Ok, so I've caught my breath, spent a night in my own bed and I'm back on the road. This week, I'm travelling on the G-Plane, heading to Tasmania with the PM and a bunch of hacks - some who've also switched camps like me, and others from the press gallery who I haven't seen since the campaign began.
Due to a combination of the time difference in Perth, and full program of TV commitments, I slipped a little behind on the campaign diary for the past few days, so here's a recap...
After the pit stop in Melbourne on Wednesday night for Tony Abbott's appearance on 'Hey Hey It's Saturday', we high-tailed it to Perth. With both leaders calling a political truce to attend the funeral fallen digger Nathan Bewes, I took the opportunity to catch up on some sleep on the flight west without the pressure of having to file any stories.
Perhaps fittingly, there was a circus tent set-up just outside our hotel when we arrived. The political circus had rolled in to town too. One of the great things I'm learning about campaigns is that they are invaluable for getting a chance to know the leader on a personal level. The Abbott camp hosted drinks at our hotel on the first night in Perth, which I found to be a real privilege.
Unofficial rules stipulate we don't speak about what was said, but it's safe to say Mr Abbott was on his best behaviour and genuinely seemed to enjoy our company! Plus, I can call him Tony now, so that's how I'll refer to him from now on! I was also kind of chuffed about seeing Jared Leto, and his band 30 Seconds to Mars in the hotel lobby while waiting for the drinks to begin.
Perth is a picturesque city. It's also Coalition territory. Very few people (none) I spoke to were critical of Tony Abbott during our stay. His announcements were geared to please the locals even more. On Friday, he was down at the Fremantle docks pledging money for customs.
As the stage-managed nature of the campaign dictates, the announcement was followed by a picture opportunity nearby. I overheard one of the workers say as he was leaving, "I was just rent-a-crowd, gotta get back to work". I couldn't help but chuckle to myself a little. That night, a handful of us ventured to Cottosloe for dinner and a few local ales as we caught the last glimpses of the sunset - truly on of the perks of the job.
Getting up at 3am to go on Sunrise isn't one of the perks! But I kept telling myself not to whinge because it was 5am on the east coast, and that was the time my body still thought it was... A speech to the WA Liberals state conference was Tony's main event on Saturday.
These functions are hilarious because they are so over-the-top. Lots of placards, lots of Liberal flags, and lots of cheering. It was also the first time we'd seen Tony's wife Margie on the campaign trail, coincidentally on the same day Tony had taken a whack in the polls from female voters. A couple of hours of back-slapping and handshakes later, Tony was out of there, and we were all leaving Perth for the gold fields of Kalgoorlie. He'd been invited by Wilson Tuckey, who I'd imagine is a hard man to say no to.
The contrast in imagery there was stark - from the women love-in in Perth, to the big boy with his toys. Tony took the wheel of what looked like a super-sized Tonka truck, then chowed down a few sausages with local workers. When he left, the rest of us detoured past the "Superpit" - Australia's largest open cut gold mine. The breath-taking sight was another highlight, and something I won't forget.
There was even better news on the plane flight back to Canberra. Alcohol was finally available, and Tony had shouted a few cartons of beer! Not that it will buy him favourable coverage, but the gesture went down well with all on board.
Sunday was all about the debate. I cherished the sleep-in with no Sunrise requirements to worry about before heading in to our Parliament House studio. Perth-based reporting legend Geof Parry, who used to do my job, is back to help out during the campaign and had clearly taken back his old office! The chance to catch up with my producer Craig Sullivan, as well as fellow reporter Jodie Speers, and the rest of the crew was great but brief.
I've found I get so caught up in my own work on the trail, you hardly stop to actually talk to people properly! All of the hype is about the Coalition's immigration policy announcement and the "Great Debate". As usual, the talkfest that night was something of an anti-climax, with both leaders on their best behaviour. In my eyes, the clear winner was Seven's Polliegraph. For the first time, it tracked womens' and mens' views separately. When support from females for Julia Gillard was through the roof, men were often unimpressed. The roles were reversed for Tony Abbott. Many commentators have dismissed the gender issue, arguing that by polling day, policies will be the main focus. I'm not so sure...Days 6, 7, 8 & 9 down - 27 to go...
Was the government right to pour money into Ford?Vote
Copyright © 2013 Yahoo!7
All rights reserved.
Select your state to see news for your area.