January 21, 2004

Bet your shirt on recycling

Today’s Courier Mail featured a photo of Lawrence Springborg ironing a shirt wearing nothing apart from a towel.

The Opposition appears to be trying to put the message across that the National Party Leader is younger and more virile than Peter Beattie. Just about every day we have been subjected to staged photos of both of them out for their morning constitutionals, with Springborg consistently wearing less clothing than the Premier, but never before less than running shorts and singlet.

Our focus groups don’t show Beattie’s age or vigour as being campaign issues and I am at a loss to explain why the Opposition campaign is so fixated on aerobic exertion.

Perhaps it is a case of imitation being the sincerest form of flattery. Prime Minister Howard likes the early morning power walk and used it to good advantage against Kim Beazley. Bill Clinton and dog Buddy frequently featured with security guards, the whole entourage jogging around the block while trying to ignore the MacDonalds across the road. Earlier exponents of the jog include S.A. Premier John Bannon, and of course Queensland’s own Wayne Goss.

Whether they keep running with the athletic shot or not, the Coalition is robbing their other messages of airtime. This afternoon ABC Talkback is asking viewers whether Springborg should have taken his shirt off. Should he suddenly drop the jock shots, they’ll presumably notice and talk about that.

There is nothing wrong with recycling other people’s campaign techniques, as long as it is appropriate in your context.

Talking of recycling, the Coalition is campaigning under the slogan “Restoring the Balance”. They may have to pay the ABC royalties for this one as it is the title of a programme on JJJ which takes the mickey out of John Howard and the Liberal Party. It is presented by “Stirling Addison” who at University was the “[w]inner of the CJ Asquith prize for inter-collegiate oration representing St Andrews College, for speech "Melanie Howard- a life of virtue".” And "Tom Thomlinson", who “[e]njoys simple rural pursuits such as herding cattle in brand new Boeing MD-71 Notar helicopter.” Of course, the Coalition knew about the radio programme…didn’t they???

Posted by Graham at January 21, 2004 03:54 PM

It's possible Ross. Just posted another piece today (http://nationalforum.com.au/the_domain/archives/currumbin2cook/000143.html) commenting on the Coalition launch.

Borbidge started the campaign with a much lower personality rating, and it rose during the campaign without much positive advertising that I recall at all. Electors responded to him because he was running on the issues that mattered to them.

I wonder financially how much the Coalition has in reserve. They may have got their candidate a reasonable approval rating but without changing any votes, and then lack the werewithal to push their argument home in the last two weeks.

Posted by: Graham Young at January 26, 2004 04:06 PM

The newspoll makes for interesting reading. Springborg seems to be doing ok outside of Brisbane and his satisfaction rating is higher than either Borbidge (44%) or Beattie (43) when they became Premier. We will all look like monkeys if the punters decide to desert the Beattie bandwagon in the last week. Whilst I was sceptical at first about all thispositive politics I suppose the people had to get to know him first before you start throwing to many rocks. We need to remember that Borbidge, Beattie and even Goss were well known by the public prior to the campaign whereas Springborg wasn't. Perhaps they have just been clever and used the first week and a half to get people to know and like him before trying to give them excuses to leave the good ship Pete.

Although looking at the poll today in the Gold Coast Bully it might be a massacre but I prefer Newspoll for accuracy. God knows how the bully did their polling.

Posted by: Ross Musgrove at January 23, 2004 02:42 PM
Graham Young
John Black
Mark Bahnisch
Michael Lee