Slicing and dicing $1 million a day
Despite Costello’s supposed leak of a late November election date, it now appears Howard intends to hang on until his publicly-funded ad blitz turns the polls around, or, until it gets too close to Christmas to hold off any longer (8 December is mooted, but a sufficiently desperate government could go even later, into the New Year if necessary).
Sensibly enough, Labor has been pointing to what could have been done with the public money Howard is using for mass mailouts on “John Howard Writes to you on a Subject No Parent Can Afford to Miss”, ad campaigns on the theme “Footy fans back government” and so on. Here’s a piece from Tanya Plibersek
One way to keep this running is to say, every day, what could have been done with the million dollars or so the government is spending. But it could be sliced geographically instead of temporally. If I were running Labor’s campaign, I’d take the government’s total ad spending this term (around $750 million, IIRC) and convert that into around $5 million per electorate. Then find, for each electorate, $5 million of spending effectively foregone (two extra teachers at X High School, a local road project etc). Finally, promise to create a fund for worthwhile local projects like these, to be funded by a cessation of large-scale government propaganda.
The nice thing about this strategy is that would have some chance of locking Labor in to ending the downward spiral of ethics in which the bad behavior of one government justifies even worse behavior by the next.