The anatomy of an election press conference

(Almost) every day of the campaign they hold a press conference.

Journalists, whose news outlets have invested heavily in their presence, attempt to hold executives to account and raise the issues they cover for their audiences.

It’s not an orderly process.


I can only speak from the experience of being on the Prime Minister’s election bus so far, where a lengthy preamble and speeches from other politicians and candidates set the stage before journalists are given the floor.

On several occasions this week, those covering the campaign were sandwiched in tiny spaces like the produce aisle of a local grocery store or a room lined with barrels in a vineyard.

Huddled together in these impossibly small spaces surrounded by lettuces or oak barrels, journalists try to be heard and call out to get the chef’s attention.

The issues are varied, taking into account the economy, political decisions, legislation, negotiations of the hung parliament and the mood of the public.

Everyone is in the spotlight of live television, eager to pose their question well and try to craft a survey that elicits a real answer.

The interlocutors are selected and the answer given can be directly relevant or deviate considerably from what was asked.

The prime minister, who has been on form for years talking about opposition interventions in Question Time, pushes through most attempts by media representatives to refer the leader to the specific question posed.

At one point, when he found an answer that didn’t seem to answer the question this week, the Prime Minister exposed it.

“You can ask the questions, you can’t tell what the answer is.”

The Leader of the Opposition does not have the same finely tuned approach to getting things done.

When he was arrested on the six-point plan for his National Disability Insurance policy and could not provide details, he too was put under pressure.

He later lamented “pitiful questions” dating back to the first day of the campaign when he was caught unable to provide the cash rate or unemployment rate.

If the election campaign is essentially one long, unruly job interview, it is difficult for the real investigators, the Australians.

Hardly any of them would get close enough to the carefully managed and organized events, stacked with party members, to ask a question themselves.

There are not enough clear answers for voters and questions that were partially or completely ignored during the campaign are piling up.

If you have a question for Anthony Albanese or Scott Morrison, message me [email protected]


Comments are closed.