For the journalists, photographers and camera crew who make up the travelling media packs following both leaders, the campaign is not so much a festival of democracy as a test of endurance.
From wading through salmon guts in Tasmania to the never-ending search for mobile phone coverage, in <em>Follow the leaders</em>, radio reporter Francis Keany documents first-hand what it's like to follow the political leaders of Australia for five weeks straight on the straitened budgets facing modern media outlets.
He outlines the fatigue and stress leading up to election day in 2013, following both Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd on their high-vis tour of the nation. It is also an insight into the pressures of modern-day journalism as the media environment goes through extensive change.
Follow the leaders is more than reportage. It is a love story – of Francis and his beloved Tess and of the other journalistic couples separated and reunited throughout the campaign, but most of all, of journalists and their desire to seek the truth, even when a sausage sizzle beckons.
Francis Keany was born in Canberra the year Bob Hawke became prime minister. As a child, Francis wanted to be a chef or town planner, but he grew up and came to his senses, realising journalism would be much more exciting.
Known as Frank in the halls on "the hill", the thirtysomething broadcaster spent the first decade of his reporting life in commercial television and radio, including as senior political reporter for Fairfax Media's 2UE at the time of the 2013 election.
Francis joined the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery in 2012, and in 2014 was shortlisted for the Wallace Brown Award for the best and fairest early career parliamentary journalist. He joined the ABC in 2015, and can be found on Twitter at @fjkeany.