I flew into Canberra from Perth tonight (it’s a surprisingly quick trip – just 3 3/4 hours). The usual billboards in Canberra airport invite you to buy a destroyer or a new missile system (are there really people who read these and say, “hmm, that F-22 does sound tempting, maybe I’ll hold out on the JSF after all”).
But the latest isn’t advertising defence hardware, it’s advertising a former defence minister. The billboard as you leave the airport showsÂ a picture of Kim Beazley tearing the new workplace laws, and promising to scrap them if/when Labor wins office.
Given that Labor comfortably holds both lower-house federal seats in the ACT, there are two possible explanations for the ad. One is that the share of swinging voters in nearby Eden-Monaro who fly regularly is larger than I’d thought. Another is that this ad is akin to placing political advertisements on Sunday morning talk-shows: aimed not atÂ marginal voters, but to announce to the political class ‘we’re here’.