We’ve said it before, but it’s worthwhile repeating again: Kevin Rudd is at his best when he comes across as an alternative prime minister, not as the opposition leader.

It’s very easy for Crikey cosmopolitans to sneer at the Labor leader’s announcement that he wants the competition watchdog to launch an inquiry into the prices charged by supermarkets.

Yes, Rudd knows that the Bureau of Statistics has a team of people out there all the time recording supermarket prices, and that usefully they actually publish all the data they collect in something called “the consumer price index”.

And, yes, it’s going to be hard to give much credence to these amateur-hour prices surveys Rudd is talking about. Imagine the quality. And their interpretation. Groceries up; flat-screen TVs down. Who is better-off/worse-off?

But, with fruit and vegetable prices spiking by 15 per cent in the past three months, Labor is attempting to capitalise on what it believes is the underlying anxiety of voters who feel they are not sharing in the benefits of a buoyant national economy.

And it’s worked. The reception couldn’t have been better.

This is the sort of subject governments really can’t do anything about. They know it. So they don’t – other than make a few meek noises on petrol prices.

But it’s the sort of thing that works wonderfully for oppositions. And the timing couldn’t have been better.

Australians have given the PM marks for trying with his intervention in indigenous Australia, but most are either cynical on the subject or just don’t care.

This is much closer to home. The Parrot has been squawking away on this for ages now. And guess who was scheduled to go on his show this morning?

That nice Mr Rudd. The housewife’s choice.

Get Crikey for $1 a week.

Lockdowns are over and BBQs are back! At last, we get to talk to people in real life. But conversation topics outside COVID are so thin on the ground.

Join Crikey and we’ll give you something to talk about. Get your first 12 weeks for $12 to get stories, analysis and BBQ stoppers you won’t see anywhere else.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
12 weeks for just $12.