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The state of play

Although my friends from the left will denounce this as pure spin from Andrew Bolt I think that in fact this is a reasonable acessment of the state of play at this point in the election cycle .

Leader – John Howard vs Kevin Rudd. Even so far. Experience vs freshness. Worn and worried vs untried and inexperienced.

Treasurer – Peter Costello vs Wayne Swan. Clear advantage to the Liberals. Swan barely registers. Labor has no story to tell on the economy.

Health – Tony Abbott vs Nicola Roxon. Advantage to the Liberals. Abbott may be a bit bruised, at least personally, but remains very personable, savvy and media smart. Roxon is pleasant and competent, but still lacks weight and experience.

Environment – Malcolm Turnbull vs Peter Garrett. Clear advantage to the Liberals. Environment is an issue that runs Labor’s way, but the party is in trouble with its spokesman, who will frighten the uncommitted with his seeming zealotry, yet has ironically disappointed the pure with his compromises. And despite my earlier disparagement of Turnbull, his  recent media performances have improved out of sight, making him seem much more informed and reasonable than his opponent, who seems scared of what he might say in debate.

Industrial relations – Joe Hockey vs Julia Gillard. Even. This should be a winner for Labor, but Hockey is a good salesman for the Liberals. Gillard seems better informed, and better able to master a brief. But Hockey seems more reassuring and far less ideological. He seems the kind of bloke who will give you a hearing even if he disagrees with you. If Hockey gets better on top of the detail, he’ll shade Gillard, whose drawbacks are far more personal – and therefore harder to fix.

Education – Julie Bishop vs Stephen Smith. Small advantage to Liberals. Bishop often seems as plastic and programmed as a TV commercial, and can sound strident when she pushes beyond her comfort zone on the culture wars. But she’s on top of her portfolio and calming, and Smith, decent and informed though he is, just cannot get the TV cameras to film him in any color but grey.

Foreign Affairs – Alexander Downer vs someone or other.

– Brendan Nelson vs Brendan Nelson. Advantage to the fiercely well-informed Nelson, but the melodramatic Nelson could still destroy him. Labor’s Joel Fitzgibbon won’t have anything to do with the contest one way or the other.

Industry – Ian Macfarlane vs Kim Carr – Advantage to the Liberals. Yes, Macfarlane has bumbled around these past days under questioning on who told him what on nuclear power plants, but one look at Kim Carr, the Socialist Left firebrand, will be enough to make any voter think Macfarlane is the man to look after their job. True, this isn’t a key matchup, but, gee, the Liberals would like to make it seem so.

– Nick Minchin vs Lindsay Tanner. Even. Shy, nice guy meets self-deprecating, nice guy. Both can add up.(source)

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