Who doesn’t remember, with some fondness, Joe Dolce’s song Shaddap You Face? We might cringe now, but that song went to number 1 on the charts all around the world.
Last night Tony Abbott told the PM to Shaddup you face - strictly he asked a rhetorical question: “Does this guy ever shut up?”
We know the line was effective - the audience laughed and clapped. It reminds us of Ronald Reagan’s great line “There you go again”. But I don’t think the “shut up” line was nearly as good as the original.
There is some debate as to whether Tony Abbott’s line was spontaneous or rehearsed. I suspect the latter. Kevin Rudd does have the habit of talking on and on and on. Clearly focus groups have indicated that voters tune out and the Coalition are capitalising on that.
To the extent that all is fair in love, war, political cartoons, and election campaigns that is all good. Tony Abbott has very dramatically highlighted a big negative for the PM. Mind you, parents watching the debate might have told their children that it’s rude to tell people to shut up.
In the meantime we get to discuss the fireworks and not the actual policies.
So who won the debate? As always the journalists were all over the shop - some claiming “Abbott” others claiming “Rudd”. The most insightful analysis I saw was from Peter van Onselin who argued that Kevin Rudd did well in the debate but he is so far behind and trying to defend such a poor government that it doesn’t matter that he had done well.
That view is consistent with movements in the betting market - before the debate the Coalition were at $1.08 to win and after the debate $1.09.