One hundred of us in the Channel 9 TV studio in Richmond watched PM Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott as the debated Healthcare funding and hospital reform at the Press Club in Canberra.
Each of us had a hand held device with a keypad to record our approval or dissaproval of what was being said by the leaders. 1 being the lowest and 9 for the highest indicator of approval. The data was gathered wirelessly and reflected on a screen we couldn’t see (to avoid influencing our opinions) but was on the screen below the leaders as it aired live. Viewers could see our collective response as “the worm” rising and falling like a wriggler on the screen as we either liked or disliked what was said.
At the end the host and Canberra correspondent noted the times the worm peaked and troughed. I heard from a colleague who watched it live, he said the worm went down most of the time Tony Abbott spoke. It was good to hear, I don’t think I had any thing higher than 5 when he was talking. Sure he was on the back foot to start with, however that position doesn’t come with a license to complain incessantly.
The debate could have been over in 15 minutes, very little new content was contributed by either leader after that point. Repetative mudslinging was the main theme for most of it. Though Rudd attempted to stay positive he did his share of defending and attacking.
It’s a sad state of affairs in australian political leadership. Perhaps it’s the norm but I refuse to be satisfied with mediocre! Today’s display may have been consistent with historical behavior, and that’s no excuse! More of the same produces more of the same. I see little reason for optimism yet I manage to hold out hope that a new kind of leadership is emerging from the shadows. If I can help support this shift you know I will!