The Prime Minister trotted out one of the most predictable lines in politics when he talked to Laurie Oakes on Sunday. Oppositions are always “inexperienced”. But there’s a flipside. Governments, an equal cliche says, are tired and out of touch.

Kevin Rudd is bouncing about like an Energizer Bunny at the moment, busy banging his drum. Just look at his Ross Garnaut climate-change paper announcement from yesterday. He’s showing that he can set agendas. He’s showing that he won’t stop until he gets to the Lodge.

But he also gave an interesting demonstration of what might be possible with Labor in power in Canberra and all the states and territories. Garnaut has been commissioned by the states and territories and federal Labor to study the economic impact of climate change — yet it was Rudd’s announcement.

Yesterday, I observed Labor “is pleased with its performance, but terrified of messing up”. That’s precisely their problem. The party should be focussing on Howard and his failings, not on themselves.

But demonstrating alternatives also shows confidence and competence.

Energizer Bunny Rudd should keep banging away.

Peter Fray

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