Monday, August 16, 2010

Oh dear, Labor spin merchants caught out over Julia's "off the cuff" campaign launch speech

Julia Gillard's speech on the lectern at the Australian Labor Party campaign launch at the Brisbane Convention Centre.
Julia Gillard's speech on the lectern at the Australian Labor Party campaign launch at the Brisbane Convention Centre. Photo: Andrew Meares

It was supposed to be delivered without anything more than a few dot points and without the use of a teleprompter.

Tony Wright from The Sydney Morning Herald is less than impressed with this latest example of how totally addicted the modern Labor Party has become to spin:
This, we were assured before Prime Minister Julia Gillard climbed to the stage to deliver her speech to officially launch the government's plea for re-election, was the real Julia, unplugged.

There would be no auto cue. No written speech, either.

She would rely on nothing but a few dot points, her press secretaries solemnly assured the media gathered in the wings at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. Within seconds, hardened hacks were tweeting this development.

The point, of course, was that a week before in the same place, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott had used during his campaign launch an auto cue, a device his mentor John Howard described disparagingly as "wing mirrors".

Gillard's minders wanted to convey the message that she was braver, more spontaneous and capable of speaking directly to the electors without the limiting filter of a speech carefully prepared for her.

Ah, but the distance between myth and reality, as ever during election campaigns, proved as wide as Lake Eyre in flood.

As Gillard took the stage, a thick sheaf of typed papers was discreetly placed upon the podium by a stagehand crouching almost out of sight. A video camera and The Sydney Morning Herald's chief photographer, Andrew Meares, captured the moment when the staffer slipped the papers into place.

When Gillard had finished speaking and the audience was agog at her ability to deliver an unscripted address (indeed, Gillard herself described it as "from the heart"), Meares turned his camera on the papers lying strewn upon the lectern.

Even a cursory glance showed it was a written speech. A closer inspection showed it was the very speech she had delivered, word for word.

It was a near faultless speech, barely a stumble - and the Prime Minister hardly glanced at her notes, giving the impression she has a near-photographic memory.

But so much for Julia unplugged. A case, you might think, of too much spin. No one would have cared a fig if she had read the whole thing ... if only we hadn't been hoodwinked into believing this was a free-form plea from her soul.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

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