The campaign rolls on but Day 2 is drawing to a close.
What did we learn today?
- Kevin Rudd doesn't mind getting up extra early to have a debate;
- Tony Abbott is still committed to scrapping the carbon tax (still);
- The Reserve Bank cut the cash rate to 2.5 per cent, leading Labor to call it good news and the Coalition to label it bad;
- Campaigning can be a tricky business, particularly when it comes to tricky interview questions (see Jaymes Diaz and David Bradbury);
- John Howard has adjusted to life after politics and thinks Mr Abbott is ready to be PM; and
- Mr Rudd thinks Rupert Murdoch is entitled to his views in a democracy.
Many thanks for joining me, Andrew Meares and Alex Ellinghausen and thanks to all who commented. Stephanie Peatling will be back tomorrow! Until then.
Much earlier this morning (see 9.19am post), we touched on the "debate about the debates".
Fairfax reporter Daniel Hurst has been on the case this afternoon to see if there is any update on the negotiations between the parties ... and it turns out there is not.
At the moment, Kevin Rudd has suggested a debate every week of the campaign. The Liberal Party is proposing a National Press Club debate this Sunday and then two community forums.
Transcibing is a tedious business and one of the occupational hazards of the political game. The Coalition must be in a benevolent mood, however, because they have gone to the trouble of transcribing an interview Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury did with Sydney's Smooth FM's Glenn Daniel this morning.
The interview was about interest rates but managed to get quite heated (if you think Mr Bradbury asking for the reporter's surname and if he was member of the Liberal Party equals quite heated).
The Assistant Treasurer was trying to make the case that the Coalition believes in higher interest rates. Mr Daniel was taking issue with this, suggesting it was twisting a comment into a fact.
Mr Bradbury holds the Sydney seat of Lindsay with a margin of 1.1 per cent.
Tony Wright has filed this piece from Brisbane which includes Kevin Rudd's frequent habit of "hair flicking".
The manouvre - which Tony describes as "dipping his head and the right hand sweeping the silvery fringe back" - has also caught the attention of the Young Liberal Movement today.
They have gone to the effort of collating Mr Rudd's flicks in a Gen Y-friendly video.
Before the campaign started, Fairfax Media reported that Labor was shipping in Obama-honed digital experts who could pounce on bloopers within minutes. Seems like they aren't the only ones.
Kevin Rudd left his media contingent (that is attached to him during the campaign) in Brisbane when he came back to Canberra for the War Memorial event. The Age national affairs editor Tony Wright tells me that they are now waiting around to take a flight to an undisclosed location this evening.
Sydney Morning Herald sketch writer Jacqueline Maley is travelling with Mr Abbott. She has been told she is travelling somewhere "cold" tonight (Antarctica?).
Election campaigns are not called magical mystery tours for nothing.
Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott are now at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra for the opening of an exhibition on the Afghanistan War.
Afghanistan: The Australian Story presents the "experiences of servicemen and women in Afghanistan and the Middle East Area of Operations and reveals the dedication and loneliness of their families who wait at home".
Both leaders are expected to make comments after attending a Last Post ceremony.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd his wife Therese Rein and Opposition leader Tony Abbott laying wreaths during the last post ceremony. Photo: Melissa Adams
There were reports this morning (see 11.33am post) that former Rudd economic man Andrew Charlton may be Labor's candidate in the seat of Dobell - where the ALP is struggling to find someone to stand for "a new way".
But The Sydney Morning Herald's Daisy Dumas now reports that Dr Charlton has pulled out.
It is understood he was seriously considering the option but has stepped back because of family matters.
Joe Hockey said the Coalition will provide costed policies but it will not provide "rash forecasts" like Labor.
"We will own the economy from day one, whether it's Labor's fault or not," he said.
Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey speaks to the media at Parliament House in Canberra. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Joe Hockey said that interest rates would always be lower under the Coalition than they are under Labor (because the Coalition would manage the economy better).
But he says that they are at record "emergency" lows now becuase the economy is struggling.
There may be a bit of cake having and eating it too going on here.
No bullying ... Joe Hockey. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
From Canberra, shadow treasurer Joe Hockey said that the cut in interest rates would be welcomed by Australians "that live every day with the burden of debt".
But he said government debt was rising, as was the unemployment rate.
"It's damn hard to pay off a mortgage if you haven't got a job," Mr Hockey said.
He said that if the economy was performing well, the RBA would not have moved today.
Last week's economic statement said that the jobless rate would climb above 6 per cent this year and next - putting more Australians out of work than at any time during the global financial crisis.
Treasurer Chris Bowen - who handed down the government's economic statement just last Friday - has also used the opportunity of his Sydney press conference to go after Joe Hockey on the Coalition's costings.
This morning on ABC Radio, the shadow treasurer repeated his scepticism of the Charter of Budget Honesty, which he argues has been "corrupted" by the Labor Party.
Mr Hockey said the Coalition will use the independent Parliament Budget Office to cost Coalition policies as well as other experts, "to make sure that our numbers are far more robust than Labor has had".
Mr Hockey also told The Guardian Australia that because the government's figures were not credible, the Coalition would not be "adding up" its policies to forecast a deficit or surplus.
Mr Bowen says the shadow treasurer is committing "not to producing properly costed policies".
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has also been going after Tony Abbott on the Coalition's budget bottom line. Labor's claim that the Coalition has a $70 billion budget black hole was rated as "false" by Politifact yesterday.
Treasurer Chris Bowen has welcomed the rate cut announced this afternoon, saying Australian families and businesses knew it was a "good thing".
"How negative has this opposition become that they seek to paint a reduction in interest rates ... as a bad thing?" he says from Sydney.
Mr Bowen says the cut means that a family with a "standard" mortage of $300,000 will pay about $500 less per month than when the Coalition was last in office.
As The Age's Economics Editor Tim Colebatch wrote today, the future of the car industry is looking increasingly uncertain. It is also another policy flashpoint for the campaign.
Industry Minister Kim Carr pledged a further $200 million of unspecified funding for car manufacturing on Monday as Opposition Leader Tony Abbott stood by his long-held decision to cut $500 million from support to the industry.
Labor and the Coalition are also clashing over the Rudd government's recently announced crack down on fringe benefits tax.
The Coalition's Industry spokeswoman Sophie Mirabella weighed in to the car funding debate this afternoon with a media release that would win a gold at the Tongue Twist Olympics.
"Carr's Car Con Confusion" it begins, before pointing out differences between Labor's targets to have more Australian made cars sold in Australia.
Seriously, try saying that a few times really quick.
It will be economic analyses at 2.5 paces this afternoon. Treasurer Chris Bowen is due to hold a 3.30pm press conference in Sydney. Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey is in Canberra and will also comment. Expect a continuation of the debate over whether the rate cut is a sign of economic health or failure (see posts at 12.42pm and 12.56pm).
Fairfax Economics Correspondent Peter Martin explains the reasons behind the rate cut by the Reserve Bank.
This afternoon's rate cut is not the first move during an election campaign. The Reserve Bank pushed up rates during the 2007 campaign.
Rates have only been formally announced since 1990, so it is possible that they have been cut during earlier election campaigns. However, today's rate cut will be the first that can be identified during a federal campaign.
Election campaign rate cut.
Coalition leader Tony Abbott has been pursuing Labor and the Greens over the "squalid deal" they did in 2010 in order for Labor to form government. As soon as the election was announced, Mr Abbott pledged that he would never head up a minority government.
Mr Rudd has said that Labor is out to secure majority government (an even tougher ask now that independents Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott are retiring).
But it is worth noting that in his recent book, Treasurer Chris Bowen said Labor should not enter into "formal agreements" with indies and minor parties like Julia Gillard did in 2010.
Either way, the Greens are decidedly unimpressed with the Coalition's calls. In Melbourne, Greens leader Christine Milne said the Liberal Party would not have enjoyed majority government without the Nationals.
"How many Australians have even heard of Warren Truss?" Senator Milne said of the Nationals leader.
No thanks, Kevin.
Went on the press gallery campaign bus. Offer to help write their stories was politely declined. KRudd pic.twitter.com/LR9QJTyeKQ— Kevin Rudd (@KRuddMP) August 6, 2013
These kids at Brisbane Adventist College look as though they'd love an autograph from Kevin Rudd.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd waves to chanting schoolchildren at Brisbane Adventist College. Photo: Andrew Meares Photo: Andrew Meares
John Howard doesn't appear to be all that sympathetic about what happened to Julia Gillard in June this year.
"Politics is a tough game," he observes, before noting that he found Ms Gillard "quite pleasant" when they met.
On that tough game theme, Mr Howard also told the audience at the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce event that not everybody who comes up and asks for an autograph ends up voting for you.
Kevin Rudd has (almost) taken a tumble on the bus in Brisbane. Thankfully, a cameraman was there to help out.
Is this an omen? Bumpy roads ahead? Back from the brink?
No doubt the parties would be able to spin it in several diverse ways.
A cameraman saves Prime Minister Kevin Rudd as he fell on the media bus as it rounded a bend in Brisbane Photo: Andrew Meares Photo: Andrew Meares
John Howard is giving a glowing character reference to prime ministerial hopeful, Tony Abbott.
Mr Howard says that his former colleague is "ready" for the big gig, adding he would be a "very thoughtful, strong and compassionate prime minister".
Mr Abbott has very high intelligence and is very interested in people, former PM Howard says.
Prime Minister and member for Griffith Kevin Rudd is trying on sunnies on the campaign bus in Queensland, as his former foe, John Howard lays into him on boat arrivals.
Mr Howard says Mr Rudd doesn't even have a "skerrick" of credibility on the issue, calling it the Prime Minister's "biggest policy failure".
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd trys on a pair of cameraman's sunglasses when travelling on the media bus in Brisbane Photo: Andrew Meares Photo: Andrew Meares
John Howard notes that he left the economy in superb shape in 2007.
He says that Australia still has a triple-A credit rating "despite" Kevin Rudd (to hoots of laughter from the audience).
Labor honcho Graham Richardson is in the audience at the event. It is not clear whether he laughed.
John Howard says he misses campaigning and is still "interested" in the scene. But says he has adjusted to the political afterlife.
Mr Howard must have more than a passing interest in the 2013 campaign - he lost the prime ministership and his seat of Bennelong in 2007 when Kevin Rudd came to power.
As the former PM observed with a wry smile, his political career ended "abruptly".
Former PM John Howard is talking at an Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce event at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney.
Mr Howard is a key mentor of Coalition leader Tony Abbott. Indeed, Mr Abbott has described himself as the political lovechild of Mr Howard and Coalition frontbencher Bronwyn Bishop.
Ms Bishop since observed it must have been an immaculate conception.
Still on matters economical, Kevin Rudd said that the Reserve Bank made its own decisions, but nonetheless still claimed some credit for Labor.
"Under this government, through the independent decisions of the Reserve Bank, we have had interest rates low by historical standards," he said.
Mr Rudd said that the Coalition's economic credentials were a "shambles".
However, he did not say, when asked, that interest rates would always be lower under Labor (an old favourite of former prime minister John Howard).
Mr Howard is due to make a speech in Sydney today from 1pm.
The economy is also (obviously) shaping up as one of the key battlegrounds of the campaign. Both sides have been positioning themselves ahead of an expected rate cut from the Reserve Bank at 2.30 pm today.
The current cash rate is 2.75 per cent and is tipped to go to 2.5 per cent.
The Coalition have been saying that low interest rates are - contrary to popular political wisdom - a bad thing.
As Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said on Tuesday: "If interest rates go down today, it won't be because the Reserve Bank says 'Yippee, isn't our economy in great shape,' it will be because the Reserve Bank thinks the economy is heading south."
Is that really so?
Fairfax economics correspondent Peter Martin has this FactChecker on the Coalition's claim that today's expected cut would be an emergency measure.
The 2013 election campaign is something of a "Who do you trust?" affair. Both leaders have said it's all about the T-word.
So ... who do you trust? We have a poll right here on that very question.
To help you decide, here's a video wrap on the major parties' first TV ads of the campaign.
We are expecting both Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott back in Canberra this afternoon for an exhibition on Afghanistan.
I know Canberra weather jokes are a bit passe, but all the same. You'd hardly call this tropical.
Wet weather in Canberra on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Clive Palmer, candidate for Fairfax, enters his car as Prime Minister Kevin Rudd enters his car after a debate in Brisbane.
Both Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott have made a pitch to supporters to give their respective campaigns some well-needed cashola. Mining magnate Clive Palmer does not appear to be as strapped for funds.
Mr Palmer showed up the Griffith debate earlier today in a slick little Mercedes - a far cry from Mr Rudd's dependable government wheels.
When Mr Palmer was asked how much of his own fortune was being spend on the Palmer United Party, he replied: "You'd have to ask my wife."
It may not come as an earth shattering surprise that Rupert Murdoch and Kevin Rudd are not exactly best pals.
News Corp had a "Kick this mob out" front page on Monday with a picture of Mr Rudd, and Mr Murdoch has recently posted a skeptical tweet about the NBN.
"Oz politics! We all like the ideal of NBN, especally perfect for Foxtel. But first how can it be financed in present situation?"
Mr Rudd brushed off the Murdoch barbs on Tuesday, observing that the media honcho was entitled to his views.
"In terms of his views, and his determination to see Mr Abbott elected as Prime Minister ... it's a free country, he's entitled to those views," the Prime Minister said.
"And I'm sure he can see them with crystal clear clarity all the way from the United States."
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd with Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at a media conferencebin in Brisbane. Photo: Andrew Meares
The Liberal Party's candidate for the Sydney seat of Greenway has had one of the first bloopers of the 2013 campaign.
As The Sydney Morning Herald reports, Jaymes Diaz had a particularly excrutiating interview with Channel Ten on Monday.
Mr Diaz had some issues remembering the six-points of the Coalition's six-point plan to stop the boats.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd wasn't keen to make hay out of the incident today, telling reporters that campaigns were a "rolling challenge" and that he was sure that some of Labor's candidates would make mistakes too.
Kevin Rudd has been asked about reports that his former economic advisor Andrew Charlton may stand for the ALP in Dobell.
Mr Rudd simply replies: "I'm sure we'll have a first class candidate by the time nominations close."
According to the AEC, nominations for the federal election close at 12 noon on August 15.
You may also remember Dr Charlton from the 2009 utegate affair and his run in with former Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull.
Kevin Rudd and Albo are putting the case that Labor offers a "new approach" for the future - pointing to Labor's investment in the NBN and commitment to Cross River Rail in Queensland as key indicators.
Notice how this ties into Labor's election campaign slogan, "a new way"? Tidy.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd with Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in Brisbane. Photo: Andrew Meares
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is checking that everyone is ready to rock n' roll in Brisbane.
Deputy Prime Minister Anthony "Albo" Albanese is by his side, along with Labor candidate Fiona McNamara.
The seat of Brisbane is held by Liberal National Party MP Teresa Gambaro on a margin of 1.1 per cent.
It's a seat the ALP well and truly have it's eye on.
The Twitter spam
Twitter isn't always a warm and fuzzy force - for anyone jumping for joy about 2013 being the social media election.
The Australian Electoral Commission found out the hard way after its Twitter account was hacked.
About 250 users were sent a span message this morning, which read: "I found a funny pic of you!"
The Age online reports that the AEC was taking "appropriate action" and that it was an "isolated Twitter incident".
Tony Abbott is having a bit of a dance around the topic of Craig Thomson.
"The less said about the former Labor member, the better," Mr Abbott observes, before adding that Mr Thomson "characterises and symbolises" the last six years of Labor government.
Tony Abbott campaigning on the NSW Central Coast - first stop with the Florimo family of Wadalba. Photo: Ryan Osland
Tony Abbott says it is a "pleasure" to be in Dobell where he spent the morning with a "typical" Central Coast family.
He says that for the average family in Australia, costs are going "up and up and up".
Once again, the Coalition leader repeats his pledge to scrap the carbon tax if he wins government.
This, he says is all part of the Coalition's "positive plans".
Tony Abbott campaigning on the NSW Central Coast - first stop with the Florimo family of Wadalba and Liberal candidate Karen McNamara. Photo: Ryan Osland
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is in Dobell. You may remember this NSW electorate as the one held by beleaguered Labor MP-turned-independent Craig Thomson (on a margin of 5.1 per cent).
Mr Thomson is standing in the seat as an independent, but Labor finds itself at the start of the campaign without a candidate.
Fairfax political reporter Heath Aston has this report about the current state of affairs.
Karen McNamara, a Red Shield Appeal coordinator is the Liberal Party's candidate.
Therese Rein, Kevin Rudd's wife, has also been up early. And keen to record the moment for posterity.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's wife Therese Rein snaps her husband during his electorate debate. Photo: Andrew Meares
Greens leader Christine Milne is also on the campaign trail today. She starts her day in Melbourne where she'll launch a high speed rail initiative with deputy Adam Bandt.
Fairfax chief political correspondant Mark Kenny has reported on the rail plan, which would offer speeds of 450 km/h.
The Greens are fighting hard to hold onto Bandt's seat of Melbourne and their majority in the Senate, with concerns senators Sarah Hanson-Young and Scott Ludlam will struggle to hold on in South Australia and Western Australia.
The Age's National Affairs editor Tony Wright has been keeping an up-close eye on Kevin Rudd. Tony has filed this report on the morning's debate, featuring all the players.
That includes, "Geoff the Green", Dr Bill Glasson and Karen Hunter of Palmer United.
As Tony notes, the debate sure kicked off early. Indeed, it was all over by 8.50 am ... for most people, the normal workday hasn't even started by then.
Dinosaur promoter and leader of the Palmer United Party, Clive Palmer, was also present at the Griffith debate this morning.
PUP is hoping to win big in Queensland (and indeed, around the country, given that Palmer has previously talked of his prime ministerial ambitions).
The mining magnate wasn't there just to watch. He has also challenged Kevin Rudd to a debate, accusing the PM of being "terrified" of debating him.
"Why won't Kevin Rudd debate me? Because he's terrified. He's not terrified of me, he's terrified of facing the reality of our economy and what we need to do to get people employed and investment [going]."
Mining magnate Clive Palmer at the debate in Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's electorate of Griffith in Queensland. Photo: Andrew Meares
Kevin Rudd has begun his day with a spot of early morning election debating in his electorate of Griffith. He may be Prime Minister but he's also a local member too.
He's been up against Liberal National Party candidate Bill Glasson - which has given Mr Rudd a chance to rib Tony Abbott about the fact that the Coalition Leader hasn't agreed to his ideas about the leaders' debates.
The "debate about the debates" is a classic of the election campaign, particularly in the early stages.
But that doesn't mean it is unversially loved. Some, such as Rob Oakeshott, who is busy packing up his office in the NSW electorate of Lyne, find it very tedious.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd with LNP candidate Dr Bill Glasson at a candidates debate for Mr Rudd's seat of Griffith. Photo: Andrew Meares
Good morning and welcome to Day Two of the 2013 federal election campaign. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has kicked off his day with a bit of debating in his Queensland seat of Griffith (more on that presently). Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is on the NSW Central Coast, after spending last night in Sydney.
I am filling in for Stephanie Peatling today, as she takes a well-earned break, and we look out for more wrangling between the parties on cost-of-living issues. There's even a Reserve Bank announcement on rate cuts due this afternoon.