I have the impression with Kevin Rudd that he actually is what he seems to be: an intelligent and thinking analyst of problems who will try and find sensible solutions.

Those in the Labor Party who are hoping that Peter Garrett’s flippant remark about abandoning the cautious promises after victory turns out to be true will probably be disappointed. This Prime Minister is unlikely to be a great risk taker.

Uppermost in Mr Rudd’s mind is sure to be the knowledge that an economic climate in which interest rates are rising presents the one problem with the potential to make his a oncer of a government. His first task will be to identify if it is indeed possible to keep the me-too promises on things like income tax cuts without forcing the Reserve Bank to act harshly.

Get ready for a variation on the common theme of new administrations: that on examination of the books it has found that things are much worse than the defeated government had revealed and that therefore some promises will have to be abandoned and others postponed.

A statement something like:

… we believed the assurances of Messrs John Howard and Peter Costello that their spending proposals could be afforded without being inflationary.

They, after all, were the ones privy to the advice of Treasury officials although we prudently kept our own spending plans many billions of dollars below theirs.

The Secretary of the Treasury has now informed us that they in fact gave no such advice and that tax cuts and spending on the scale envisaged would result in monetary policy throttling home buyers and the economy in general.

Therefore it is with deep regret, but with the best interests of the nation at heart, that…

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey