CAMPAIGN DAY 26: 15 DAYS TO GO
The two main parties in Australia suffer perhaps rather more than elsewhere from a common political problem: what to do with your ex-leaders? Whilst Bob Hawke has (alas) been a tireless, loyal, on-message, effective campaigner for the ALP since his departure, Paul Keating is famed for his erratic outbursts – to the extent that he was brought into their 2004 campaign launch through a side door. On our side of the fence, Malcolm Fraser is way, way, way off the reservation.
The reason I bring it up is that this week sees articles in two prominent publications by two ex-leaders, one from each party, each sledging his own team. Thank you, John Hewson. Thank you, Mark Latham. Sigh.
Meanwhile, the campaign goes on. Interest rates have gone up. Opinion is divided as to whether this is good for the government (because it is trusted more on economic management) or bad for the government (because it is blamed for the rise). Negative ads abound. It’s fun.
Which makes me think about our restrictive advertising laws in the UK. The set provisions for broadcast, and the ban on advertising other than in the approved times and manner, mean that freedom of speech is hardly in play; smaller and new parties suffer; and the length of the PPBs puts most people to sleep. Would you favour a free-for-all? Increasingly, seeing the sides going at it here, I think I would.