Good night, see you tomorrow
Well folks, that was your first election debate.
Thanks so much for joining me this evening on Politics Live. I've enjoyed your company.
Thanks too to the wonderful Mike Bowers, who took us so vividly into the room at the NPC tonight; and to Paul Owen, who provided valuable help in the middle of the deluge.
We don't need a huge summary, because we know what we gathered for this evening: the first televised debate of the 2013 campaign.
Let's wrap tonight:
- The first leader's debate of campaign 2013 covered the economy, taxation, climate change, boat arrivals and same sex marriage.
- Tony Abbott began looking more confident than the Labor leader.
- Rudd got into stride after the first segment.
- The only real news point was a promise by Kevin Rudd to introduce a bill within his first 100 days to legalise same sex marriage.
- I called the encounter a draw. The network "worms" were mixed. Some declared Rudd the victor, others Abbott.
- I really disliked the format. I see from readers comments that I am not alone.
- The Liberals are very unhappy that Rudd used notes in the debate in contravention of the rules. I suspect we will hear more of this over the next 24 hours or so.
If so inclined, you can review the opening statements on this video.
Enjoy the rest of your evening. See you all tomorrow.
Been a theme, this, tonight.
You all need to calm down and watch Masterchef. Or .. what's on?
Well pleased with the night's labours.
Peace, love and harmony.
There are some objections this evening to Kevin Rudd reading from notes in the debate.
Candidates were not supposed to read from notes.
The Liberal Party's pollster Mark Textor can see a hashtag in prospect.
Mike Bowers's terrific picture of the opening handshake between Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott in tonight's debate is doing a roaring trade on social media I see.
A number of folks are having a small Mark Latham flashback.
Of course tonight's enthusiastic handshake from Tony Abbott is nothing like the intensity from that iconic image from the campaign in 2004 - where the Labor leader grabbed John Howard in what seemed to be a judo hold. I repeat, it is nothing close to that incident.
But there was just a flicker of remembering for me. An echo. And for some others, evidently.
It's all good.
What were we saying a moment ago about being mugged by the talking points?
We are in a rhyming couplet echo chamber.
The turning of the worms
Thank you @Murodese for this summary of how the worms turned, variously, on the networks this evening.
On balance the score appears to be for Rudd, absent Network Seven.
Our Guardian Australia worm was strongly pro-Rudd.
It didn't seem to like Tony Abbott.
That verdict is out of step with what I saw: a dead heat.
Er, I think, this is called a rhyming couplet in the trade.
A sprinkle of Mike Bowers photo magic: scenes from the debate
I'd say that was a dead heat.
There were no stuff ups or stumbles. Neither man shone, although Tony Abbott was more confident than Rudd, particularly during the opening segments.
In truth I thought the format completely mugged the discussion. It was a talking points format, not a dialogue format. And the discussion suffered as a consequence.
Kevin Rudd gives his 'new politics, new way - we are great for families' wrap.
Abbott's closing pitch, in essence: we are not scary - on September 7, vote for a strong united majority government in the parliament.
Australia, Abbott says, is
A nation of lifters, not leaners.
That's a new formulation.
The only new thing in tonight's discussion.
Kevin Rudd pledges marriage equality bill in first 100 days
There's a question about marriage equality.
Rudd pledges to introduce legislation to legalise gay marriage in his first 100 days in office.
Recognising same sex relationships is, Rudd says
a mark of decency.
Abbott says he knows same sex marriage is important. He gives a shout out to his sister Christine Foster in the audience.
But he won't commit here to a conscience vote.
Whether or not there is a conscience vote on this issue will be
a matter for a future party room.
Ha ha ha ha.
There's the first Tony Abbott laugh of the night.
7.22pm. Note that down.
Mike Bowers takes you second screen folks into the room, down at the NPC tonight, a panorama.
Tony Abbott is asked: if circumstances change, will he go above his 5% emissions target?
Abbott says he doesn't generally deal in hypotheticals. He adds that he's always said that if circumstances change, "we'll adjust appropriately". But he says there's no way other countries are embracing a carbon tax.
Kevin Rudd says he believes in climate change – that's why he signed the Kyoto Protocol straight after the 2007 election. He says he's ended the carbon "tax". He says emissions are trending down, and that's good policy at work.
The leaders are asked for their plans for aged care.
Tony Abbott says he'll leave the Labor government's aged care policy in place.
Kevin Rudd suggests Tony Abbott's workplace policy will be bad for aged care nurses.
The ACTU boss Dave Oliver chimes in on that theme on social media.
A second airport for Sydney - what's the position?
Tony Abbott says he will make a decision in his first term of government about a second airport for Sydney.
Kevin Rudd says a decision on a second airport for Sydney is best adressed by his infrastructure minister, Anthony Albanese. He says he will consider the policy recommendations when they come.
Rudd suggests people in Sydney need to understand that their airport decision is just one of a number that have to be made around the country.
For the record, Rudd points out he is not from Sydney.
He's from Queensland.
In case that fact was lost on the audience.
Breaking: Labor leader not from Sydney.
That shot from Mike Bowers in the previous post looks a little Lathamesque: slightly like Mark Latham's infamous handshake with John Howard in 2004. You all remember that one?
But we digress, and we can't right now.
There are questions on trust, and on future plans for taxation or spending cuts. The sharp question is: what programs will you cut and what taxes will you increase to get the budget on a more sustainable footing?
Rudd says Labor will always keep an open mind on expenditures in the future but you can't cut to the bone without hurting families.
Abbott says revenues are under pressure, there is no doubt about it. The Liberal leader says his government would reduce taxes and red tape.
He confirms his intention to cut Labor's school kids bonus. Abbott says the payment is unaffordable.
Brilliant opening image from Mike Bowers, who is down at the debate, filing his pictures live.
Segment two: unauthorised boat arrivals
Rudd is put on the spot over his changes to John Howard's harsh deterrent measures for boat arrivals. Does he now admit this was a botch up?
Rudd says he implemented policy during his first term in office in accordance with his democratic mandate. Circumstances changed. So the policy changed. Now everyone goes to Papua New Guinea, Rudd says.
Abbott is asked what is wrong with Rudd's PNG policy.
Abbott says the Coalition will rescue what it can of the PNG solution. But Abbott says the policy isn't what Rudd is telling the voters it is.
The Liberal leader is asked whether boats can be turned back to Indonesia. It is the Coalition's policy to turn boats around when it is safe to do so.
Abbott says the boats can be turned back.
Rudd says they can't in practice, because the boats will be scuttled.
Opening segment: the economy
Both the leaders are nervous, but the nerves are on a leash.
The opening of the debate is on the economy.
Rudd speaks of Labor's record protecting jobs.
Abbott is then asked by Speers about when the voters will see his costings.
You will see in good time, before polling day, how much we will spend and save.
Rudd isn't happy with this answer. He contends it's important to be transparent about what you are going to spend and what you are going to save. Rudd speaks about a culture of evasion. What is the Coalition's plan on the GST for example?
Speers asks whether Abbott will increase the GST.
No, no [I] won't.
No change, no change to the GST.
The GST cannot change without the consent of the state and territory leaders.
The people deserve more than a cheap fear campaign by the Labor leader, Abbott adds.
Speers persists. You won't review it then?
Abbott says it won't change.
The best he [Rudd] can do is run this embarrassing scare campaign.
Rudd retorts: if you don't intend to increase the GST, why is it in the tax review?
The Liberal leader opens with his oft-repeated argument that this is an election about the people, not about the two combatants in this debate.
Abbott speaks of the Coalition's positive program – spending on transport and infrastructure gets a big spruik. And Abbott says we'll stop the boats, because no self respecting country can hand over its part of its migration program to the people smugglers.
We are a great country but we can't afford another three years like the last six.
Mr Rudd talks about a new way. If you want a new way you have to choose a new government.
Rudd opens the debate
Kevin Rudd has the opening statement.
Australians are positive people, who work together. They don't tear each other apart.
The economy is strong, he says, and this election is about the future strength of the eocnomy and how best to secure it.
Labor has done good things for families: paid parental leave, the end of WorkChoices, DisabilityCare.
We've got to manage a new great economic transition. We need a new way, to take Australia forward, because of the challenges we face.
I can see a great, new future for Australia. Under my prime ministership I offer a new way to secure Australia's future.
There's the handshake, and the two leaders are on the stage at the NPC.
Moderator David Speers is taking his position in front of the cameras.
Here we go folks. Enjoy.
And Kevin Rudd's daughter Jessica has shared this presidential looking image of her father, gathering before the bout.
And refresh the page to watch the debate right here at the top of this blog live via ABC News 24.
Kevin Rudd's former press secretary Lachlan Harris has posted this clip of the worst of presidential debates.
Not a superstitious person, Lachlan.
Guardian Australia has its own Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott debate worms tonight. Refresh the page to see the worms at the top of this blog.
Tony Abbott's sister Christine Forster is down at the National Press Club, and fired off this snap of her nieces, Bridget and Frances.
The leaders have just arrived at the club, and are being ushered into the holding areas.
Now, if you aren't a Gif person, perhaps you like a bit of soundbite bingo?
Powered by a dainty Sunday night carafe of pinot or equivalent - this is a caper much to be recommended.
Here's the Rudd soundbite bingo.
And the Abbott one.
Do it. You know you want to.
The fun doesn't start and end on Politics Live tonight.
All you interwebz funsters can also hang out on Guardian Australia's Live Gif blog right here.
That will be a hoot.
It probably goes without saying that tonight is an important night in the psychology of the election contest - even if the entire country stubbornly refuses to turn over from Modern Family.
Rudd has spent much of the past few weeks goading Abbott into a public debate. It would be somewhat counterproductive for the Labor leader if tonight didn't go well. The end of week one has been messy for Labor - polls indicate the Coalition is in front, and the ALP has had to ditch a couple of troublesome candidates. A strong performance from Tony Abbott this evening would consolidate his early momentum.
Malcolm Farr from news.com is reporting that the Labor leader is planning to pop the question. Well, not really. "Kevin Rudd will tonight make a major commitment to gay marriage during his showdown debate with Tony Abbott.The prime minister will strike a clear line between his support for same sex marriage laws and the opposition leader's strong personal condemnation of them. Labor wants to pressure Mr Abbott on a commitment to a conscience vote in the issue, win or lose this election. Mr Rudd will tonight push a promise for a free vote as this year's election sees candidates supporting it than ever before."
While I was preparing for this evening I asked the lovely folks on Twitter to shoot me some ideas about their favourite debate moments.
Any political debate, anytime.
Personally, I find it hard to go past a recent political debate moment - from the recent US presidential race. Republican candidate Mitt Romney spoke of "binders full of women" in one of his debates with Barack Obama. Romney wanted to convey that he was seeking a lot of women for top Cabinet appointments. It was a line that spawned a million internet memes.
A popular moment with the people who responded this afternoon - with very good reason - was the "Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy" interjection during he 1988 vice presidential debate between senator Lloyd Bentsen and senator Dan Quayle.
Here's some footage of that.
Two campaign Sundays: some pictorial counterpoint too good not to share
Given there's been some controversy over the weekend about whether the Liberals are buying followers to plump up their social media efforts this campaign, full marks to the Liberal Party national secretary Brian Loughnane for putting it out there.
Sourcing that crowd.
I got this email this afternoon:
Katharine, get involved.
Tonight, Tony Abbott will take to the stage in the Leaders’ debate. Let’s show our support and get involved.
This is how you can get involved:
- Like and share Tony Abbott’s Facebook page and The Liberal Party Facebook page
- Follow @TonyAbbottMHR and @LiberalPartyAus on Twitter and use #realchange
- Download the Roy Morgan Reactor App and record your own worm reading.
- And for all debate information and to track our progress view our debate website www.liberal.org.au/debate
This is your debate, so join in, take to social media, ask questions, share your thoughts and please post your support for Tony.
Over the last two weeks our social communities were almost twice as engaged as Labor.
In the last few days there has been a 70,000+ growth in Facebook likes from all across Australia for Tony Abbott’s page.
The Liberal Party Facebook page was the first Australian political party to reach 100,000 likes and our YouTube video ‘New Hope’ has received over 200,000 views.
Well done to all!
Liberal Party of Australia
I'm not sure whether these two - on the forecourt of the National Press Club this evening - are in the market to "like" anyone.
But they are equal opportunity dislikers in any case.
Keeping it balanced.
The rules for tonight's debate
Organising election debates requires the ruthlessness of Genghis Khan and the silky diplomacy of Kofi Annan. The ego in this process is off the charts - politicians, their wranglers, journalists, TV networks. It's a nightmare.
Still, we have debate. Rejoice and be glad.
And we have rules.
For tonight - here are the terms of engagement:
- The debate will open with a three minute opening statement by both leaders.
- The moderator will ensure both leaders are given equal treatment and time.
- The moderator will conduct a discussion allowing both leaders to pursue the major issues that will affect the 2013 election campaign.
- As directed by the moderator, the panellists will ask questions to each leader in turn.
- Answers to questions will be up to a maximum of two minutes by each and up to a maximum of one minute rebuttal for each.
- There will be strict time limits on answers.
- The moderator will immediately intervene to prevent either leader from interrupting the other while speaking.
- The moderator may direct the executive producer to mute the microphone of the non-speaker to ensure questions are answered without interruption.
- The debate will finish with the moderator asking a general question to both leaders in order to allow them to sum up for a maximum of three minutes.
- The leader who makes the first opening statement will be the first to make a closing statement.
- A coin will be tossed to determine who will make the first opening statement.
- The leaders will use standing lecterns positioned at opposite sides of the stage.
- The moderator will use a lecturn.
- The panel will be seated at a desk.
- The leaders may have a pen and paper on the lecturn and no other documentation or props.
Just for the record, Labor won the toss so Kevin Rudd will start the batting this evening.
Glorious sunny winter afternoon. Where else would you be but on Politics Live?
Welcome to our live coverage of tonight's first election debate from the National Press Club. It's lovely to have you aboard.
Tonight's debate kicks off at 6.30pm eastern.
In keeping with their respective personalities and interests, our two candidates have spent the day in different modes of preparation.
Kevin Rudd went to church, then to the marginal electorate of Eden-Monaro. Tony Abbott ran the city to surf in Sydney, then he had a press conference with the former Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull - who provided some pre-debate debate coaching with enormous enthusiasm.
I don’t know how you’re (Tony) going to get on with this debate tonight. In fact I am very anxious about your debating challenge tonight because who is he going to be debating.
Is it going to be Kevin the fiscal conservative? Is it going to be Kevin the government must be at the centre of the economy? Is it going to be Kevin savings or Kevin spend, spend, spend. You just never know. Kevin could quite readily debate himself. In fact, you could almost take the night off. He has got more than enough positions.
You will have to be nimble but you will also have to be assertive because he will keep trying to have a debate with himself and you will be flat out getting a word in edgeways.
Bit like Abbott at the press conference really, bit hard to get a word in.
Malcolm Turnbull is really enjoying himself this election. I reckon this footage speaks for itself really.