Peter Costello had a little fun with Kevin Rudd’s manufacturing and industry plans in Question Time yesterday.

The Labor Party, he noted, had reached a fork in the road – and was now trying to follow both routes:

On the one hand they would like to say we are modern and we embrace the Hawke and the Keating reforms but on the other hand we’d like to return to stone age, to the pre-Hawke and Keating age with industry policy which is code for being anti-economic reform.

So when I heard Mr Rudd say that I realised he had walked to the fork in the road and one leg wants to go down one side and the other wants to go the other side. He is not going to find he can get too far down two roads.

Very cute, Treasurer – and true. Labor’s gone back to the anvil. Manufacturing and industry plans. They did this in 1996, too.

Kevin Rudd has form from his days in the Queensland Cabinet Office for resisting the national competition policy and national energy markets.

If he really wants industry plans, here’s some he could try: get rid of the Foreign Investment Review Board, open all air routes to full competition and privatise Australia Post.

And he should keep an eye on Simon Crean. Having a former ACTU head who still believes in corporatism around doesn’t do much for an image of renewal.

Peter Fray

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