Sunday, July 25, 2010

Australia's general election: the Leader debate

I happened to see a few glimpses of the leadership debate between Prime Minister Julia Gillard and contender Tony Abbott.

I didn't hear what they said, which was a boon on two counts: first, I already knew their message in general terms, and the repetition can be wearying.  Second, it gave me an opportunity to look at their visual presentation.

They both waggled their heads.

Yet Gillard did it in a reassuring way, while Abbott's head waggling seemed rather agitated.  I would expect this debate would only influence those who had not made up their minds.  I'm further guessing that those people might not make a lot of sense of the difference between their policies on the basis of what they said.  And on what I saw, those swinging voters would have responded better to Gillard.

Later this evening, I heard a few snippets from the debate on the radio.  Again, going by just the tone of voice, Gillard sounded more measured, while Abbott was more strident - not in a positive way.

I'm not convinced the debate will have a great influence on the outcome of the election.  But if it did - at the margins - it wouldn't bode well for Abbott.

(However, with any luck, the margins are affected by more weighty aspect of the choice between the two parties.  That's a hard one, though.)


bazza said...

In the famous TV debate between presidential candidates John Kennedy and Richard Nixon in, I think, 1960, there was a big difference in the responses from TV viewers (with the sound on!) and radio listeners. The viewers strongly favoured Kennedy and listeners preferred Nixon.
That was the first proper TV debate of it's kind and TV took over since then.
Our recent UK election featured a series of live TV debates between the three party leaders for the first time. I might be cynical but I think, in the USA, the owner of best haircut wins!

S Simmonds said...

Well. Then you get into rather a debate between Jimmy Carter's haircut and Ronald Reagan's.

Sir Tom Eagerly said...

Well Stephen, I believe tonsorial elegance is much underated in today's world. Who was the last bald president. Eisenhower?
I myself have flowing golden/grey locks about three haircuts overdue.
Quite a dandy in my day, you know.
At least, Lady Eagerly thought as much!