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5The Independent Weekly
August 20 - 26, 2010
On Tuesday, Labor Premier Mike
Rann claimed that Johnston s
comments meant the Liberals would
scrap the project, and that an Abbott
Government would buy a dozen
foreign-built subs off the shelf.
"Abbott puts $30 billion
submarines on the chopping block,"
headlined Rann s media release.
"The Abbott Liberals want to cripple
South Australia s defence industry,"
he continued. He then implicated
local Liberal Leader Isobel Redmond,
claimed Johnston s announcement
had been "under the radar," and then
said that Abbott would torpedo the
Mr Abbott immediately denied
the claim. "David Johnston was
criticising the Government for not
putting any money on the table," he
said. "Premier Rann is trying to twist
this into something quite different."
The truth is that even under
Labor, as the party conceded on
Wednesday, there s no guarantee that
the submarines will be all-Australian
On the second last day of the
campaign, Ms Gillard addressed the
national press club.
"Today gives the good members
of the travelling press gallery a hot
press club meal -- you can enjoy some
relief from the bus, some relief
from the plane, some relief from the
Minties and snakes, the coffee, the
Diet Coke, the takeaway food, but no
relief from me and no relief from
each other either," she said.
"I thank you for your goodwill and
good humour during the campaign
thus far and for allowing me to both
give my own press conferences and
occasionally wander through yours
"Election day is almost upon us.
It s always a great celebration of
our democracy and our right to
vote. With only two days to go it s
abundantly clear that the election is a
cliffhanger -- an absolute cliffhanger.
"In three days time Australia could
wake up with Mr Abbott as the Prime
Minister of Australia. It is a very,
very real possibility and so a very,
very real risk for Australian families.
"That s why I m fighting right up
until the closing of the polls in as
many communities as I can get to."
Mr Abbott used the closing days
of the campaign to spruik the
Coalition s "border protection"
"There has been yet another boat,"
he said on the hustings in Brisbane
yesterday. "There have been seven
boats in the course of this campaign.
In the course of this campaign more
people have arrived illegally by
boat than arrived in the five years
between 2002 and 2007 under the
Today s boat arrival brings to 86
the number of illegal boats this year.
That equals the number of illegal
boats in 1999 which is the previous
record year and it s only just August,
so obviously, the Rudd-Gillard
Government has achieved an ugly
and unfortunate record."
Mr Abbott s use of his precious
air-time to speak about asylum
seekers means the Coalition s private
polling shows it can exploit the fear
some voters have on the issue, even
though it actually has just a minor
impact on the number of people who
stay in Australia illegally.
The Liberal Party is working hard
in Queensland, home to Kevin Rudd,
because it believes -- and the polls
show -- that Labor could lose a swag
of seats in the Sunshine State.
The other state of worry to ALP
strategists is NSW, and particularly
electorates in western Sydney. On
current indications Liberal will win
back former PM John Howard s seat
of Bennelong, now held by Maxine
The other uncertainty is WA,
where Labor might also lose seats.
But polls have a frightening
characteristic. Months out from an
election, no one really knows how
accurate they are because they can t
be tested with a definitive result.
The closer and closer an election
comes, the more reliable the polls
However, polls exhibit a tendency
which mimics a spacecraft returning
from the moon. The craft sends and
receives strong and clear signals
from millions of kilometres distant.
Then, on its final approach, there s
the magic three minutes of radio
silence as it re-enters the earth s
atmosphere. All communication is
completely cut off.
Australia goes to the polls
tomorrow, and anything can still
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