Rudd v. Abbott at the Press Club

Update: Now livetweeting below the cut.

Via Peter Martin’s blog, here are the Press Club rules for today’s debate:

“The order of leaders would be decided by the toss of a coin.

The moderator will be a Club Director Chris Uhlmann.

Each leader is allocated 5 minutes for opening remarks.

After the leaders have concluded their opening comments, members of the media will pose questions in this order determined by ballot:

Paul Bongiorno – Network 10
Sandra O’Malley – AAP
Sue Dunlevy -The Daily Telegraph
Lyndal Curtis – ABC Radio
Mark Riley – Network Seven
Laura Tingle – Financial Review
Matthew Franklin – The Australian
Michelle Grattan – The Age
Jayne Azzopardi – Nine Network
Karen Middleton – SBS
Andrew Probyn – West Australian

The leader answering a question put directly to him/her will have a maximum of 2 minutes to reply. The other speaker would have the option to respond to the answer given by the opponent for a maximum of 1 minute.

In the case of a question being put forward to the leaders jointly, each speaker would have 2 minutes to reply.

Leaders will be alerted 30 seconds out from the conclusion of time for opening and closing comments, answers to questions and right of reply periods.

Concluding comments of 2 minutes from each speaker is given in the same order to that of the opening comments.”

If ever I’d had a slim hope that this debate might in some way be edifying on the policy front, these rules destroy it. This is even more of a formula for he who grandstands best “wins” than most televised political debates. As Possum at Pollytics points out after crunching the numbers (58% support Rudd’s federal hospital takeover plan) in the latest Essential poll,

It’s worth keeping in your though[sic] orbit that Rudd’s plan enjoys plurality support across all demographics when you watch the Rudd/Abbott health debate tomorrow.

Also interesting is how nothing appears to have changed over the last month, despite a fair amount of political squabbling.

Knowing the opponents as we do, I’m predicting that Abbott will probably have more zinger soundbites and that Rudd will have more grasp of the figures and keep on bringing it back to Abbott’s lack of any comprehensive policy at all. I also expect that Abbott’s love of robust parliamentary debate will descend into verbal thuggery on occasion and that moderator Chris Uhlmann will let it all slide. The Press Club audience will mostly lap up and report Abbott’s zingers above any substance.

This can be our open thread on the debate for today. The debate, starting at 12.30pm, is being shown live on the ABC and commercial stations. (Most TV channels and newspapers will also have a livestream available – check their websites)
(Updated) Liveblogging: The Punch , The National Times, Croakey at Crikey.

Today’s relevant op-eds: Kevin Rudd (SMH), Tony Abbott (Herald Sun), Kevin Rudd (Herald Sun), Tony Abbott (SMH), (and aren’t the differences in style and emphasis for different newspapers fascinating?), Michelle Grattan (The Age), Peter Lewis (The Punch), Laurie Oakes (Herald-Sun), Lenore Taylor (SMH)


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Update: so of course my laptop in the tv room won’t connect to the net!
Update the second: now I can’t log in to @hoydenabouttown – switching to @vivsmythe instead
Update the third: livetweeting is now ended

Categories: health, media, Politics

Tags: , ,

8 replies

  1. OK, so I succumbed to temptation and watched the worm on Ch9. It didn’t like Abbott relying on negativity because he didn’t have any policy. “Wormologists” gave the thumbs up to the PM – Rudd 71%, Abbott 29%.

  2. Oh, this is so true:

    RT @superopinion: Channel Ten replays the Abbott laugh: My ears are bleeding, and 20 kittens just died. #npchealth #npc

    Can the first person who sees a vid of TheAbbottLaugh send me a link – that’s going to be devastating come campaign attack ad time.

  3. It’s not on Youtube yet, but it can’t be long.

  4. I can’t find a dictionary definition to support my gut feeling, but doesn’t “debate” carry some sense of to-and-fro discussion in its meaning? Of course there have to be rules, but these seem to reduce the “debate” to a two-man version of Parliamentary question time. Well spotted, tigtog.
    Looks like it was a good day to spend in a quiet library.

  5. Paul Kelly’s editorial in the Oz is a virtuoso display of reluctant gritted-teeth admission that yes, Kevvie outplayed Tones.
    It’s of a piece with this Kelly column I missed last week – all on how the meeja should stop asking Abbott all those personal questions just because he keeps on giving amusing/shocking answers – why can’t they ask the PM instead sez Kelly? That would be because Rudd will simply give them something polite, sincere and unremarkable – and that doesn’t make for front page headlines. Kelly seems to expect other journos to turn away from the gift that keeps on giving which is Abbott’s unstoppable dribble of TMI. Not going to happen.

  6. I know others are saying this too, but what I have found so amazing from the very end of the debate is how many commentators are saying something like this (from Kelly’s piece today):

    As far as Tony Abbott is concerned I think he did well in this debate with a bad hand.
    Abbott didn’t have a health policy and that showed. And it’s very difficult debating a prime minister who’s got a health policy when you don’t have one.

    ie Abbott lost because Rudd was in a stronger position because Rudd had a policy and Abbott did not.
    They all seem to be missing the bloody obvious: and whose fault was it, exactly, that Abbott did not have a policy?
    Here’s a clue: it wasn’t Rudd.
    So no, Abbott did not do well in this debate with a bad hand. That’s because he had the option of strengthening his hand in the first place (by actually having a policy) and he chose not to do that. So he did poorly before they even sat down to lunch yesterday.
    (Apart from which, I don’t think Abbott played the hand he dealt himself very well at all!)

    • It’s a ridiculous line to take when right up until Monday they were predicting that their parliamentary pugilist would knock Rudd’s socks off with his L33t Deb8ing Skillz0r.
      Abbott played to the journos in the room instead of addressing the public watching on the telly. That is a choice which shows a fundamental misunderstanding of what really matters in an election year.

  7. Further to the point about Abbott not having a policy* Abbott was health minister for years. He has NO excuse for not having health policy. And pointing at the government and going ‘pink batts and big debt’ certainly does not cut it as far as health or any other policy area goes.
    *I read somewhere in the MSM he was ‘unencumbered’ by policy as if this were a positive – FFS he bloody well should be ‘encumbered’ by policy if he is trying to sell himself to us as potential PM. Jeez, given Liberal’s track record they could come to power (not going to happen this election though) and do something dramatic that they hadn’t put before the election as a mandate/promise – Workchoices, anyone?

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