Pollies and journos take off in Perth for the launch of the ALP campaign

Crikey’s Charlie Lewis takes us to the ALP campaign launch in Perth, where he and Anthony Albanese boarded the campaign bus with veteran journalists.

As the accreditation desk struggles to find my lanyard, ABC political editor Andrew Probyn turns up next to me, immaculately laid out, neat and compact, and welcome everywhere as the TV guys always are. I go to the elevator and think about holding him for him, but he is in a friendly conversation with the people behind the table and besides, what if he asks where I work

This is the dynamics of the first few hours of Oh dear‘s time at the launch of the ALP campaign, held at Optus Stadium, the first campaign launch in Western Australia for either major party on this side of the Second World War. I am one of the first to arrive in the media room and watch it fill with several high profile journalists; the people from out of town arrived masked, the locals didn’t (the pandemic really didn’t sleep the same way here). And it’s real “first day of school and nobody will sit with me” vibes; the Financial overview Australiathe guard and the News Corp crews are getting all the tables together. I make eye contact with Peter Van Onselen, who’s across the room, and he looks at me with pity. The TV presenters are all spotless and made up, while the writers (especially of the older, male, variety) are all jeans and comfy shoes.

There’s the briefing, which will take us through the various security checks we’ll be subjected to and the etiquette of the event – don’t do a live cross for Albanian’s speech, it will reverberate across the room, everyone will roll their eyes and, apparently “Michelle Grattan will rip my balls off”. I see David Crowe on my periphery, glassy and distracted like a frequent flyer during the security demonstration.

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