As a rough rule the ABC and the commercial television networks tend to give each side equal time on their news bulletins which is why the parties work so hard at devising photogenic events that will tell a story they want told. Which is all very good in theory but it only works if there is virtually no alternative to showing the day's party line. Unfortunately for Julia Gillard, the Labor leader, Kevin Rudd has been a major distraction on many days this week that the journalists find far more interesting than anything she has to say.
Yesterday at the start it was not anything that Kevin was quoted as saying but a story in the Sydney Morning Herald saying he had to been asked to take a more important role in a wavering campaign. Not as vicious a background briefing as the one earlier in the week but Ms Gillard felt obliged to comment that she knew nothing of it. Then, after being rushed off to hospital for a gall bladder operation, Mr Rudd. through his spokesman, struck again with some words that made Ms Gillard look a bit stupid. Yes, when Kevin got out of the hospital he was looking forward to campaigning outside his own electorate to help his colleagues get a Gillard government elected. Pretty small beer of a story under normal conditions but sufficient to take away that valuable television time from the things Labor had hoped to be seen talking about.
The upshot was another clear campaigning win for the Coalition and with this morning's newspapers featuring an opinion poll showing that Labor was now behind the Crikey Election Indicator moved again in the Coalition;s favour.