[First filed: October 20, 2008 @ 08:42]
Both major parties are trying to tell you that Satruday’s election was a ringing endorsement of them. They are both extremely fortunate that there isn’t another election next Saturday if they want to keep up this line. The latest figures from the ABC show a -9.3% swing against Labor and, in that context amazingly, a -3.7% swing against the Liberals.
So even running against a Government massively on the nose with the electorate the Liberals went backwards.
With the wisdom of hindsight I’m going to make some suggestions:
- — This is a listing of all the campaign commercials the Liberals put out during the election, I count 28 of them.
— This is a listing of Liberal policies. Most of which appeared without an accompanying media release in the dying days of the campaign. They do outnumber the ads, but only just. And some of them are very narrow documents (West Belconnen Health Centre for one).
— By way of comparison here are the ACT Labor campaign media releases. Rather more of them no?
When I came back to Canberra, after a year away, in July I was astonished to see so little public comment coming out a Liberal party supposedly running hard to take Government. A daily camera fronting in the Assembly courtyard is not the same thing as making substantive arguments.
A campaign based solely around commercial electronic media buys is an advertising campaign, not an election campaign. It might have worked in an outer Sydney suburb in the 1960s. But this is Canberra, and this is 2008.
It was an empty campaign of glib sound bites and desperate efforts to avoid hard questions. To finish it off with mobile and landline spamming showed a total lack of understanding of this electorate and our compulsory voting system.
Brendan Smyth as leader did better four years ago in the face of a rising Labor vote. The Liberals have lost a seat from the last election.
Liberals thrive in Canberra when they are socially progressive. Younger, more hardline, social conservatives are just lipstick on pigs.
Losing Bill Stefaniak in Ginninderra might have hurt the party, but that too was a failure of leadership.
To hear either major party taking comfort from this election turns the stomach. A long stay in the room of mirrors is seriously called for.
[On a brighter note we’re rather pleased to see that Matt Watts with an advertising campaign consisting of sitting at the end of the Pot Belly’s bar and advertising with RiotACT (at very reasonable rates) pulled .2 of a quota compared to Gary Kent’s massive TV campaign for the same result.]