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Why the PM is shutting up about the culture wars in this campaign

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21.04.2019

Election campaigns are deeply weird things, involving whirlwind travel, sausage sizzles, the wearing of chinos, and the mild traumatisation of any baby who finds herself in the path of a politician.

Under the weary gaze of the nation, Prime Minister and Opposition Leader must appear energised but not hubristic, natural and yet leaderly, easygoing but ready to attack the slightest mistake made by the other.

We are being told a story about how each leader is, underneath all the politics, a family man. Photo: Dominic Lorrimer

It is the time when the leaders want to convince us how normal they are, coming at us live from just about the most abnormal setting possible.

This election campaign, both Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten seem to be lunging for a daggy backyard-cricket dad persona - the kind of man who owns a dress set of cargo shorts for Sunday barbecues, and who refers to his wife as "the boss".

Wives are being deployed, occasionally children, and we are told a story about how each leader is, underneath all the politics, the best kind of man: a family man.

Morrison cooks curries, Shorten packs school lunches.

The huge stretches of time politicians spend away from home go unmentioned.

As part of this normal suburban dad rebranding, culture war issues are dropped, and anything likely to excite moral controversy is avoided.

Note how Morrison, a deeply religious social conservative, this week re-committed to........

© Canberra Times