This time it’s over at The Drum – The Great Debate Game: winning over the worm. As policy the debate was essentially pointless, as political theatre Abbott was relentlessly upstaged by Rudd, because Rudd stayed focussed on the audience that really counts.
Since I wrote that, Abbott is apparently now demanding a debate next week on asylum seekers. This is sheer grandstanding: if he didn’t know it last Thursday he’s certainly realised by now that Rudd only had a gap in his Prime Ministerial schedule because Us President Obama postponed his trip and thus the PM quite a few unexpected spare hours to play with, Abbott certainly knows it by now, and also knows that there simply aren’t any similar holes in the PM’s schedule next week.
Mind you, if Rudd did decide to take him on (not next week, but when his schedule allows) I don’t think Abbott is likely to do that much better in The Great Debate Round 2. Sure, the electorate doesn’t see the same personal benefit to themselves from taking in asylum seekers as they see from investment in education and health infrastructure, so they’re not going to be quite as approving from the off. I, however, have faith in Abbott’s inability to prevent himself from going pit bull during the debate, and only the Press Gallery will like it.