On Classic FM last month they used to play an ad with just a second or two of arguing politicians before the kicker: ''Election? What election?'' Then on with the soothing music. It was a bit naughty for the ABC, but it was just what many people were thinking.
According to group discussions conducted in the last week of August by the Ipsos research firm for its Mind and Mood report, the consensus from participants' lounge rooms around the country was loud and clear: ''We are sick of this election campaign and we just want it over with.''
When the groups were invited to discuss what mattered most in people's lives, politics was barely mentioned. When the researchers did raise the election, participants often rolled their eyes or groaned.
Many thought this was ''one of the worst elections we've ever had''.
But I remember people complained a lot about the 2010 campaign. What doesn't seem to have occurred to people is that it's hard to get excited about a contest when you know who's going to win it. And with the media's incessant quoting of opinion polls, no one could have been in any doubt. If the media want their election coverage to excite interest, they're fouling their nest.
But ''one of the main reasons participants felt disconnected from politics and the election was their dissatisfaction with both of the major parties' leaders,'' the report says. ''Regardless of whether their values were more closely aligned with Liberal or Labor (or the Greens) few people had positive things to say about either Kevin Rudd or Tony Abbott.''
There was also disappointment with how the campaign had been run and, in particular, the lack of debate about policy, we're told. Many complained the Liberal and Labor campaigns focused on ''slagging off'' their competition instead of explaining policies.
Participants were tired of the mud-slinging and personal attacks launched directly by the major parties' leaders and felt that both lacked the charisma and vision required to inspire and help them connect with politics.
To this end, many hoped the election would bring an end to minority government, the constant bickering and lack of stability that has characterised the last few years of Australian politics, the report says.
But I say all the bickering and seeming lack of stability arose not from minority government as such, but from Abbott's reaction to it, which was to assume government could fall into his hands at any moment and maintain a stance of total opposition to everything.
The past three years have left a nasty taste partly because of Julia Gillard's unpopularity and Labor's constant feuding, but mainly because Abbott ran a three-year election campaign of politicians eternally at each other's throats.
But did you notice the way he transformed himself for the campaign proper? The man who'd run the highly effective but dishonest scare about the terrible effects of the carbon tax and - as we only now discover - a quite insincere scare about debt and deficit, became the man professing to be ''embarrassed'' by Rudd's scare campaigns on the Coalition's supposed plans to raise the GST and to ''cut, cut, cut'' government spending.
And by the campaign proper the man who wrote the book on negativity was accusing Rudd of being ''so negative''.
In government, the Transformation of Tony has continued. The bruiser and attack dog of opposition now promises a ''stable and sensible'' government that brings ''stability and predictability'' and is ''methodical, measured, calm'' in discharging its duties.
Huh? At one level he's a man who knows he has to mend his ways; that successful prime ministers don't act the way he did as opposition leader. He understands people's longing for greater stability and certainty than they experienced over the past three years.
At another level it's what every incoming Liberal PM says. Malcolm Fraser wanted to ''get politics off the front page''. John Howard wanted to make us ''comfortable and relaxed''. They dream of returning us to a Menzian torpor.
Historically, it's what the Liberals stand for. Labor is the eternally dissatisfied party of ''reform'' while the Libs are the conservatives, satisfied with the world as is and trying to stave off disruptive change as long as possible.
A truth our politicians too often forget is that most of us hate change. I confess Abbott's vision appeals to me enormously. Should the 24-hour media cycle slow down and politics become less thrill-a-minute I'm sure I could still find plenty to write about.
But can Abbott attain this degree of stability and tortoise-like approach to progress? He's always struck me as a man who makes plenty of new year resolutions but never keeps 'em for long.
The sad truth is steadiness is contrary to the spirit of our age. Things have sped up as technology and globalisation have opened us up to changing pressures originating anywhere in the world.
And the non-Labor side of politics has changed from conservative to radical. It's as much addicted to ''reform'' as Labor. Whereas once it resisted changes proposed by those lower on the ladder, today it wants to reclaim lost ground.
Abbott's promise of ''no surprises, no excuses'' will be the first he has no choice but to break. As Harold Macmillan apparently didn't say, ''Events, dear boy, events''.
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