Only one week gone (at the time of writing) of this six-week election campaign and already it seems like a month.
No doubt Scott Morrison had his reasons for choosing such a far-off election date, but it seems to me that the longer the campaign, the more chances for slip-ups and the greater the public mood of "politics fatigue" and cynicism.
Thus far, most of the slip-ups, such as they are, have been on Anthony Albanese's court, but that's not to say someone on the government side won't be next to trigger a "Gotcha" headline.
More than any other federal election in recent memory, this one is - or should be - all about national security, given the volatile state of the world, and our geostrategic vulnerability.
It is not a time for dishing out bribes to special interest groups and announcing new warm and cuddly social programs.
It's a time for ramping up our defence preparedness and investing in the national infrastructure and human resources that we need to underpin our future development and self-sufficiency.
On the defence front, Morrison to his credit has already made some bold and big commitments, but all are within a far-too-distant delivery timeframe for today's pressing needs.
The recent decision to cancel the SkyGuardian armed drones purchase marked a further setback to our short-term defence preparedness, and we can only hope some more positive news emerges in the coming weeks.
For farmers, two of the most pressing needs are a greater security of fuel supply (our current oil reserves give us just 68 days) and access to a pool of labour for both permanent and seasonal work.
Much of this labour will come from overseas, via the ag visa with 10 neighbouring countries that the National Farmers Federation wants to see fast-tracked as a key plank in its five-point election wish-list.
Also on its wish-list, as reported in these pages last week, is $4.1 billion to help establish 20 "regional development precincts" - a worthy concept, to be sure, but one perhaps unlikely to find favour with anyone who remembers the Whitlam government's "growth centres" flop in the 1970s.
Perhaps that sort of money could be better spent on transport infrastructure, energy or water, each of which could play a part in encouraging regional development and investment at its own pace, without the government trying to pick locational "winners".
Morrison, for all his human faults, is a man of conviction and resolve. He has his detractors, but as he himself has said, we don't have to like him to acknowledge that his government has managed the nation capably through challenging times.
More tough times could well be ahead, calling for practised hands on the wheels of government. It's not a time for P-platers!
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