Like a lot of political tragics I watched the debate last night and in many ways it was a reiteration of the recent debate here in Brisbane. Like the Brisbane debate Rudd talked more but as usual he actually said less than Tony Abbott and there is little doubt to me that he is already a beaten man, a man who is now just going through the motions to get to the September 7 election as quickly as possible so that he can finally leave his life in politics behind him. Sadly for Labor I suspect that there are an awful lot of voters who are dead keen on helping him do just that.
I’ll give Rudd points for an improvement in his delivery at last night’s debate but as Abbott has also improved on his own performance Rudd still came out the loser at the debate with stunts like his attempt to welcome Abbott into the ALP with an ostentatious handshake falling very flat when Abbott refused to take his hand,
More than anything though what killed Rudd on the night was his refusal to show any generosity to Abbott and concede that his rhetorical points were rubbish . His eternally repeated “seventy Billion dollars” is the perfect example. This figure has repeatedly been denied and denounced as false by Abbott and yet Rudd keeps trotting it out as if it is holy writ, Likewise the claims about the PPL scheme are overblown and over sold. While the generosity of the scheme can be subject to criticism for Rudd to give the impression that every woman who will benefit form it will be getting 75K is just utter nonsense.
By way of contrast what we got from Abbott was a consistent and credible show of humility and a desire to serve the people with real engagement with the questions and the voters who asked them. Certainly he trotted out his rehearsed responses but even then his delivery was far more persuasive than Rudd and in this sort of debate its all about positive engagement, Abbott engaged while Rudd performed his routine which is why in the end it was Abbott who won the debate,
- An utterly predictable debate (smh.com.au)