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Leaders Debate: live coverage

July 25th, 2010 at 06:12pm

Starting from 6:30pm I’ll be running live commentary on the Leaders Debate between Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott. Please refresh the page to see the updates as they appear, probably every minute or so.

6:30: Welcome to the live coverage. I’ll be watching the Debate on Seven, with Nine on a separate monitor so that I can keep an eye on both the “worm” and the “polliegraph”. Those will get a mention, but they won’t be my main focus as the speeches and pronouncements of the two leaders are more important than what the Seven and Nine studio audiences think.

6:35: A neat and concise opening statement from Julia Gillard. Pretty much what I expected…too many plans to spend money without enough details on her plan to reduce the deficit though for my mind.

6:39: Tony Abbott reannounced pretty much all of his policies to date. While he was talking about his policies, both the Nine Worm and the Seven Polliegraph were quite positive…just as much as for Julia. They both took a dive when he started attacking Labor and Julia Gillard…more so among women than among men.

6:41: Already people are asleep in my lounge room.

6:42: Julia Gillard claims to have sensible ideas on immigration and climate change. Strangely she is still talking about East Timor though…

6:43: Tony Abbott receives a positive reaction to his immigration policies which don’t utilise East Timor. A more lukewarm response to his climate change policy.

6:48: The basis of Julia’s statement about her courage is that she seems to think it’s a good idea to push ideas through even if they’re unpopular. Apparently the people will thank her later. Some public servants cried tears of joys after one of her plans was implemented.

6:50: I disagree with the government funding parental leave, but the reaction to Tony Abbott’s paid parental leave scheme seems to be quite positive.

6:52: Tony Abbott seems to accept that immigration needs to be reduced to remain sustainable, and seems to have a sensible sounding plan for it. It was interesting to see him accept that past levels were probably too high.

6:55: Julia Gillard claims that they’ve already reduced the immigration numbers and closed a number of “rorts” introduced under the Howard government. She completely dodges Tony Abbott’s question of why she didn’t announce the details of her migration figures until now…strangely the off-topic waffle won over both the Seven and Nine audiences.

6:56: Julia just lied about East Timor being open to a dialogue about taking our asylum seekers. Just because one person there is open to it, doesn’t mean that the country (whose parliament voted against it) is open to it.

6:57: Julia will “take the time to get it done” on the asylum seeker policies. So how many more people have to die at sea while she dithers?

6:58: Tony says that there will never be an immigration processing centre in East Timor and that Nauru is the best option. He’s right, and the audiences seem to like it.

6:59: ABC’s Chris Uhlmann asks a stupid question of Tony Abbott about it being true that most of the people who went to Nauru eventually came to Australia anyway. Your point Chris? The legitimate ones were allowed through and the dodgy ones were sent back…what’s your problem with this Chris?

7:01: Julia doesn’t like Nauru because of its deadlocked government. She completely ignores the fact, which Tony mentions, that both sides of politics over there want to take our asylum seekers.

7:03: Julia believes that her stimulus plans saved the economy from a “deep recession”. As much as I disagree with her…how do we measure this without access to a parallel universe? Julia doesn’t want to answer the question of whether she will pour more money in to the economy if we have a double-dip recession.

7:06: Tony believes that the policies of the Howard government had more to do with the health of the economy than the Rudd/Gillard/Swan stimulus, which he rightly calls “rushed”. He also, rightly based on the deficit, claims that the economy is harder for the government to help out if it needs further help now, thanks to the Rudd/Gillard/Swan stimulus.

7:07: Tony wants to bring government debt and deficit under control, to help reduce pressure on the rest of the economy. He also rules out strange plans such as GroceryWatch to try and artificially reduce grocery prices.

7:08: Julia correctly points out that Tony’s proposed increase of the corporate tax rate would increase the cost of living, not reduce it….but then she mentions a bunch of her socialist plans which would have the same effect. She almost nailed Tony, but then completely missed her chance.

7:11: Interesting reaction to Julia talking about climate change on the Seven Polliegraph. Men hate it, women are slightly in favour of it. The Nine Worm is fairly neutral.

7:12: Worm and Polliegraph like Tony saying that the “citizen’s assembly” on climate change, proposed by Julia Gillard, is a bad idea and a waste of time when we already have a parliament to decide these things.

7:14: Tony dodges a question about his proposed corporate tax increase and instead rambles about how he will deliver “stability”…and then drifts on to WorkChoices being dead.

7:17: Julia still believes that Tony is lying about WorkChoices being dead. Seven’s Female audience seems to agree. Male audience not so sure about it.

7:18: Julia likes her workplace reforms and the audiences seems to be more-or-less in favour of it.

7:19: Tony re-iterates that he will work within the workplace legislation set down by the Labor government. Audience not quite as friendly to this as they were to Julia.

7:21: The topic of Julia’s ascension to the top comes up. The audience doesn’t like this. The way she took over is still a sore point among most people by the looks of it. Women seem to be a bit happier about it if Seven’s Polliegraph is to be believed. I didn’t like it…but I accept that it is within the gift of the majority party to change Prime Minister if it wants to do so.

7:22: Tony mentions that the government has gone from bad to worse since Julia took over. Strangely, this attack is highly favourable among the audiences, unlike the one near the start of the debate.

7:23: Massive surge in support for Tony’s support of the military and following their advice on what we should do in places like Afghanistan.

7:25: Similarly strong support for Julia’s similar policy. What neither leader mentioned is that the Coalition want to urgently upgrade some military equipment to help save some lives. If I were Tony, I would have said that straight away and make Julia commit to it too.

7:28: Julia pledges to cut the corporate tax rate, and continue to spend money (“invest” to use her word) on infrastructure such as the $43 billion dollar National Broadband Network. She still wants to bring the budget in to surplus by 2013, but still no details on where this money will come from to do this. Audiences seem to like it though.

7:31: Tony again pledges to cut the deficit, cut spending etc. Tony then delves in to the speech which he gave on the day that Julia called the election. Audiences: Males favourable, females unfavourable, overall neutral to srat with, but they were fairly favourable by the end of it.

7:32: Julia won the audiences for my mind…but Tony came out ahead for me, but only just. There were far too many missed chances and points by both leaders, but Tony came out with more credibility for me.

From what I saw, Men were more inclined to support Tony, and women were more inclined to support Julia. Where’s the ABS statistic on the ratio of men and women in the country?? That could be the stat which will decide this election.

7:34: 53% to 47% overall in favour of Julia according to Seven. Males favoured Tony and Females favoured Julia.

7:36: Nine claim that women were more in favour of both parties, and men were more sceptical of both.

7:38: I couldn’t tell the difference between the pink and blue lines on Nine on the black and white monitor, but women were definitely different on Nine to what I saw on Seven. They were happier with Tony, much happier, than Seven’s women were.

7:43: Nine are running through the highlights at the moment. I’ve got it on the large colour screen, so I’m waiting on the overall result from their audience.

7:45: Nine’s audience gives the victory to Julia by a margin of 63% – 37%.

7:47: Julia also wins Nine’s audience demographics. Female: 66% – 34%. Male: 61% – 39%

Summary: Despite the Nine and Seven audiences, I still give this one to Tony, but only slightly. In my view he had more substance and a better plan for the country, but this is clearly going to be a tough election for him. There’s a long way to go in this campaign for both sides, and whilst I think Tony would make a better Prime Minister, I fear that Julia has the upper hand with the voters at the moment.


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