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Moving the move forward forwards

" I seek my own mandate to move Australia forward.
...this election is about the choice as to whether we move Australia forward or go back. Our great nation, our very great nation, has been built by generations of men and women who had the courage to move forward.

Moving forward, of course, requires conviction, it requires confidence...

Moving forward with confidence also requires a strong set of convictions...

I will be asking Australians for their trust so that we can move forward together.

And moving forward means moving forward with plans to build a sustainable Australia...

Moving forward means moving forward with budget surpluses...
Moving forward also means moving forward with stronger protection of our borders...

...I believe this is a moment for all of us to strengthen, to innovate, to learn - in short, to move forwards, not backwards."

- Edited highlights of Julia Gillard's speech announcing the August 21 election, Canberra, 17.7.10

It's 48 hours since the Governor-General dissolved parliament and I'm sick and tired of this election campaign already. Prime Minister Gillard exuded a combination of charisma and Zhou Enlai as she gave her speech - one that her predecessor Kevin Rudd never had the opportunity to deliver. All that's worth remembering from a speech devoid of policy is the absurd number of times she talked about "moving forward" - and the above extract doesn't include them all!

Shortly afterwards, Tony Abbott gave a response that was more dork and [insert your favourite used car salesman's name here]. Again his speech can be distilled down to a few key elements:

"The election isn’t about glib slogans....

We’ll stand up for Australia. We’ll stand up for real action. We’ll end the waste, repay the debt, stop the new taxes and stop the boats."


This election should have been a gimme for Labor. Rudd's increasingly dysfunctional leadership style didn't help, but the current ALP back office has to be one of the worst in modern times. Julia Gillard has been landed in an incredibly difficult position, and is a polished and highly professional operator, but goodness me she was given some drivel to recite on Saturday. If Labor botch this election then the primary blame will rest with their party machine.

The Liberal-National coalition should be in a state of irrelevance at this point, currently enjoying their third leader since the electoral demise of aspirant sports administrator John Howard. If Gillard is polished and professional, Abbott is off-the-cuff and, well, his credibility was dealt with fairly decisively at 7.30ReportLand on May 17. Yet, it is not beyond the realms of belief that he could be Prime Minister in around five weeks' time.

A lot will depend on how well the Libs can run their campaign. At this point, it's not looking good.

If ever there was an election I was willing to call as a 0-0 draw it's this one.