With the campaign proper well under way the Coalition and Labor Gravy trains are really getting up a head of steam.

Yesterday Prime Minister John Howard was delivering $4 billion in goodies to the nation’s oldies with increased allowances to help pay their gas and electricity bills of pensioners. Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd could not match that total for the day but Labor did its best with no less than six separate spending promises.

The previous day Mr Rudd was the big spender with his Affordable Child Care Plan described as a $1.5 billion investment in the future of Australian families. Mr Howard might have been able to claim that “mine is bigger than yours” but felt unable to put an exact price tag on the Climate Change Fund he promised as a key element of his emissions trading scheme. But believe the PM; a substantial proportion of emissions trading revenues will be re-invested in climate change and related initiatives.

There was perhaps one clue in this week’s announcements to one area that Labor sees as a trouble spot no matter how well the pollsters say the party is doing nationally. Anthony Albanese, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Water, saw fit to re-announce the Western Australian Infrastructure Fund to invest $100 million a year in State infrastructure projects for the next 20 years.

Labor Senate Leader Chris Evans promised this Fund back in February when the Party became concerned that its new leader Kevin Rudd was not having the impact in WA that he had managed to achieve over east. Mr Rudd himself did a little re-announcement during a press interview on 11 October and Labor has already been showing a television advertisement promising that the State will “get its fair share” of Canberra’s benefits from the mining boom.

 

Our Crikey election website has full details of the Coalition’s and Labor’s Grass Roots Gravy Trains.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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