Australian federal election campaign, 2010

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The five-week Australian federal election campaign, 2010 formally commenced when Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced on Saturday 17 July 2010 that the 2010 Australian federal election would be held on Saturday 21 August 2010.[1].


Key campaign issues defined and opening statements from party leaders

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition leader Tony Abbott both stated that the economy, border protection and climate change are key issues issues for the campaign.[1]

"Moving forward" was a theme of Julia Gillard's address in announcing the election.[2] "Under my leadership, we will move forward, we'll move forward together with a sustainable Australia; a stronger economy; Budgets in surplus and world-class health and education services and other essential services that hard-working Australians and their families rely on," she said.

Tony Abbott accused the Labor government or "spin" and "incompetence" at his election campaign launch in Brisbane. "Moving forward is utterly content-free," Mr Abbott said. "The reason why she is desperate to talk about the future is because Julia Gillard's recent past is so littered with failures, including the political corpse of an elected prime minister."[3]

Australian Greens Leader Senator Bob Brown criticised both Labor and the Coalition for being light on policy and heavy on vilification in their early election press conferences. Senator Brown said both parties had "fallen at the first hurdle" by ignoring the issue of a carbon price. Brown claimed, "Julia Gillard has put it off to the never-never and Tony Abbott has said no, not ever. That's a failure." [4] Tony Abbott subsequently ruled out a price on carbon in Australia if the Coalition wins Government and stated that he opposes a carbon tax and an emissions trading scheme.[5]

Both Labor and the Coalition have promised to offset any new spending commitments announced during the election campaign with budget cutbacks.[6]

Early polls put Labor ahead

The first opinion poll of the 2010 election campaign, the Galaxy poll published in News Limited papers on 18 July 2010, showed Labor leading the Coalition after preferences by 52 to 48. The Liberal primary vote was at 42 per cent, with Labor is below that on 39 per cent and the Greens on 13 per cent. It is the Greens preferences that give Labor its lead over the Coalition. Julia Gillard had a 23 point lead over Tony Abbott as preferred prime minister.[7]

Labor Greens preference deal

The Greens struck a preferences deal with Labor. Labor will direct its Senate preferences to the Greens, while the Greens will direct preferences to the ALP in more than 50 key/marginal Lower House seats.[8][9] Six marginal seats have been excluded from the deal: Blair, Dawson, Gilmore, Herbert, Lindsay and Sturt. [10]

Julia Gillard and Bob Brown both stated they were not directly involved in the deal. Bob Brown also stated that people had the right to vote as they wished, and described preference arrangements as a "necessary evil".[11]

Senator Fiona Nash from the National Party criticised the preference deal, stating that "the Greens will be running the country if the party wins the balance of power in the Senate".[12]

Workplace relations

Julia Gillard criticised Tony Abbott's statement that the Coalition would not change Labor's Fair Work legislation in its first term if it was elected to government, and dismissed his pledge that a Coalition government would not reintroduce the WorkChoices industrial relations system[13]

Tony Abbott was then criticised for softening his commitment to not change Labor's Fair Work Act legislation after he stated on talkback radio that "I can't give an absolute guarantee about every single aspect of workplace relations."[14] Later that day Abbott reiterated that Workchoices was "dead, buried and cremated".[15]

On Day 5 - 21 July 2010, Labor says the Coalition's pledge to save $25 million would break their promise never to change the Fair Work Act. Labor claims by forcing unions to reimburse the Australian Electoral Commission for the cost of union ballots would involve a change to the Act. Constitutional law expert Dr Andrew Lynch of the University of New South Wales's says, "That's not technically a change to the Fair Work Act" as Labor claims, although he goes on to say, "... but it does bring about an alteration."[16][17]

Campaigning suspended for a digger's funeral

Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott agreed to suspend election campaign hostilities on Thursday July 22 2010 for the funeral of digger Nathan Bewes who was killed in Afganistan.[18]

The Opposition dumps a candidate

On July 25, David Barker, the Liberal candidate for the western Sydney seat of Chifley, was dumped for accusing Labor of trying to make Australia a more Muslim country. He told the ABC "I don't know if we want at this stage in Australian politics a Muslim in the Parliament and an atheist running the Government".[19] While Mr Barker describes himself as "a man of strong Christian faith", his Labor opponent Ed Husic describes himself as a non-practising Muslim. Mr Barker was replaced as the Liberal candidate by Venus Priest, a 41-year-old small businesswoman.

Leader's debate fails to impress many

Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott participated in a leader's debate on television on 25 July 2010. The debate was criticised for being too rehearsed and devoid of real content and spontaneous moments. No clear winner emerged. Some observers gave the verdict to Gillard, while others claimed that Abbott won. [20]

Voters were able to get a good comparison of the antagonists' styles but few new policy details emerged. Gillard was strong on industrial relations while Abbott was cogent in his analysis of the government's troubles with immigration. Immigration, including border security, played a large a part in the debate. Greens senator Bob Brown, who was excluded from the debate, pointed out in a tweet that more was said about boats during the 60 minutes than about schools, hospitals, the environment or transport.[21]

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 Battlelines drawn for August 21 poll, ABC, Jul 17, 2010
  2. How the leaders' first day of campaigning unfolded, James Campbell, Sunday Herald Sun, July 18, 2010
  3. Tony Abbott whistles winds of change, Simon Kearney, The Sunday Telegraph, July 18, 2010
  4. Labor, Coalition light on policy, says Greens Leader Bob Brown, James Massola, The Australian, July 17, 2010
  5. Abbott says no to carbon price, ABC, Jul 18, 2010
  6. Labor, Coalition look to no-frills campaign, Susan McDonald, ABC, Jul 19, 2010
  7. Poll puts Labor ahead as campaign begins, ABC, July 18, 2010
  8. Labor, Greens seal preferences deal, ABC - Emma Rodgers, 19 July 2010
  9. Gillard denies behind-the-scenes deal with Greens, ABC, 20 July 2010
  10. South Australian Greens opt out of national Labor preference deal - Mark Kenny, The Advertiser, 20 July 2010
  11. Labor, Greens do a deal on preferences, Carol Nader, The Age, July 20, 2010
  12. Nationals say Greens will 'run the country', ABC, Jul 19, 2010
  13. Gillard dismisses Abbott's WorkChoices pledge, Mark Davis, Sydney Morning Herald, July 17, 2010
  14. Abbott stumbles on IR changes, ABC, July 19, 2010
  15. Abbott repeats WorkChoices mantra, ABC, July 19, 2010
  16. Law expert backs Abbott in IR tussle, Emma Rodgers, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), June 27, 2010
  17. 'Hockey grilled on IR stance' (Transcript) Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) - - "Kerry O'Brien quizzed Joe Hockey on the Opposition's IR stance during a tense exchange on last night's 7.30 Report." (22 July 2010)
  18. Campaign suspended for funeral, The Age,July 22, 2010
  19. Sacked Liberal stands by Muslim comments, ABC - Jean Kennedy, 25 July 2010
  20. No clear winner in uneventful debate, Michelle Grattan, The Age, July 26, 2010
  21. Contest of style not substance, The Age (editorial), July 26, 2010

Attribution: This page includes content from Australian federal election campaign, 2010, which is licensed under CC-BY-SA.
The original content was downloaded from the Wikipedia: 26 July 2010.

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