Less spin and more heart is how The Australian headline writer summarised Julia Gillard’s address to her first post-election Caucus meeting.
We can only hope she means it for the drubbing Labor got at the polls was an amazing achievement. Relying on reports of focus groups to determine policy priorities by the Rudd Government and Gillard continuing to take the same advice simply led to the precipice of defeat.
If you missed it on Wednesday night, take advantage of the ABC’sreplay service to catch the interview with Labor’s former pollster Rod Cameron on Lateline. It provides wonderful insight by a true campaign professional into why the Labor re-election effort was so bad.
Believe me, the man is not just blowing his own trumpet. Through much of the 1980s I was on the receiving end of the advice he and his partner Margaret Gibbs gave to Labor’s campaigns and not once did I ever hear him suggest that a policy should be abandoned or even changed.
The purpose of his research with swinging voters was to advise on ways of helping leaders convince those he surveyed to change their views rather than getting the politicians to change their views to those uttered in the focus groups.
Putting it harshly, Rudd and Gillard got things the wrong way around.