If you are happy and you know it, clap your hands

Kevin Rudd’s election campaign looks to be in tatters, moral is slipping and North Korean style back slapping and sing alongs aren’t going to help.

… reports emerge of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s behind-the-scenes fury at how events have soured for him. According to several sources, his travelling party has witnessed familiar outbursts of anger and a growing cranky demeanour from the PM, while campaign headquarters in Melbourne is at a low ebb. Staff members who have dared to voice opinions and challenge strategies have been removed, leaving a sense of distrust and insecurity among those remaining.

Frustration is also growing at how Mr Rudd and his pseudo campaign manager, Bruce Hawker, have been freewheeling on strategies and policy. “The mood is so depressed. It’s like there is no reason left to keep fighting,” one insider said.

I can’t wait for the cellphone videos to emerge. More information is leaking out of Rudd’s unhappy campers.

The campaign theme is New Way: a carefully focus-tested message designed to break with the nasty soap opera that consumed Julia Gillard’s leadership. But Rudd’s promise of a New Way is a joke among some staff at Labor’s Melbourne campaign headquarters (CHQ), where about 100 young staff work long hours.  

They note New Way was the catchphrase Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe used in 2008: “We sit here in order for us to chart a new way, a new way of political interaction.”

“Didn’t anyone Google it?” one worker asked ruefully. Bruce Hawker, Rudd’s de facto campaign manager, insists his charge is holding up to the brutal assault of the election and what he regards as an anti-Rudd campaign by News Corp Australia, publisher of The Sunday Telegraph.

Oh dear. Simple stuff.

The Prime Minister’s facial twitch is back, perhaps a sign of tiredness. At a steamy press conference in Perth on Friday, he is hitting out in all directions over Labor’s costings. A child faints. Critics joke that by the end of the campaign the Rudd flying circus may consist of Hawker and Rudd literally piloting the plane, so centralised is the decision-making by the two old mates.

To raise morale, staff at CHQ are encouraged to clap each other. In the event of a daily “win”, staff stand around applauding their colleagues. “It’s happening daily. It’s really weird,” one staffer says.

After the last string of campaign leaks and bungles there was a mini-purge in the communications unit. One woman disappeared to Townsville.

Purges of campaign staff suggests there is real trouble in the team.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.