While the Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has been fighting tooth and nail to retain his seat of New England, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has played the deputy role par excellence during a marathon election campaign.
That’s the view of Griffith University political analyst, Professor Stephen Stockwell, who has been impressed with the performance of Labor’s Tanya Plibersek as she continues to build on strong political credentials.
“She has established a persona as the calm explainer. You can throw any sticky balls at her and she knocks them away with style,” Professor Stockwell said.
“She is precisely what is needed in a deputy leader as she doesn’t appear to have an agenda.
“One of the first requirements of the job of deputy leader is not to overshadow the leader because voters will often make their decision based on the leader. There would be a danger of confusing that if a deputy leader was running their own agenda.”
Professor Stockwell also commended the focus of Nationals leader, Barnaby Joyce, during a challenging campaign where the return of Tony Windsor to contest the seat of New England has occupied his time and resources.
“He is doing exactly what the Prime Minister would want him to do, which is work on holding his seat,” Professor Stockwell said.
“He has done a good job harnessing media attention around this effort but he hasn’t had an opportunity to be a backstop to the leader.
“It is interesting that Julie Bishop has been able to step into this role when required. Between them they’ve done a good job.”
Professor Stockwell, who has researched political campaigns and democratic theory at Griffith’s School of Humanities, rated Tanya Plibersek’s deputy leader effort a nine-out-of-ten compared with the combined Joyce/Bishop effort which he gave seven-out-of-ten.
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