IF day one of the election campaign is anything to go by, it’s going to be a long seven months until the September poll.
As many commentators lamented yesterday, the announcement by Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Wednesday has kick-started a campaign which is likely to be driven more by personality than policy.
At least Tony Abbott found time to reiterate his views on opposition to the carbon tax, saying he would be prepared to go to a double dissolution election should he be made Prime Minister and the senate refuse to rescind the legislation.
The carbon tax remains a very real difference between the two parties.
The intense debate which occurred in the lead up to its implementation last year has been reduced to a simmer as the impact, touted by many on the Opposition side as catastrophic, has been underwhelming.
That’s not to say the carbon tax should be disregarded as an issue - undoubtedly it remains a major distraction for business and individuals.
More to the core of the message about the carbon tax will be cost of living expenses.
While it was heartening to see policy on the agenda, conversation remains fixed on the political motivation for Ms Gillard to name the election date more the seven months out from polling day.
It will ward off the tedious speculation regarding the date, which is a big tick. Yet it also creates a flux in regard to legislation.
Each and every decision made between now and election date will be judged more intently on its political outcome, rather than what is best for the public.
Running the full election cycle is one promise Julia Gillard has kept. Despite an extremely challenging parliament, where the independents have incredible power, the prime minister has implemented many policies which some said couldn’t be achieved.
She has also been forced to renege on promises she made to the public.
Politics is as much about popularity as it is policy, and this election will be fought by two leaders who have high disapproval ratings.
That’s going to be a major turn-off for many given the length of the campaign.