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)
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