In response to Peter Black
LOOMING out of the pre-dawn darkness yesterday in Kevin Rudd’s home electorate of Griffith was a formidable sight that would have sent a sliver of ice into the Prime Minister’s heart, had he looked out the window during one of his famous periods of insomnia.
The three nuggety, super-fit men jogging together along the Brisbane River at 5.30am were the trio who have combined to attack Rudd in his heartland.
Dr Bill Glasson, the respected eye surgeon who is the Coalition’s candidate in Griffith, Campbell Newman, the Queensland Premier, and Tony Abbott, the federal Opposition Leader.
Welcome to the The Conversation 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 “face” of Australia: what we currently look like, and how and why asylum seekers and immigration issues dominate our political debate.
As well as giving Labor its best chance of winning back Forde, I would expect that Beattie’s return could help attract vital extra votes in other fiercely contested Brisbane electorates, including Bonner, Blair and Brisbane.
But this will not be an easy run for Beattie. His opponent is the sitting Liberal National Party member, Bert van Manen, who won the seat in the 2010 election with a 1.6% margin. He is a very personable local man, whose social conservatism will no doubt appeal to many constituents who will continue to support him.
Based on my experience of campaigning alongside him, Beattie’s entry into the race could be a game changer for Queensland – and possibly for the wider federal election. Whatever the outcome, it’s certainly become one of the seats to watch.
While betting odds show the Coalition remains on track for a long-expected election victory, they also reveal Labor is within striking distance.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's campaign team aborted a visit to the crucial seat of Lindsay after sitting member David Bradbury's radio meltdown yesterday.
Yesterday's Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Outlook (PEFO) statement should be renamed the piffle statement: it is a triumph of hope over experience, guesses over reality.
Despite the fact that both parties are promising to increase spending and to not cut anywhere - beyond relatively minor "efficiency dividends" from the public service - and to not increase taxes, but instead to cut them, Treasury is forecasting that spending growth will drop suddenly from 8 per cent a year to less than 4 per cent from now on, and that revenue growth will increase from 4 per cent a year to 6.5 per cent.
It is pure fantasy and virtually guarantees that the budget will remain in deficit.
"Indigenous recognition will 'complete constitution', says Tony Abbott" pjblack.me/1cVhB2u #ausvotes #auspol #auscon #lwb242
Voters in Anthony Albanese's Sydney seat desert the minor party as support in even inner-city strongholds falls away
The economy is by far the most important election issue for Australian voters, according to preliminary results from the ABC's policy comparison tool, Vote Compass.
The first Leader’s Debate is now confirmed for 6:30pm Sunday, to be held at the National Press Club in Canberra.
Shadow Education Minister Christopher Pyne has claimed that YouTube pulled a Labor ad from its website for breaching YouTube's terms of service, but it was actually pulled down due to a copyright claim from the Liberal party.
So now Beattie is back, in a decision that must override his 2007 prediction that his wife Heather would actually murder him if he re-entered politics. All going well, and assuming the star candidate remains maritally un-stabbed, The Toothy One is scheduled to appear with Prime Minister Whatevs in Brisbane today, thanks to a hasty detour for the VIP jet.
Remember the scene in Ghostbusters where they crossed the streams? In an incredibly risky and untried manoeuvre involving mutually awesome and potentially explosively incompatible super-human forces?
Well, that's sort of what's going on here.
When Rudd and Beattie campaign together today in Brisbane, prepare to go into Shamelessness Overdrive, as the man who wants to be elected to fix the federal messes he created meets the man who was re-elected several times in Queensland vowing, in effect, to get tough on himself.
It's audacious. It's desperate. It's opportunistic. It may not work.
And God help the universe if it does.
Labor attacks 'alright on the night' approach to costings as Abbott refuses to specify which measures will pay for cut
The probability that Labor’s current TPP support lies below its 2010 result (50.12%) is 99.6%.
This means we're seeing the lowest level of Labor TPP support since Rudd returned to the leadership. According to older figures from the same model, Labor’s post-Gillard TPP peak was 49.7% on 6 July.
I should caution against over-interpreting the precision that appears to accompany my model-based poll average. Modelling requires simplification and assumptions; I’ve detailed these methods in a longer piece that will accompany the poll of polls results elsewhere on the Guardian Australia site.
For now, we might argue about the exact level, but it is reasonably clear that Labor has “come off the boil”, as they are down by about 1.5 percentage points from the post-Gillard high recorded in the first two weeks after Rudd’s return.
48.2% TPP or thereabouts will see the Coalition win reasonably comfortably. Rudd and Labor have a month to try to move the TPP needle back closer to 50-50.
The Coalition has pulled ahead of Labor with 52 per cent support to Labor's 48 per cent during the first week of an election campaign pitched by both sides as a referendum on economic management.
Maybe his initially sombre demeanour as he stood by Rudd was because he was quietly contemplating his nine-year tenure as Queensland premier, which started solidly then started fraying at the seams.
In his last budget before flicking the hospital pass to Anna Bligh in September 2007, it was revealed that state debt would rise considerably. Two years later, Queensland lost its AAA credit rating. Gordon Nuttall, a minister in the Beattie government, was jailed for corruption in 2009, while Bill D'arcy, a Labor MP under Beattie's watch, was jailed for sex offences. Most of a $10 billion desalination and recycling plant for south-east Queensland ended up being mothballed.
Trains purchased by his government unfortunately didn't fit through tunnels, and Beattie's electricity reforms have seen household electricity bills skyrocket. That's another reason Beattie could have looked a little sheepish by Rudd's side: in his first National Press Club address, re-minted Rudd nominated energy prices for households as one of his primary targets of attack.
But perhaps Beattie's most reflective moments, before the cheering and cheerios started after the Queensland political pair stepped out of the parallel universe in which they'd clearly held their press conference, were about the many times he'd derided the man who'd recruited him to federal candidacy.
The two major parties have agreed to the first leaders' debate of the federal election campaign, to be held on Sunday night at the National Press Club in Canberra.
Beattie offers more to Labor than adding Forde to the Labor column. If re-elected, Labor will have a serious shortage of ministerial experience with the post-Gillard exodus. This is a party, after all, that now has Jacinta Collins in cabinet. Beattie will bring political smarts, cynical opportunism and leadership experience to the frontbench, as well as boosting the quality of Queensland’s representation — there are currently no other Queenslanders in Rudd’s cabinet than himself. It also means it’s less likely Rudd will dominate cabinet like he did during his first prime ministership, when he didn’t have two long-serving Labor premiers at the table.
And in the likely event that Labor loses, it will have two men who’ve won from opposition in its ranks even if Rudd departs. Both Bob Carr and Beattie built premierships on crushing their conservative opponents, the sort of ruthless mentality that has been sorely lacking from federal Labor since 2009.
The leader of the Liberal party is fiercely competitive, compulsive in his degree of effort. He's personable and affable, attentive to the needs of people around him. But he's also driven. He can present as unyielding.
Abbott carries his competitive tension in his physique, in his idiosyncratic gait. He's a politician who has to check himself when rough housing with kids on school visits, who has to bite his tongue so as not to give gratuitous advice to an eight-year-old about how to improve a rugby league pass. This would not be an admonition but a reflection of Abbott's own driven impulse to get better, fitter, faster, more dexterous.
The competitor for Abbott is not just the person he's running alongside, the person debating him across the dispatch box, the combatant on the other side of the culture war. As I observed after watching him at close range in the 2010 election campaign, it's also the man in the mirror. This must be the curse of the ultra-competitive person. A shadow of failure follows such people, relentless in that alternative scenario, the uncomfortable one, in which someone else wins and they lose. It's OK if you shred your pants and meet your objective. No matter, get new pants. But shredding the pants and falling short? Intolerable.
Abbott's transition from the feckless freewheeling of his ministerial days in the Howard years to the disciplined political character of today is as much a story about self-abnegation as it is an affirmation of thrusting personal ambition.
(1) To make a politically unpopular statement;
(2) [retrospectively applied] To make a statement which appears inconsistent with a more recent statement, indicating that its maker has changed his or her position subsequent to the making of the statement in question;
(3) [obsolete] To intentionally convey a false impression;
(4) [obsolete] To deliberately intend to deceive by making a false or untrue statement.
who cares if he did?: "Tony Abbott's office denies purchasing Twitter followers after numbers spike" pjblack.me/1bm1kSH #ausvotes
Economic management and trust have been the dominating themes of the election so far, but it hasn't all been serious.
The Opposition has lashed out at the Government's decision to continue an ad blitz about its asylum seeker policy, accusing it of trashing the caretaker conventions. The ad campaign warns asylum seekers they no longer have the option of being settled in Australia if they arrive by boat. Special Minister of State Mark Dreyfus has given approval for the ads to continue to run in Australia and overseas, despite the election campaign being in full swing.
"Sophie Mirabella being 'thoroughly outgunned' in election, her aide warns" pjblack.me/1cOOkqa #ausvotes #auspol
Leaked email warns of challenge from independent candidate and urges party members to write to papers praising Mirabella
If elected, Peter Beattie will be the 31st Premier to transfer from state to Federal politics.
It is only day four of the Australian election campaign and there have already been two high-profile campaign gaffes. From America to England and back to Australia no campaign trail would be complete without some stuff-ups – and they have not necessarily been disasters for every politician involved.
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