In a special election campaign series, Crikey is taking the questions being asked by the entire nation to a our specially convened panel of cab drivers from around the country.

Today we asked: With yesterday’s promise of wide ranging tax cuts, has the government fired its best shot too early?

Bruce Tootall, Melbourne: I think that was an opening salvo but we don’t know what the other shots are. They’re probably going to get a little bit out of it but there might be a lot more shots. They could start talking about Rudd’s wife’s weight problems. That’s why he went to that strip club. But in spending that much on the first day, maybe they’re trying to get the pendulum swinging back their way. If you suddenly improve in the opinion polls, maybe the simpleton followers will say, “Oooh, everyone likes these people all of a sudden,” and the snowball might just keep on rolling. Maybe they needed something to start the snowball rolling.

Michael Jools, Sydney: It’s preaching to the converted and yes, it’s way too early. What else can they come up with? Looking at the finer print, the lower paid workers aren’t getting a benefit at all. Once again, it’s a handout to the converted. From a financial point of view, tax breaks at the lower end are going to benefit more people so I think they’ve targeted it all wrong.

Alex Hryciw, Adelaide: Yes, I think they have. The people see that it’s bait — that’s all it is, bait. One of my customers said to me yesterday that it’s immaterial what they give you in tax cuts. They give it to you with one hand and take it out with the other. This is a bloke who is on a pension who says even time he gets a raise of $2 they take $4 out. A lot of my clients are senior citizens or crippled and are on welfare because of their situation, and every time they get a tax break, they get the money taken out elsewhere. It’s annoying to them because they see none of the money they get promised. Let’s see what Ruddy brings out, eh?

Paul Henderson, Gold Coast: I think Mr Rudd and Mr Costello are trying to blast Rudd out of the water. They were using the wow factor and a big tax carrot. Rudd and Labor were a bit deer-in-the-headlights and didn’t know how to combat it at first. Spending that much all at once certainly doesn’t leave room for errors of judgment in their coming policy announcements. It’s hard to imagine they’re going to go another six weeks without making any more big announcements.

Eddie Diab, Sydney: I can’t answer that but I think it was a farewell gift from Mr Howard. I don’t think Rudd will make government so I’m not expecting a similar gift from him.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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