Week one, over and done.
We’re one week into the election campaign (using the opening of the first campaign office as our point of reference) and things are trotting along at a reasonable pace.
The first event of the week, and for the campaign proper, was the opening of the Hume Liberal campaign office for Goulburn – an office with a strong political pedigree, not to mention a curious and no-doubt unintentional time-share facility, having previously housed Pru Goward’s state Liberal campaign and Robin Saville’s federal Labor campaign.
So it’s the Lib’s turn with the office and they opened it to a welcoming crowd of fifty-plus party faithful, including councillors Kettle and Rowland, family and friends, local stalwarts AND high profile shadow minister Scott Morrison, Member for Cook and shadow minister for Productivity, Population, Immigration and Citizenship.
SEGUE NUMBER 1: It appears my wild and unsupported claim that this may have been the earliest campaign office opening in the history of the world may have been slightly off the mark. Angus Taylor mentioned this, as did Scott Morrison. It WAS however confirmed that it is the earliest opening of a campaign office in Hume, and so I was at least partially correct and offer a partial apology. But I digress…
Back to the opening. Angus Taylor spoke about his reasons for opening an office so early, why in Goulburn, and why have an office at all (see videos above in Multimedia carousel). He spoke easily and comfortably and seems already at ease in the roll of candidate for Hume. Something that also seemed clear is that he and his wife Louise are taking this on as very much a team, following the tradition set by Alby Schultz and his wife Gloria.
Scott also spoke well, cracking with the funnies - what took them so long to open an office, and some well received Bill Heffernan jokes (Morrison flats with Heffernan when in Canberra). He is one of the Lib’s heavy hitters on radio and TV and is a seriously strong performer when working the room and connecting with people.
His two main points, which he returned to several times, were the Party’s belief in the strength and quality of Angus as a candidate, and the obligatory summation of what the Party is all about.
SEGUE NUMBER 2: We’re going to hear each Party’s message many times over in speeches and press releases throughout the campaign (if that’s what this is) so I won’t dwell on the point. Suffice to say that throughout any election, alongside specific policy announcements, the Coalition will say they are about smaller government, less interference in our life, living within our means, ensuring the nation isn’t in debt etc, and the Labor Party will say they are about vision, investment in our future, social reform and ensuring all Australians have access to quality health, education etc. It’s a little like one being called the Breathing Party, the other being called the Eating Party… each thinking that they are all that’s needed in life. If you like that dumbing down of political ideology, just wait till you hear what I do to Keynesian versus monetarist economics. But I digress…
The office opening was followed by a BBQ in Belmore Park and went without a hitch and the press release for it appears below.
There was another event the night before the office opening, but I’m feeling magnanimous so I’ll include it in this week’s entry. Angus and Louise Taylor met with members of the Goulburn Young Liberals at the Ban Thai restaurant (press release listed below, photo in above carousel). To my knowledge, there were no mentions of chaff bags, no-one spoke ill of the dead and Alan Jones didn’t attend and a pleasant and enjoyable time was had by all.
The week finished up with a police parade in Goulburn, recognising 150 years of the NSW Police Force and the chance to re-present the Force with the key to the city. Angus attended alongside state MPs Pru Goward and Katrina Hodgkinson, subbing in for Alby Schultz.
Does that seem right, gentle readers? It seemed a bit on the nose to me to be honest.
Alby, of course has every right not to attend functions. He may be ill or have previous commitments, and in any event, certainly doesn’t have to explain himself to me. But in allowing Angus to attend in his stead, it gives an uneven advantage to a candidate that already has the advantages of huge support from high places and a seat that in recent times would seem as safe as houses.
It also elevates him to a role alongside others who have actually been elected and feels a bit like giving a gold medal to Usain Bolt AHEAD of the race because he seems certain to win (that metaphor copyright of Tom Sebo). It will be interesting to see how many more events he gets asked to deputise at.
But that to one side (watch for this next segue), it’s been a ONE -SIDED race so far (see what I did there) with Angus Taylor the only candidate from the major parties. BUT, as Yoda once reminded Obi Wan, there is another.
As mentioned some time ago, back before the opening of Hume’s first campaign office (but after Angus Taylor’s pre-selection) Adrian Van der Byl announced he would be taking up the reins for the Christian Democratic Party.
Adrian, a mild mannered mountain of a man with a voice deep enough to make Darth Vader sit up and listen (yep, two Star Wars references today, because I’m feeling generous and it’s late Friday as I write this and HEY I DON’T NEED A REASON OK!), was the CDP candidate for Goulburn in the last state election, making it a field of two confirmed candidates thus far.
Obviously, with no announcements on the confirmed Labor candidate for Hume, this campaign Diary is going to seem a bit unbalanced in coverage but by the same token there’s no reason to penalise the candidates who have started their campaigns by holding back coverage until the others catch up.
So catch up guys. And girls. Contest this election like it’s the most important there’s ever been. If the next election of a hung parliament and a minority government isn’t something to get you keen to join the fray, what will be?
That’s this week's campaign Diary.... our companion piece, the Hume Chronicles, contains links to all related stories from around the relevant Fairfax Regional all sorts of other stuff from across cyberspace.
Feel free to add your comments below or send your love letters and hate mail to firstname.lastname@example.org . That’s also the place for press releases from candidates and their campaign staff. Cheerio.
THIS WEEK'S PRESS RELEASES