Thursday, September 05, 2013

2013 Election Special Video - know whom you are voting for!

In this special episode of Global Warming Revisited the Galileo Movement takes a closer look at the Politicians and Scientists playing a role in the 2013 Australian Federal Election.

Tony Abbott, the all-rounder

As well as being a former Rhodes scholar with a degree in economics, he is super-fit and community-involved

HE already has a reputation as an action man but Tony Abbott's cycling routine has his police bodyguards struggling to keep up.
The Opposition Leader has barely been able to ride during the election campaign because the Federal Police assigned to him were unable to follow on two wheels.

Instead, Mr Abbott has substituted his gruelling regime on his bike, which is still being carted around the country with him, for running and gym workouts.

When he is in Canberra, Mr Abbott cycles up and down a hill near Parliament House four to six times around dawn and follows his morning routine with about 40 minutes in the gym after Question Time.

The workouts keep him fit for the annual MP's ride, the Pollie pedal, which has raised $2.5 million for charity and this year began in Adelaide and finished in Geelong.

Mr Abbott declared yesterday he would keep up his workout schedule and his commitments as a volunteer firefighter, declaring if ordinary Australians could donate their time for their community, a potential Prime Minister could.

He said volunteering and the Pollie Pedal "keeps you grounded and keeps you in touch with the people of your community in a way that driving from event to event in a government car just can't replicate."

"Regardless of the outcome on Saturday, I will still be a firefighter, I will still be a surf lifesaver, I will still do my annual Pollie Pedal and I will still spend time in remote Indigenous communities every year because I want to keep these important community connections," Mr Abbott said.

"Sure, if the Coalition is elected, my volunteer time will become a little more limited but I will still ensure I'm fulfilling my duties.

"If hard working mums and dads find time to volunteer as lifesavers, fire fighters and for charities then surely a potential prime minister can find the time too."

The Federal Police declined to comment on security arrangements for Mr Abbott or why the officers on his detail were unable to accompany the Opposition Leader on bike rides.

On the few occasions he has been able to ride during the campaign a back up car has followed.

"We don't comment on protection matters involving the Prime Minister or the Tony Abbott," an AFP spokesman said.

It is not the first time police have been unable to accompany Mr Abbott on his rides.

In Nauru two years ago two local officers failed to keep up with Mr Abbott's pace on the island nation's 17km ring road and held onto a follow-up car to be towed along.

The Federal Police said Opposition Leaders were provided close personal protection during election campaigns.


Tony Abbott turns climate sword back on Kevin Rudd

IN the last week of the campaign, Tony Abbott has deliberately returned to where he began five weeks ago - the carbon tax.

It is also where he started his first destruction of Kevin Rudd and where he achieved his final defeat of Julia Gillard.

And Labor is doing everything it can to assist the Opposition Leader make it dominate the final campaign days and sear into the national psyche that the election is a referendum on the carbon tax, which guarantees his mandate to repeal it in government.

What's more, Labor is shaping, in Abbott's words, to "commit political suicide twice" by pledging to use the Labor-Greens control of the Senate to keep the carbon tax and force voters back to the polls next year for a double-dissolution election on the tax.

After using a five-year campaign against "a great big new tax" to weaken two prime ministers and bring himself to the cusp of prime ministership, Abbott isn't missing the final opportunity to stick with his most successful strategy and present Labor in opposition with an insoluble dilemma.

Abbott's last pitch on the carbon tax is that it costs jobs, has cost Labor support and probably cost it government. For Labor in opposition, the carbon tax threatens to split its support and further antagonise workers who felt betrayed by Gillard's deal with the Greens and remain concerned for their jobs and living costs.

Yesterday Abbott was again telling blue-collar workers in a Labor stronghold not that he expected them "to break the habits of a lifetime and suddenly love the Coalition" but that repealing the tax was "one thing we will do which is real, which is concrete, which is easy to understand and which is going to make it easier for the manufacturing workers of our country". "A Labor Party which persists in support of the carbon tax is just setting itself up to lose not one election but two," he said.

"If we win the election which is a referendum on the carbon tax, the last thing that the Labor Party will do is set itself up to lose a second election by continuing to support a tax which has become electoral poison."

While refusing to entertain "hypothetical" questions about Labor's attitude in opposition to the carbon tax Rudd made it clear he thought Labor was on the "right side of history" and would remain so into the future.

Deputy Labor leader and potential opposition leader Anthony Albanese was even blunter about not changing, and Environment Minister Mark Butler entrenched Labor's refusal to repeal the carbon tax.

Rudd's claims he "terminated the tax" by bringing forward the move to a market system a year earlier are long gone as Labor digs in behind the carbon tax in government - and in opposition.


Zeitgeist shifts again, but this time nation turns to the right

The lithe figure of a runner approached along the banks of the Yarra, silhouetted against the rising sun. But this time, perhaps the third such morning, I was ready with a fellow jogger's wave for the uber-fit Julie Bishop.

It was November 2007, and given that we were in the latter stages of an election campaign, where leaders, and the travelling media pack, frenetically lace the continent in the hunt for votes, it was unusual that there was time for the establishment of any such pattern.

Yet here we were in Melbourne, again. John Howard was going down. He knew it and his Melbourne-based campaign brains trust knew it too. It was evident in their own research, from the published polls, and simply, from the atmosphere - the Zeitgeist if you will. Voters were calling time on the nearly 12-year-old government, and by extension, they had warmed to the idea of Kevin. Rudd had successfully given them permission to switch, convincing them of his ''fundamental'' economic and social conservatism.

Scroll forward six tumultuous years and that feeling is there again. This time, however, they have warmed to the idea of Tony, and that, in essence, is the story of the 2013 poll. When this election campaign started, nearly five weeks ago, a narrowly trailing Rudd wanted as many election debates as he could get and Abbott wanted as few as he could get away with.

They were both wrong. Abbott's team angled to minimise the risk. Rudd's team figured, on past performance, that he would easily defeat the aggressive Abbott in head-to-head encounters. Rudd's working assumption was that the more voters saw of the unpopular Abbott, the more they'd shy away.

In fact, the opposite has occurred through the course of this campaign. By the third debate, the two leaders had more or less switched roles and it was Abbott who appeared calm and reasonable defending foreign investment, and imparting a general sense of assuredness.

In short, the more voters have seen of Abbott during the hyper-exposure of the campaign, the more their historical objections have softened. Voters, it appears, have got used to the notion of Tony Abbott occupying the Lodge.

It was said of Howard's win in 1996 that the times eventually came to suit him - that in a sense, he was the rock, and voters moved to him. The parallel with Abbott is apparent. But politics is a binary business and Abbott's rise is corollary of Rudd's disastrous campaign. Indeed, history is likely to be very hard on Rudd given that his relentless siege of the Gillard leadership carried with it the singular responsibility to do better than she would have. Late into the final week of his frequently shambolic campaign and that is by no means clear. Labor's polling is as bad as it was under Gillard earlier this year. And the Gillard camp has given Rudd the clear air so obviously denied to her.

Rudd mark II's rapid fire ''solutions'' regarding faction reform, scrapping the fixed carbon price, and the asylum seeker deal with PNG, implied he had been thinking long and hard about a re-election strategy.

Yet it has failed to materialise beyond his fourth big announcement: calling the election itself. It turns out, he had a plan to beat Gillard, and not much beyond it.

On Wednesday morning, reporters on the Rudd campaign again found themselves in Melbourne, and again found themselves in the middle of a disorganised Labor campaign.

Warehoused for hours as Rudd (somewhere else) made unheralded appearances on TV and radio, there was an unmistakable sense in the travelling media pack that the time spent in Melbourne is more about sandbagging Labor seats rather than winning Coalition ones.


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