Brian and Karl: A simmering courtship in letters
In an age of texting, Tweeting and Facebooking it’s the Campaign 2010 version of a Jane Austen courtship – brimming with potential for misinterpretation, hurt feelings and cross purposes.
Instead of picking up the phone (so 2009) the National Director of the Liberal Party Brian Loughnane and the National Secretary of the ALP Karl Bitar have taken to firing off increasingly melodramatic letters to each other.
Between each line you can almost feel the building tension over tomorrow night’s proposed debate / people’s forum / Roman wrestling bout between Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott in Brisbane.
And we don’t even have to wait for the history books to creak open to read them.
The latest missive lobbed (the latest in a series of many, we’ve lost count):
National Campaign Director
Liberal Party of Australia
PO Box 24133
MELBOURNE VIC 3001
Last night Mr Abbott said he was available for a thirty minute “debate” on the economy with the Prime Minister yet your latest letter this morning only commits him to an “interview”.
Please advise why Mr Abbott has gone backwards to the ducking and running of the past few weeks and is again refusing to debate the most important issue in this campaign.
If he’s changed his mind again and is scared of a debate on the economy he should just be honest enough to say so.
The Prime Minister will be in Brisbane tomorrow night for an economic debate and a town hall meeting. Mr Abbott’s reluctance to participate speaks volumes about his lack of a plan for our $1.3 trillion economy.
ALP National Secretary
That was in response to this, which was distributed to the media just before midday today.
Mr Karl Bitar
Australian Labor Party
PO Box 6222
KINGSTON ACT 2604
Mr Abbott will be in Brisbane tomorrow evening to take part in the Town Hall Forum organised by the Courier-Mail.
He has said to the people of Brisbane that he stands ready to answer their questions and he won’t walk away from this commitment.
Mr Abbott is also available to take part in an interview with Ms Gillard on the ABC this evening.
We trust Ms Gillard is also able to take part in these important events.
National Campaign Director
There are many others preceding this in the exchange. Take our word for it.
By the time this fraught event takes place (if it does), expect Brian and Karl to have negotiated the height of the stools on which the candidates will sit (North – South Korean style), Brian to have insisted the venue be cleared of all copies of the Womans’ Weekly, and Karl to have expressed further hurt over Brian’s unfeeling replies.
And people are calling this campaign a soap opera.
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