July 07, 2013 | Graham

Time to call an election

Kevin Rudd has just launched his first campaign ad. Of course he doesn’t want a “negative campaign”, because then he’d have to justify himself. Instead he’s trying to rerun the 2007 campaign. I’m not sure that he’ll be able to get through a whole election campaign kidding the country that he’s never actually been PM.

If he’s going to run campaign ads, then it’s time he went to the Governor General, called the election and went into caretaker mode. That would really raise the standard.

Of course, he’d be flat out running a positive campaign at the moment, because then he’d have to run on Julia’s policies, although, apart from Gonski, it’s hard to actually come up with a Gillard policy that didn’t have a Rudd genesis.

And this has a downside.

Gillard was in trouble as Prime Minister not because she was a woman, but because the policies were no good, and their execution worse.

Not only that, but they were contradictory as well.

Gillard’s basic strategy was to promise the world and leave Tony Abbott with the tab, that way, if he won and when the bill ¬†was found to be unaffordable, Labor would be able to come back at Abbott as a heartless slash and burner. And if she won, well, reneging on promises is a smaller problem than not winning.

In grabbing Gillard’s policies in order to run a “positive” campaign in the hope of winning Rudd swaps places with both Gillard and Abbott.

It’s also a campaign which is out of sync with the times.

Something happened between 2007, when Rudd devised the thought-bubble style of campaigning, and 2013, and that something was the GFC.

What the GFC has done is change the national psyche. We’re now all savers, and the glass is always half empty. Not only are we looking the gift horse in the mouth, but we’re increasingly sending it back. We know that the cost of hay could send us broke.

All of which swings the debate back onto taxes and debt, the Liberals’ strong suit.

It’s just not tenable any more for a government to promise the world and put it on the mortgage.

This bind isn’t going to go away, so Rudd might as well go the election now. He’s just going to irritate the rest of us by stringing it out, and pretending to govern at the same time.


Posted by Graham at 6:12 pm | Comments (3) |
Filed under: Uncategorized


  1. What a joke. Not a word about the three year old Liberal Youtube ad this week re Julie Collins “stuttering”. I would take you seriously if you even hinted that Tony Abbott should man up and appear on 7.30, Lateline and QandA where he can’t walk away from questions he dislikes, and where he’ll have to come up with more than a shiny blue book!
    As to the “Liberal’s strong suit”, I don’t suppose any one will challenge Tony Abbott to insist that Joe Hockey and Andrew Robb present properly costed Budget Assumptions this time, as opposed to the dodgy “audit” they passed off in 2010.

    Comment by P. Oliver — July 7, 2013 @ 7:10 pm

  2. Mr Oliver. Why on earth would Tony Abbott appear on the 7.30 report or lateline over the last few months when the labor party have been tearing themselves apart and making themselves the story? If he had appeared and pointed out the flaws of the government and made capital of their internal divisions he would of been criticiised by people such as yourself for being negative…..
    The coalition adds for the upcoming campaign will not contain a single “negative” comment from the coalition, they will be all senior labor politicians bagging their on again off again PM….
    As far as costing of policies, it doesnt mean a Zack until they are in and have the true state of the books to assess. The government/treasury estimates and forcasts have been spectaculalrly wrong for the entire term of the labor governments since 2007…
    There is probably not another personality in Australian politics who is as well known as Tony Abbott and has had his character and record assessed. He has written books, and articles, and oponion/editorial pieces. He is a known quantity and has appeared on 7.30, lateline, insiders, many many times and I imagine will do once an election is called….. Not marching to the drum beat of an oponent outside of a campaign is smart politics, he would be mad to let Kevin Rudd control the agenda and set thr terms of the debate.
    If Rudd wants scrutiny and debate and to prove to the Australian public he can govern, he should recall parliament.

    Comment by Chris Lehmann — July 7, 2013 @ 7:44 pm

  3. I’m not sure if Kevin Rudd knows what he is doing or what he wants.
    If he delays like he seems to be doing, then parliament might still have to be recalled in October.
    He Kevin Rudd might chose that option, so he can try to tease out Tony Abbott’s policies.
    Knowing as he does so, that Tony may well have to renege on many of them as technically unaffordable, without courageous tax reform, and thereby set himself up as the fall guy or another one termer?
    Failing that, create an impression of having much to hide, like say another version of work choices?
    In which case delay will work for Kevin Rudd and against Tony Abbott!
    If Kevin Rudd has proved something? That something is, he has endless implacable patience, John Howard like political cunning, A bull terrier like lock jaw determination; and won’t let go of what he wants?
    Particularly if that thing is personal power?
    He can and will change his public persona, and appear to the strong man up to the task of creating internal party reform, as part of the reinvention of His and Labour’s brand?
    He is in campaign mode, and leaves Tony Abbott standing on thinner and thinner electoral ice, as he continues to refuse to release costed policies, and refuses to debate. Making him appear weak in the public perception; and or, afraid of Kevin Rudd’s superior intellect? ,
    Many Australians will no doubt conclude, that Tony has whimped our or has something to hide, and will again change their voting intentions?
    Actions will always speak much louder, than too clever by half, rhetoric!
    One recalls a time when Kim Beasley’s led Labour, won 51% of the popular vote and yet still lost the election to John Howard’s coalition, who only had 49%.
    Tony Abbott is not personally popular and could still led the coalition to another close defeat?
    In campaign mode, Kevin is in his element, and as he campaigns and releases “fully costed” policy, his popularity could grow?
    He probably will highlight the fact that the elector risks the NBN, plus Education reform and fairer funding, if they chose the coalition. [Just that much difference could cause many to swing yet again?]
    And highlight the fact that the coalition appears deeply divided over the Councils formal recognition referendum?
    In an election that could be as close as this one is shaping up to be, we could wind up with another hung parliament?
    And don’t underrate the power of the nationals to yet throw a spanner in the works, with regard to the Lib’s plans for the NBN? Their electoral life support base, clearly want the current version and pricing paradigm!
    I mean, the current difference seems to be 29.4 billion as a future coalition Govt. outlay, for the fibre to the node, and 32 billion as Govt. outlay, for the current plan; plus, what the coalition might have to shell out for Teltsra’s node to the home, copper network?
    And, for a system only quarter of the speed of fibre to the home! [That’s like comparing the stem driven flying Scotsman, the fastest steam train in the world, 160 klms PH, to the Chinese magnetron! 900 klms PH!]
    I believe Tony could borrow something from the Kevin seven campaign and state, that this reckless spending has to be reined in.
    And proceed to release more modest costed policies. [The NBN is off budget and really doesn’t need to be changed.]
    It’s simply not good enough for today’s voter, to release a set of aspirations.
    Aspirations that may remain as unattainable as the mythical pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
    Besides, many voters will be offended by the seeming arrogance, of an apparent opinion that their votes are already in the bag; and or, forget fully costed policies; just take us on complete trust, after all, we’re honest politicians?
    I also believe, it won’t hurt Tony’s campaign, if he comes out and says, he’ll allow a conscience vote on marriage equality, during the first sitting of parliament, with an election win.
    A conscience vote will still allow those who object on so-called moral grounds, to record their personal opposition in Hansard, and thereby remain true to their core beliefs, without also ramming them down the throats of those, who no longer share them?
    Stopping the boats would require that anyone who arrives by whatever means, minus a visa and identifying documentation, to risk immediate repatriation? No exceptions, ifs, buts or maybes!
    That really would destroy the people smugglers business model.
    And given the money we would and could save, divert some of the billions saved, into a much more generous refugee intake.
    Particularly if they’ve taken the time and trouble to learn English, ready to settle in proscribed locations; and are willing to fit in and be assimilated; as opposed to going into and creating even larger ethnic ghettoes?
    Alan B. Goulding

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — July 8, 2013 @ 12:35 pm

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