Monday, July 1, 2013


Dada dada dada Duh, dada dada dada Duh, dada dada dada Duh Duh Duh Duh Daaaahh!

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has refused to debate Prime Minister Rudd in the Press Club until Mr Rudd names the date of the election, and then, he will debate within the context of a political campaign.

I call fowl. In fact, I call chicken. Just two days ago, former Prime Minister John Howard introduced Tony Abbott at an event in Melbourne. The event? It was a pseudo campaign launch, an Address to Victorian Federal Campaign Rally, complete with American style flag waving and banners. Unfortunately for Mr Abbott, the news media was more interested in the born-again Prime Minister, and Mr Abbott’s big media event ran a poor second.

Mr Abbott ended his address with the following call to action:

I say to the Australian people: we are a great people. You are a great people. We are a great country. There is nothing wrong with this country that wouldn't be improved by a change of government and our duty, our duty, every day between now and the election is to work to give that better government to the Australian people. That is our duty and we must pledge every fibre of our being to bring that about.
There is no doubt that that is a campaign speech. Therefore, if Mr Abbott is making campaign speeches, can we not just assume that the campaign has commenced, and start scheduling debates?
I can’t help but wonder why the Leader of the Opposition, whose party is still in a winning position in the polls, choose to avoid participating in the debates Mr Rudd has proposed. Isn’t this an opportunity for Mr Abbott to show off, to illustrate all those points he keeps making about the ALP Government’s financial mismanagement. Isn’t this an opportunity to wrest momentum back from the ALP?

While we’re talking debates, can we please adopt a format that means something? SkyNews Australia’s Town Hall Forums in Western Sydney are interesting, but as one politician follows the other, there’s no opportunity to see the two politicians debate a policy. The traditional Sunday night Channel 9 Debates, with Ray Martin and the Worm are almost as bad.

Let’s have a series of serious conversations between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, each with a topic to be decided on the night. The combatants have to speak to each other, answer each other’s questions and remain civil and respectful throughout. One moderator is there to ensure the conversation remains ‘on topic’ and doesn’t disintegrate into the kind of appalling behaviour we’ve seen in Question Time.

I think the Prime Minister would be willing to give it a go, but I doubt Tony Abbott would be in favour. In fact, he’d probably be happiest with no debates at all.

Dada dada dada Duh, dada dada dada Duh, dada dada dada Duh Duh Duh Duh Daaaahh!

And of course it’s Monday night, and with that, comes QandA. It’s 1050 days – or if you prefer, 2.87 years – since Tony Abbott appeared on QandA, despite what I’m sure is an open invitation. QandA rates well, and is a show which is considered to have gravitas.

I’m sure that the good people at QandA would offer Mr Abbott the same conditions as his last appearance, when he was the sole guest. Surely QandA without a panel to challenge what he says would be a perfect vehicle for Mr Abbott to display his charm, his engagement with the electorate and his knowledge of Coalition policy.

Should we be making plans to mark the third anniversary of Mr Abbott’s last appearance on QandA? Roast Chicken seems appropriate.

Dada dada dada Duh, dada dada dada Duh, dada dada dada Duh Duh Duh Duh Daaaahh!

If I had any interest at all in assisting Mr Abbott, I’d be telling him that he has to change his game plan. The ALP is within the MoE, and the momentum is with the left. Constant negativity is out of favour and the electorate wants more. Mr Rudd is ready.

What are you waiting for, Mr Abbott?

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