Australian election: The battle of the zeros

The campaign is half over and two and a half weeks remain.

Maybe it is very exciting to those close the campaign. But to an observer on the other side of the world, it has all been rather dull and disappointing so far.  Gillard versus Abbott would surely have generated more heat and energised the voters a little more. Kevin Rudd’s ubiquitous  smiling – after his “treachery” in deposing Gillard – now seems more sinister than avuncular. If Kevin Rudd smiles at you – it is time to watch your back! Rudd had a little honeymoon in the polls but seems to have lost all his initial gains and is now at about the same level as Gillard was. If the present poll numbers hold till the election, the Coalition will win by 10 – 20 seats.

Rudd and Abbott have had two TV debates so far. The first was apparently a tie but Rudd is said to have won the second one on points. But the campaign – at least from this distance – has been lacking in any real energy. No major scandals revealed. No scintillating wit. No “cut and thrust” of great repartee. No fire. No brimstone.

Even after yesterday’s debate – which was a little difficult to watch in its entirety – only two real issues – of substance – came up.

1. Kevin Rudd was very unpleasant to the lady doing his make-up before the debate,

Bridal make-up artist and hair stylist Lily Fontana worked on both Mr Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott ahead of the televised debate at the Broncos Leagues Club on Wednesday.

Caused a stir: Lily Fontana put this post on Facebook.
Caused a stir: Lily Fontana put this post on Facebook. Photo: Screen grab via SMH

Ms Fontana took to Facebook afterwards to compare her interactions with the two leaders.

2. Tony Abbott told Rudd to “shut up”  though there is some talk that this was not a mistake by Abbott but was actually deliberate strategy. Such deviousness would have been consistent with Rudd’s methods but – I think – is beyond Abbott. Video of Abbott’s shut up moment is here.

Of course the Liberals are trying to make capital out of Rudd’s rudeness  to the make-up lady and Labour are trying to make capital of Abbott’s rudeness to Rudd.

(And why is it that Socialist leaders are always rudest to others of the “working classes”?)

Simple arithmetic tells us that there should be no difference between a few empty words and many empty words.

(zero substance x few words) = 0 = (zero substance x many words) 

But watching last night’s debate (or at least some parts of it), I realised that there was a significant difference.  Even with zero substance there can be a substantial difference in the level of irritation engendered in the audience. Many empty words produce a great “ZERO” while a few empty words only give us a little “zero”.

And in the battle of the ZEROs Kevin Rudd won hands down. Rudd spoke 5320 “empty” words while Abbott could only manage 3910 “empty” words and Rudd can therefore be declared the bigger zero (so far)!

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One Response to “Australian election: The battle of the zeros”

  1. O Fontana! Is Rudd losing his election on rudeness? | The k2p blog Says:

    […] Lily Fontana’s short-lived outburst on Facebook about Kevin Rudd’s relative rudeness before last weeks TV debate has brought all his many previous episodes of rudeness back to the forefront. Strangely Abbott’s “shut up” about Rudd is seen as being somewhat justified. His “suppository” instead of “repository” generated a few smutty jokes but does not seem to have caused much negative impact. Perhaps because expectations of Abott are sufficiently low. Perceptions relative to expectations give reality. Another make-up artist, Abigail Johnston, also described a similar episode with Rudd. She too took down (or was forced to take down) her Facebook post. […]

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