Australia's dull debate

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd talks with conservative opposition leader Tony Abbott before the debate on 11 August 2013 Did fear of a slip-up constrain both Mr Rudd (L) and Mr Abbott (R)

So what did you think of that? Worth tuning in for? The prevailing view in the Australian media is that last night's television election debate between Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott was dull.

The reviews range from "The political equivalent of a hospital meal" to "A night of waffle". There were few talking points with a rigid debate format that produced little actual interaction between the two candidates. Both men looked a little stiff and nervous, perhaps more concerned with not making a slip-up rather than trying to shine.

A row has broken out over the point at which Kevin Rudd was using notes, which is against the rules. The fact that Tony Abbott has not made much of a fuss about it suggests he may have been too.

But as Lyndal Curtis, an ABC News political correspondent who was on the panel of journalists asking questions put it, if that's the biggest talking point out of an hour-long debate, it doesn't say much about the rest of the discussion. Neither candidate dealt a knock-out blow, but by not losing Tony Abbott was probably the winner.

The opposition leader is ahead in the polls. This is his race to lose. The prime minister is the one who needs to make up ground. There's little evidence he did that last night.

Gluttons for punishment and insomniacs can watch the whole thing all over again here.

Jon Donnison Article written by Jon Donnison Jon Donnison Sydney correspondent

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  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    Sadly, Murdoch controls 70% of Australian media which gives a very, very biased view of politics in this country. The rhetoric spewing forth is incredible and vindictive. I grew up believing that the media reported facts, rather than editorialise from the front page to the back page. It's a sad indictment on the quality of journalism and the journalists involved.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    @16. "democracy doesnt really work"

    Trolls and haters are not practising democracy - they know all about speech, but nothing about listening. If you toss out democracy because some don't operate according to its principles, you're just opening the door to dictators like Hitler and Stalin. Put another way: Just because there are thieves, doesn't mean nobody should be able to own anything.

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    Australians are known and admired for their frank and honest appraisals, sadly, these cultural traits weren't evident in this debate! What was evident is how politically correct language retards clarity and free expression!


  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    Benson Button - Perhaps you should post elsewhere, I suggest Brisbane's "The Courier Mail". I reckon you would fit nicely there.
    London is modern, busy, exciting, beautiful and yes, a dump in places. However, there are many dumps in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth and Hobart as well.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    @11 Do you resent intelligent thought and discussion so much you have to resort to name calling to feel important about yourself and to put another viewpoint down labelling people as lefty, the pc brigade or whatever else when you cant challenge a rational point. It is sad to say the least that this is how political debate degenerates to and the reason why Australian politics is disappointing.


Comments 5 of 32



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