making up policy on the fly.

Gee, there’s a choice, eh?

A Picture of a Ruddslide

Mumble Poll Mix, 23 March to 23 September 2007

Earlier today I nearly choked. Despite Kevin Rudd making some minor tactical errors, despite squillions of our dollars being spent on government propaganda, Labor’s primary vote has reached its highest level since Kevin Rudd took over the leadership last year.

54%! Factor in preferences and that means the 2-party-preferred (2PP) vote is 60.5% to 39.5% Labor’s way. Astounding!

The graph (right) shows Peter Brent’s meta-analysis of all the major polls for the last six months. Clearly, all this talk of “a swing back to Howard” is crap. They’re just little wiggles in a much bigger picture that tells a very clear story.

There’s always a big gap in the middle of at least 10 percentage points.

Brent reckons the weighted aggregate 2PP vote is 56.5 to 43.5 in Labor’s favour. If so, Labor wins two-thirds of the seats in Parliament.

There’s lot more numbers and graphs at Mumble Elections and Possums Pollytics.

Hyacinth’s Open Day

Photograph of the view of Sydney Harbour from Kirribilli House

Not a bad view, eh? You can see why Janette Howard wouldn’t want to leave Kirribilli House!

Yesterday was the one day each spring when the doors are open to the punters. For $15 ($10 senior concession, with card) we can roam the gardens and take snapshots of each other admiring the views. And the fit men and women of the Australian Federal Police and the now-merged AFP Protective Service chat politely instead of shooting us.

Kirribilli House is a relatively modest twin-gabled residence in the Gothic picturesque style, dating from 1855. “It’s pretty crap,” complained one teenage lad. “The White House is better. But it’s the location I guess.”

In theory, the Prime Minister’s official residence is The Lodge in Canberra, not here. When, almost inevitably, Kevin Rudd is elected PM, will his family live here, or The Lodge?

[I also wrote about Kirribilli House for Crikey. It covers different material, and there’s a photo of the rude chap who dared wear a “Kevin 07” t-shirt.]