Abbott's changing the sermon

A new Tony Abbott is emerging as the Gillard government regains electorate approval. Direct attacks are losing their impact and if the Coalition is to defeat Labor then considered policy debate must be its new weapon.

Tony Abbott has reminded his party room of that old political rule: for as long as possible, make the other side the issue, not us.

For 18 months, Abbott succeeded. The heat was never off the Gillard government – whether it was an issue of competence or policy. It centred on "boats” and a "great big new tax” and the need for an urgent election.

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