So, Rudd has suggested a debate a week, starting tomorrow, or 5 debates. Abbott has apparently suggested 3, including one at the National Press Club (aka scripted debate), one at the Rooty Hill RSL (aka face the voters), and one debate in Brisbane with no clear format that I can see.
Debates are obviously good. Personally I reckon 3 is about right, I can’t really stomach the thought of 5. But lets think about what the two have promised and what’s behind it.
When Gillard was in, the ALP didn’t want to debate. She was not known as a good debater. Rudd clearly thinks he’s a great debater, so he’s going for 5 debates. But he seems to be suggesting that these are all structured formats – one per TV channel. So that says to me that he thinks he’s got it over Abbott in the set piece debates.
Abbott wants pretty much what happened last campaign. I think that means he thought he did well last campaign, and why change something that worked. He particularly likes the “face the voters” format, as he can be quite personable in that format.
My pick is that Rudd didn’t really want a debate tomorrow night, you can’t throw one together that quickly. It’s just politics. He’s looking to make Abbott look like he’s afraid to debate, I don’t think that will really work (to put it another way, that’s preaching to the choir).