“Does this guy ever shut up?”
The Tony Abbott quote was plastered across The Courier Mail’s front page on the morning after the Brisbane People’s Forum, an event organised by the newspaper which is now of feature of modern election campaigns.
The event, held at the Brisbane Broncos’ Leagues Club and organised by The Courier Mail and Sky News, gave undecided voters a chance to directly engage with Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott on issues that are important to them.
It gives the public a candid view of their potential leaders, and forces politicians to think on their feet, rather than responses that have been screened by an army of media advisors and spin doctors.
“It isn’t an environment where politicians have complete control like they’re used to,” The Courier Mail and The Sunday Mail’s head of news Rosemary Odgers said.
“And I think that’s what’s so good about the forum.
“It brings out something you don’t see every day in the campaign.”
Voter sentiment was tracked during the evening, with Twitter mentions awarding the forum to Kevin Rudd with an average sentiment rating of 50.65, compared to Ton Abbott’s of 45.32.
During the evening, The Courier Mail was streaming the footage live on its website, as well as a live blog for readers who could not tune in to the video.
The website’s audience numbers increased dramatically, although the complete figures were not to hand yesterday.
“There was definitely an increase in our traffic,” she said. “There were more than a few people interested in it.”
The next day’s coverage in The Courier Mail’s print edition also proved popular, with the newspaper running with Mr Abbott’s memorable quote.
Ms Odgers said the event proved popular with the audience, and something similar can be expected with tonight’s Sydney equivalent at the Rooty Hill RSL Club.
“[The format] builds the drama and the excitement of the event,” she said.
“The audience gets a real insight into the politicians; much more than you would with a traditional debate.”