Rudd’n’Gillard vs Beazley – the contest was decided in favour of the youngun 49-39 after a weekend of frenetic telephone work and media appearances. Kim was “determined to beat Howard” and Kevin and Julia made an apparently happy political couple, though Henry could not help feeling a bit ill when she turned that mock adoring gaze on him or held a door open for him. Presumably these were temporary expedients.

Labor has chosen the new young team, and we offer some suggestions for New Labor’s economic policies.

The question for Comrades Rudd and Gillard is who is going to take the fight on the economy to the Gummint? Will it be Gillard, Tanner or one of the roosters?

It’s not as if Labor lacks relevant issues. The inexorable rise in interest rates is one, and if a rate rise occurs in 2007 Labor should be ready to get stuck right in. Then there is the budget surplus, which will slow with a slowing economy. We have had no substantial cuts to incentive-sapping rates of income tax despite the resource boom of the century – if Rudd’n’Gillard can embrace tax reform they can make a lot of this argument. And there is climate change – some positive policies on Australia’s great water shortage would be a great start, and support for cleaning up coal-fired power stations and further work on the nuclear option should be a close second.

Workplace skills are far more important than how workplace relations are regulated, and this brings us to education and training rather than attempting Rollback on the IR system.

And if some overarching light on the hill is deemed sensible, what about emphasis on the fair go for all? Instead of expressions of outrage at the remuneration of highly paid corporate plutocrats, they should be encouraged to spend real time and resource on public service. Rudd’n’Gillard could also produce a policy to ramp up philanthropy, such a positive force in the USA but much rarer here.

More reading at Henry Thornton

Peter Fray

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