Sep 1, 2013

Rudd launch swings focus back to jobs and training

Kevin Rudd used Labor's campaign launch to get back to basics in a campaign that had lost its focus.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Kevin Rudd campaign launch Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has used Labor’s Brisbane campaign launch to swing the focus back to jobs, with a suite of election announcements on employment, training and, particularly, apprenticeship. The centerpiece of Rudd’s pitch was an extension of small business tax deductions to $10,000, costing $200 million over four years - the only fiscal commitment of substance from the launch. Rudd also threatened to direct TAFE funding directly to institutions in the face of state government funding cuts, ultimately with the goal of establishing a Commonwealth-funded technical education network, a proposal that brought warm cheers from the Labor faithful in attendance. He also announced a new “Job Services Guarantee” for job seekers that would tailor job retraining services to local jobs, overseen by new “Jobs and Training Boards” across 42 regions. Labor will also extend Industry Participation Plans to all projects worth more than $300 million dollars, imposing more local content and participation requirements on large projects, as well as additional apprenticeship requirements on projects majority-funded by the Commonwealth. There will also be additional assistance to apprentices for tools. The detailed focus on jobs is an abrupt return to earlier campaign themes after two weeks of policy limbo in which Rudd dabbled with big picture thought bubbles relating to Northern Australia, relocating the Navy to Brisbane, high speed rail and economic xenophobia. All of that was abandoned for a focus on jobs and existing Labor policies on the NBN and, primarily, education. It also returns Labor’s flagging campaign to the same territory outlined by Julia Gillard earlier in the year when she set local jobs, education funding and what became DisabilityCare as Labor’s central campaign themes. The launch, a relatively low-key event in a town hall-style setting, was warmed up by Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese with the now-traditional attack dog routine, before Thérèse Rein introduced her husband. Rudd delivered a strong, sharp performance that  -- almost certainly too late – returned Labor’s campaign to where it is strongest both in terms of its record in government and where voters see it on economic management – as the party more likely to seek to protect Australian jobs. Rudd also sought to capitalize on lingering doubts Tony Abbott, urging voters to not back him if they were still unsure about him. Overall, however, the atmosphere of celebration and expectation that accompanied last week’s Coalition launch was matched with a downbeat feel among the Labor attendees, despite the presence of former leaders Hawke and Keating at the launch; Rudd singled out both as well as Julia Gillard for their key contributions to modern Australia via Medicare, superannuation and DisabilityCare. "Let's go out there and win this election," Albanese urged attendees as Rudd left the stage; the prevailing feeling is that they have a huge task ahead of them with less than a week to go.

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11 thoughts on “Rudd launch swings focus back to jobs and training

  1. Richard Wagcock

    The sun is setting on the LabGreen empire only to give us John Howard Mk II who will win at least three elections and give Crikey something to really whine about. And the more they whine the more proof it will be that Abbott has governed well. Australian politics is about to go into cruise control for ten years. Is the next Labor PM even in the Parliament yet?

  2. Atalanta44

    @ Richard,

    Touch of wishful thinking there, mate. Abbott will be a one term PM and the Liberal PM that dashes the Lib’s prospects of re-election for the next 20 years.

  3. Suzanne Blake

    @ Richard Wagcock

    I agree. Labor may not even survive in its present form, after the Union investigations and changing workforce.

  4. Robyn Allcock

    Well I hope he is Richard because the Coalition has no idea what it intends to do – or even what it can do. We haven’t heard a whisper of consistency throughout their campaign, save the screeching of Murdoch’s attack dog.

  5. Hamis Hill

    Wall To Wall Liberals (Don’t you dare mention such a result, Bernard)is surely a recipe for excess.
    Beyond the imagination of the media apparently?
    Not part of the “Narrative”.
    I mean are journalists so innumerate that they cannot even count up the number of Liberal administrations in Australia?
    And then add an Abbott one?
    God help Australia when the agents of capital are nowhere balanced by the agents of labour.
    It will be low wages, low savings and high interest rates under Abbott, an economic idiot with no concept of balance.
    Will Australians be sucked into this maelstrom of media polling lies or will they balance state Liberal administrations with a federal Labor government?
    Wall to Wall Liberals? Don’t Take the Risk!

  6. bushby jane

    I haven’t really worked out what is wrong with long-term far-away thought bubbles, they are what creates progress like the Snowy River Hydro Scheme, Opera House, etc.
    We are all terrified of an Abbott govt.

  7. Sharkie

    Govern well? Whatever Richard Wagcock.
    Abbott says he will do what he’s promised. If that’s the case, we are looking at a government that is straight out barking mad. Here’s 10 absurd policies that Abbott promises to bring in.
    1. Buy back the boats. 750,000 boats. thousands of fishing villages, no Indonesia government approval and Indo fisherman lining up rubbing their hands with glee. Not even Hanson is loopy enough to suggest this garbage.
    2. PPS: Idiotic policy that punishes big business and cement structural deficits into budgets from now until a government has the balls to drop it.
    3. Direct Action: Absurd Corporate welfare that will be used for pork barrelling marginal electorates and payback Liberal Party donors. No accountability in terms of environmental outcomes.
    4. boarding merchant vessels at gunpoint to stop asylum seekers reaching Australia: Can you spell p-i-r-a-c-y?
    5. Cutting back instant right offs for small business. Friends of small business my backside.
    6. Heading off to Indonesia to lecture SBY on boats. Hello Tony, your going to walk away with nothing behaving that way.
    7. Rehashing Reaganomics in combination with Euro style Austerity measures. Economic madness. Pure and simple.
    8. 3rd rate broadband that relies on one private company to deliver it. “Hello Mr Abbott, welcome to Telstra HQ. Step into my office. We have a truly crappy deal for the Australian tax payer”.
    9. Endless spending on capital city roads with highly dubious economic benefits.
    10. Provide support for some of the most batsh$t crazy and just plain thick backbenchers and wannabe MPs in history. Y$es I’m talking about virtually every candidate wanting to win a seat of Labor for the Libs in Western Sydney.
    It’s just not the stuff Abbott isn’t telling the voters. the dog’s breakfast he has promised is frightening enough.

  8. smallvox

    The best of Abbott’s policies are the ones he has taken from Labor: schools, NDIS, NBN. You know, the big vision things. The worst policies are all his own work: PPL, leaky boat buyback, Operation Desert Storm at Sea (or whatever).
    If we must endure an Abbott Prime Ministership, at least we we can be fairly confident he will have the shortest honeymoon period on record. Already people are holding their noses at the thought of voting for him.

  9. Scott

    Don’t despair people.. The Abbott government will neither be as bad or as good as you believe. Like every other government before it, it will have moments of brilliance and episodes of incompetence.

  10. mattsui

    Furniture saved, job done.
    Will Rudd have the patience to sit on the opposition benches? Or will he gotta zip (along with, one presumes, a large number of former cabinet ministers)?

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