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Warringah campaign off to a very humbling start

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Democracy in action, my friends. On Tuesday morning at 7.30 the oft-overlooked third major player in the battle for Warringah, ALP candidate Dean Harris, turned up at the Manly Vale B Line bus stop to do a meet and greet with commuters, only to find another candidate already on the ground with volunteers and working hard – Tony Abbott.

No problem. Plenty of room for all. The two exchange greetings, shake hands and for the next hour all those commuters boarding buses have the opportunity to chat to Harris or the one time national leader, or both, and get brochures detailing their plans. Most commuters were polite, some ... less so. At one point, Abbott was ripped into over his support of convicted paedophile George Arthur Pell. Abbott being Abbott, he took the abuse without blinking, and moved on. Still, Abbott being Abbott, there were also many passing motorists hurling unkind abuse.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott with campaign volunteers in Manly in February.Credit:Jessica Hromas

After one particularly pointed insult from a passing car, the former prime minister and one-time chair of the G20 – now fighting for his political life at a bustling bus stop, dodging insults – turned to Harris and said with a rueful grin, “Sometimes public life can be very humbling.”

In the words of Harris, “despite the fierce completion for hearts and minds that morning, both candidates conducted themselves with respect for the other.”

The farewell the “Channel Nine piano man” Geoff Harvey, I mentioned last week – held in his home town of Bowral from Thursday afternoon under the banner of “Harvey’s Last........

© The Age