Julia Gillard’s 2010 campaign slogan is clear; the ALP is ‘going forward’.

Posted on July 20, 2010 by

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“…that’s what I want to do as Prime Minister to keep us all heading in the right direction and going forward together. I don’t want to see us go back.” Julia Gillard, ABC Perth, July 9.

In her honeymoon voyage as the new Prime Minister, Gillard has been flying in and out of towns to spruik her new campaign message. In the last week she has delivered speeches entitled: “Moving Australia Forward” “Going Forward Together” and “Moving Forward Together.”

Photo via: Julia Gillard MP Official Photostream

But this is before she has even begun speaking. In her “Going Forward Together” speech in Western Australia the PM’s dazzling linguistic skills were on show:

THE government I lead will address difficult questions in a spirit of mutual respect and with a shared commitment to move forward. . . . let’s go forward together.

It’s little wonder what her next speech – which is likely to outline her policy on climate change – will be candidly titled: Killing Australia Forward? Forward Moving Together?

But just how far forward Gillard’s campaign will move is uncertain, with such a large proportion of Australian’s not enrolled to vote. According to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), around 1.4 million would-be voters would be hibernating if an election was called today.

More importantly, at least 400 000 people between the age of 18 and 20 are yet to print off the form and send it via snail mail. These statistics are the largest in NSW, with 50 per cent of young people not enrolled to vote.

The AEC are attributing our shadowed existence to a lack of interest in political issues, but a strong interest in real issues. And while the findings of the Youth Electoral Study might be true for some seemilngly-apathetic young voters, it also recommends that political campaigns be better targeted.

With Gillard likely to call the election any day, there is little time for political parties to come up with more than just a ‘catchy’ slogan. Many campaign groups have been moving much faster to engage the unenrolled through Twitter, action-packed YouTube videos and other forms of social media.

In the latest campaign from political activist group GetUp, the fight for the title of Prime Minister is turned into a Hollywood-style spoof that is filled with the unavoidable themes of conflict, love, tension and controversy.

Scenes flick from dark alleyways where Gillard swiftly beats Kevin Rudd to the ground (“Oh, fair shake of the sauce bottle”), to scenes of Tony Abbott and Gillard being “a little bit naughty.”

This is undoubtedly one of many campaigns to engage younger voters in the election campaign, with the trending hashtag (#) on Twitter for the election looking to be #ausvotes. And while the plot of who will take out the title in late August or early September isn’t clear, at least we know that Julia and her mates will be moving forward.

Words by Joel Tozer

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Posted in: Joel Tozer, Opinion