Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has confirmed he will participate alongside Opposition Leader Tony Abbott in a people's forum on Wednesday night in Brisbane. Sky News political editor David Speers will moderate the event, which will be available for live broadcast by all media. Earlier today Mr Rudd said he would prefer to debate Mr Abbott on a free-to-air network that all Australians have access to, but added I will, of course, debate Mr Abbott whenever and wherever there is an opportunity.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has formally announced his signature paid parental leave policy, saying he has a convert's zeal for the scheme. Mr Abbott revealed the 26 week replacement wage scheme was fully costed and fully funded at around $5.5 billion a year from July 1, 2015. Women earning up to $150,000 a year will be paid their full wage for the period of leave, including superannuation. Mr Abbott says Liberal and National party MPs have had a very full debate about the policy, and now overwhelmingly support it.
To be fair, we’re not even two weeks in yet. There’s time, but not that much. In a campaign, weeks can creep up on you. Here’s hoping we see something genuinely new soon. Something that belongs not in 2007, or in 2010, but in 2013, with all the complexities and hopes and fears of this period in Australian history on display.
Welcome to the The Conversation’s Election 2013 State of the Nation essays. These articles by leading experts in their field provide an in-depth look at the key policy challenges affecting Australia as the nation heads to the polls. Today, we examine the issue of health care, from service reform and hospitals, to balancing the budget, and keeping Australians healthy.
The Coalition has announced that they would reintroduce temporary protection visas (TPVs) if elected to government. It comes as part of their package of measures designed to deter asylum seekers from asking us for help.
TPVs were first suggested by Pauline Hanson in 1996. Her proposal was criticised by Philip Ruddock as “unconscionable”. Three years later, TPVs were introduced by the Howard Government; Ruddock was immigration minister.
TPVs suffer from a couple of serious vices: not least that they are likely to cause more deaths at sea – something both major parties claim to be concerned about.
Is anybody concerned that policy process is being trashed in this election? Really trashed.
Rudd removes endorsement for Geoff Lake while ALP candidate for Kennedy resigns after reportedly calling Abbott a bigot
"Senate preference deals cause confusion for Greens, Sex Party & WikiLeaks" pjblack.me/1dvudgZ #ausvotes
"Grass Roots Politics, Global Money Trees" pjblack.me/15VMr3R #ausvotes #auspol
"Greens deny federal right-to-die bill would be unconstitutional" pjblack.me/1bCUh86 #lwb242 #ausvotes #auspol
The Greens have denied that their unprecedented plans to introduce federal legislation on voluntary euthanasia would be unconstitutional – despite advice to that effect by the attorney general.
Greens MP Sarah Hanson-Young is facing a tough battle for re-election after a fellow Senator confirmed he would not divert preferences her way. Nick Xenophon says he has been swamped with calls in the past week from supporters urging him not to preference the Greens.
Tony Abbott declared that this is our country and we determine who comes here as he unveiled sweeping plans to fast-track the deportation of failed asylum seekers. Under the Coalition's policy, around 30,000 people currently waiting for their refugee claims to be finalised in Australia would be denied permanent residency. Those who are deemed to be refugees would instead be placed on temporary protection visas (TPVs), while those whose claims are rejected would be denied the right to appeal.
Policy would see temporary visas issued to refugees, with no guarantee of permanent residency, and curtail rights of appeal
"Kevin Rudd trails in his own seat in shock poll finding for Labor" pjblack.me/1bVBpl3 #ausvotes
"Groundhog day: why the asylum problem is like the drug problem" pjblack.me/1bIh6HD #ausvotes #auspol
What does Australia’s handling of asylum seekers have in common with our approach to illicit drugs? Quite a lot, writes Desmond Manderson. In the following 10,000 word essay, he argues we should abandon the zero tolerance approach and focus on harm reduction. This piece was first published in the Griffith Review and has been reprinted with permission.
I should acknowledge that I am a strong supporter of Bandt, but that is based on his record over the past three years, and a dislike for the venom with which the Greens have been attacked by both sides when they, along with Oakeshott and Windsor, have been by far the most consistent politicians over the period of the Gillard/Rudd government.
In the unusual circumstances of the past three years, there were unique opportunities for minor party members and independents to establish themselves as national figures. As the one Green in the House, Bandt sometimes found himself in lonely opposition against virtually the entire rest of the Parliament. He handled this with grace, and, like Oakeshott, Windsor and Wilkie, used his position to both raise national issues and articulate the interests of his electorate.
In the end, Bandt needs the votes of a number of normal Liberal voters, even if these come in the form of second preferences. He is trying for an alliance of inner-city trendies, doctors' wives and public housing tenants that he might just pull off.
James Bennett spoke with independent candidate Cathy McGowan and MP Sophie Mirabella about the fight for Indi.
Labor is haemorrhaging support in the must-win marginal Queensland seat of Forde as a series of opinion polls suggest the ALP’s surge after Kevin Rudd’s return to the leadership has crashed and Coalition leader Tony Abbott is on track for an easy election victory.
I'm not sure why we should have imagined it might be any different, a small triumph of hope over repeated experience perhaps.
But answer this: have you ever endured anything so demeaning, patronising, condescending, cynically manipulative, mendacious, superficial, fatuous, rat cunning, trivialised or just plain false as the process of politics, now thrown at you live, minute by minute, through the course of this campaign?
Day by grinding day the major figures trot out the same evasive half-truths and hearty hail-fellow-well-met palm-offs ... the sum of it hard to watch without a growing sense of complete letdown and dislocation. How can this be what it is: the open and public contest to claim the right to represent us. To form a government. To run our country.
Why in that context can we not be given the benefit of a candidate's honest view? Why do we not have the right, through a political media that ought also to be at least nominally acting in our collective interest, to push for hard answers and firm commitments on the issues that matter?
You thought the campaign of 2010 was a low point ... from here it looks like a benchmarking exercise; a slough of inconsequentiality that simply set the standard.
Serious discussion of climate change policy has been noticeably absent this election campaign – while the issue was allotted a portion of the first leaders' debate, little time was devoted to it. Nonetheless, there are significant differences in the climate change and renewable energy policies of the ALP, Coalition and Greens. The major differences between the parties are outlined below.
pre-poll voting is underway #ausvotes @ 488 Queen Street instagram.com/p/dQ3NP6t1fB/
The Coalition has recruited three respected economists to oversee its policy costings and verify the figures are correct. Former Treasury official Geoff Carmody, ex-Queensland auditor-general Len Scanlan and former head of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Peter Shergold have been studying the Coalition's election promises. Joe Hockey says the Opposition is absolutely sure that not only our numbers stack up, but our policies are deliverable. But Treasurer Chris Bowen says a panel is no substitute for submitting policies to Treasury for costing.
The latest opinion polls show Labor's bid to retain government is in trouble, with key party figures trailing in their seats.
The country has been in campaign mode for so long that perhaps voters barely noticed the difference when Kevin Rudd formalised the whole thing. As a consequence, maybe this campaign had run its race before it started.
If that's the case, then Tony Abbott will be the beneficiary.
To this point, Abbott is the one looking ebullient and confident, seemingly enjoying every moment of the campaign, while Rudd seems flat in his daily interviews, as if he has the weight of the world on his shoulders.
Neither leader, it seems, thought he needed to go out and set an aggressive agenda.
It looks as if Rudd was relying on Abbott's unpopularity, his lack of vision and detail, and his propensity to screw up; while Abbott was happy to wait until Rudd's past caught up with him.
Hopefully, there is more to it than that. There are still three weeks to go.
Plenty of time for the trivia to give way to the substance. But it won't if the substance remains elusive.
Kevin Rudd’s campaign, it appears, is in trouble. The polls are slowly drifting away from Labor. There are reports of tensions between campaign HQ and the Rudd team on the road. The Coalition campaign is slipping back into arrogance, almost mocking calls for the release of their policy costings.
Part of this, however, is the strange shift in expectations since Rudd was restored to the Labor leadership. Before his restoration, I never spoke to a single Labor MP who claimed that Rudd could win the election. What they were convinced of was that Julia Gillard was going to lead them to a catastrophic defeat, while Rudd would be likely to limit the damage. The idea of Rudd winning was a long shot, something that might have been a possibility, but not one to count on.
The media narrative, however, is that Rudd is stuffing up his chances of winning, that his alleged popularity isn’t translating into votes, that his return was just a “sugar hit”.
New South Wales voters will have to contend with more than 100 candidates and a ballot paper that is more than a metre long when they vote for the Senate at next month's federal election.
That was a disgrace. One of these men is going to be our prime minister on 8 September and neither had a fresh policy, a new idea or a new line to offer. Everything has been heard before. Even the evasions were familiar. Imagine three more years of these men talking at each other.
The win or lose question between now and polling day may be this: which of these two can you still bear to listen to when you know they're both talking blather? My answer is Tony Abbott.
He pays exaggerated attention. He's crisp. Even though his answer isn't an answer, at some point he stops. With Kevin Rudd, that's touch and go. More than once last night the Press Club, indeed the nation, was hanging on the bell.
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