It's a curious slogan for a government that has held power for six years. But Kevin Rudd and the Labor Party will go to the 2013 election promising Australians ''A New Way''.
Labor's slogan – which has been fashioned into a new party logo – is an acknowledgement that Australians are fed up with the bitter past three years of a hung parliament, campaign insiders say.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at his press conference confirming the September 7 poll date. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
The Coalition, running with the slogan ''Choose Real Change'', is already undermining Labor's new positioning.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said on Sunday afternoon that Australia did not need ''another three years like this six years that it's just had''. Labor was the party of ''faceless men'' who had lost control of the budget and Australia’s borders, he added.
In a sign that the 2013 election campaign will be increasingly waged on the internet, both major parties issued fund-raising emails to supporters immediately after Mr Rudd visited Governor-General Quentin Bryce to ask her to dissolve parliament and call the election for September 7.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott responds to news the election has been called for September 7.
Mr Rudd’s email asked supporters to “chip in $5” while the Liberal Party asked for $1 a day over 34 days of the election campaign.
To launch its campaign, Labor is preparing an advertising blitz this week with 60-second television commercials (double the standard duration) and a “heavy spend on digital,” a source close to the campaign said.
“We’re going to spend a whole lot more money on digital [than in previous campaigns],” the source said.
Like Labor, the Coalition will spend significantly more than it has ever done on digital advertising. A senior campaign source also claimed the party would spend more money on “positive” television commercials than it would on negative advertising.
Having spent the past three years on the backbench, Mr Rudd is using his status as a Labor outsider to position himself as a “hope” and “change” candidate, similar to the way US President Barack Obama ran for office in 2008.
Borrowing a line from former prime minister John Howard, Mr Rudd asked voters who they could “trust” to manage a difficult economic transition with Australia’s economy no longer able to rely on China’s growth to fund the mining boom.
Responding to Mr Rudd’s “trust” line, Mr Abbott said the election would be about who is “more fair dinkum”.
“The people who have been stable and consistent for the last three years or a government which has been wracked by division and dysfunction?”
Returning to the prime minister’s courtyard, the scene of his emotional 2010 press conference when he lost his job to Julia Gillard, Mr Rudd set about framing the Mr Abbott as a negative politician who is anchored in the past.
Australians faced a choice between a “new way for the future . . . as opposed to the old negative politics and three-word slogans of the past”.