Australia's October 9 national election might sound familiar to Americans -- the two major party candidates are running neck and neck, Iraq is a major issue, and U.S. political consultants are shaping the campaigns. "Campaign operatives from across the spectrum of Australian politics head to Washington every year to learn how to manage budgets, articulate messages, and develop poll-driven communication strategies. Even Prime Minister John Howard, who is seeking reelection as head of the conservative Liberal Party, has sent his son to work on the Bush campaign in the hopes of picking up trade secrets. The two main parties here have also imported American consultants to advise on everything from developing public policy to fundraising."
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