Last updated: August 23, 2010

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Major metropolitan newspapers divided over endorsements for federal election

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THE mood in the polls have been reflected in the media, with Australia's major metropolitan newspapers split on their endorsements ahead of tomorrow's federal election.

Tony Abbott received the nod today from The Australian , The Daily Telegraph in Sydney, Melbourne's Herald Sun and Brisbane-based daily The Courier-Mail , all News Limited titles.

Fairfax's leading titles, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, have both said Labor and Julia Gillard deserve re-election tomorrow.

The Canberra Times , also owned by Fairfax, is backing Labor, saying Ms Gillard is more deserving of popular support than the Coalition because it had a greater sense of forward purpose in its policies.

Adelaide stablemate The Advertiser, owned by News, has stuck with the home-town girl, advocating a vote for Ms Gillard and Labor.

"As close as it will be, Ms Gillard and Labor should be given a second chance," The Advertiser editorialises.

"That vote should be made with the clear understanding that the time for dithering is over."

The Courier Mail's endorsement will be particularly welcome for Mr Abbott given the importance of Queensland, with its swag of marginal seats, to election calculations. Like The Australian, the paper has reversed its decision to support Labor under Kevin Rudd at the 2007 election.

"Tony Abbott has emerged as an unexpected leader of the Liberal Party and, like many leaders, has already shown how he can grow with responsibility," the Brisbane paper says in its editorial.

"His critics regard it as a weakness that he will not allow strongly held personal positions to determine public policy. This, in fact, is a strength and shows a commitment to the people he aspires to serve.

"We know well what Mr Abbott stands for because his positions are well chronicled . . . So does his party. The nation will be better for their return to government."

The Daily Telegraph says it feels badly let down by Labor, after backing Mr Rudd at the last election.

Mr Abbott had run a "strong if unenlightening campaign". And while the paper questions his "rudimentary knowledge" of the digital world, it contrasts this favourably with its "instinctive knowledge" of what the Liberal man stands for.

The Herald Sun says it endorses Mr Abbott "without any great enthusiasm" and slams the "vacuous arguments" presented by both leaders during the campaign.

The Sydney Morning Herald said that, while neither party should be proud of their campaign, "Ms Gillard's decision to re-emphasise the economic fundamentals is both a recognition that the Government has a success story to tell and an implicit acceptance that it must build on that success to recover a buoyant focus on the future, and revive the vision that has faded".

The Age said: "The Government should be returned, because of this successful economic stewardship and so that it can resume the project of adapting Australia to meet the challenges of the 21st century."

The newspaper also believes Ms Gillard's "vision must now be broadened, emphasising not only infrastructure but internationally competitive higher education and strategic population growth, if Australia is to be well positioned by 2013 and beyond".

The Canberra Times acknowledged that, at times, Ms Gillard and Ms Abbott seemed to vie with each other in the parroting of meaningless slogans.

"For all of that, the Rudd-Gillard Government has been essentially economically sound, deserves a great deal of credit for its quick and appropriate response to the global financial crisis and it is right, if by no means immune to criticism, in its broad approach to national security, health, education and investment in national infrastructure," it said.

Australia's two largest-selling newspapers, News Limited's The Sunday Telegraph in New South Wales and the Sunday Herald Sun in Victoria, both endorsed Labor.

News is the parent company of the publisher of

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  • Jason Posted at 4:29 PM August 20, 2010

    "economically sound"?? What in the hell? No wonder no one can respect the media in this country, how can anyone make that statement on the economic disaster this country has been sunk into by this governemnt. Debt has to be repaid, and guess where that repayment ultimately comes for, your and my pockets. Wether it be directly through personal taxes, or indirectly through retail purchases we all make and the corporate taxes those purchases fund.

  • Kerry of Sydney Posted at 4:28 PM August 20, 2010

    I am so glad that the media is here to tell me how to think I don't know how i would live without them. I wonder who tells them how to think?

  • Penny Posted at 4:14 PM August 20, 2010

    The trouble with todays media is that too many opinion pieces are dressed up as news.

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