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Destination confidential, on the campaign tra -

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LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: As Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott criss-cross the country ahead of the election, a sizable media contingent follows their every move. It's a highly stage-managed event and the itinerary is a tightly-held secret. Reporter Adam Harvey hopped on the Rudd bus for four days to give you a look behind the scenes at the election caravan.

ADAM HARVEY, REPORTER: It's before dawn somewhere on Kevin Rudd's campaign trail. Destination: confidential.

Where are we going today?

ANDREW MEARES, PHOTOJOURNALIST, FAIRFAX MEDIA: Somewhere marginal. That's all that matters.

ADAM HARVEY: How do you think they decide where they're going?

NICK BUTTERFLY, POLITICAL REPORTER, THE WEST AUSTRALIAN: I think they get up in the morning and throw a dart at a board.

ANDREW MEARES: Focus group. (Laughs)

NICK BUTTERFLY: A focus group? (Laughs)

MIKE BOWERS, DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY, THE GLOBAL MAIL: Everything's sort of veiled in this shroud of secrecy. It's like you're playing some weird game of Cluedo; you've gotta keep guessing, you know. It's political Cluedo. You might be in the study with - and you might be with Mr White, you know. The one thing they'll sorta tell you is that, "Today the message is the economy," and it's like, "Well I'm sorry, but I thought that was my job, to actually work out what the message was today."

ADAM HARVEY: A week starts in Sydney. The first mystery destination is, appropriately, a sound-proofed room.

There's a brief encounter with the Prime Minister. A quick picture opportunity.

From North Ryde to North Queensland, we might not know what we're doing here, but at least we know where we are.

What have Mr Rudd's key messages been today?

Some locals make the most of their moment in the spotlight.

(Local man drops shorts, revealing a conspicuous case of wanton nakedness)

It's more G-rated around the corner where the Prime Minister's family joins the campaign.

THERESE REIN, PM'S WIFE: I think politics can be a very dehumanising environment and it's lovely to stay in touch with people who love and care for you and people you love and care for, so.

ANNOUNCER: Please put your hand together for the Prime Minister of Australia, the honourable Kevin Rudd.

(Applause from audience)

ADAM HARVEY: Kevin Rudd's on friendly turf at a Labor Party event.

KEVIN RUDD, PRIME MINISTER: We've done it in the past, we'll do it in the future, we're gonna do it here in Dorfin! (phonetic spelling)

(Applause from audience)

ADAM HARVEY: A new city and a new secret location.

The campaign juggernaut moves forward relentlessly. Rolling right over any old news.

Mr Rudd, you mentioned Paddy from yesterday. I spoke to his mother, Lulu. She's gonna vote for Tony Abbott because of his paid parental leave scheme, which she sees as far superior to yours. Are you concerned that that is a key plus for the Coalition?

KEVIN RUDD: It's a free country and I'm more concerned, frankly, about Paddy being able to hear.

ADAM HARVEY: For reporters who get just one or two chances each day to actually see the Prime Minister, timing is critical.

Kevin Rudd is here in Townsville somewhere. We don't know exactly where because it's a secret. He's off somewhere else at 6 am tomorrow, but that's a secret too. It might be Cairns or it might be Canberra. So why all the secrecy? Well, it's partly about campaign warfare. Labor doesn't want the Libs to know exactly what it's doing. It's also about controlling the message. The captive media don't get much of a say about what it reports on or when it reports it, and if you stop to try and scrutinise anything, you'll miss the bus.

MELISSA PATCH, PRIME MINISTER'S MEDIA TEAM: Another small tour with the kids on the way out on the school oval. We'll get most of it, but I'll have to drag you all away at about 10 to 11. We need to be on the bus at 11 to make it back to the airport in time to meet his plane into the air.

ADAM HARVEY: Despite his reputation as a micromanager, the Prime Minister is pliant at these stage-managed events.

What do you think of him?



FEMALE STUDENT III: I don't like him. I don't!

(Laughter from the two other students)

FEMALE STUDENT III: No, he put us in debt. He put the country in debt, so, no. My dad said he did.

(Laughter from the two other students)

ADAM HARVEY: If this top-secret road trip's being directed by anyone, it's this man, veteran ALP strategist Bruce Hawker. But pointing a microphone at him is about as useful as asking for an itinerary.

Bruce, we're from 7.30. Can we have a quick word?

BRUCE HAWKER, LABOR CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: No. I'm behind the scenes now, mate, I'm not in front of the camera anymore.

ADAM HARVEY: Oh, that's what we want to talk about though.

BRUCE HAWKER: Ha ha ha. Sorry. After the election.

ADAM HARVEY: We jump off the mystery bus in Brisbane. Others aren't so lucky.

MIKE BOWERS: It's 0400 - the "O" is for, "O, my God, it's bloody early." We're in Brisbane and we're heading west somewhere, so they've just told us it's gonna be a very big day and a long day and we're gonna criss-cross the country, so I guess we'll see when we get there.

LEIGH SALES: And reporter Adam Harvey's on the Abbott caravan right now and we'll bring you that story next week.