Federal Politics

Election wrap: August 5, 2013

Okay - end of the first day. How did it go?

  • Tony Abbott was in Queensland where he announced the timing of a Coalition government's schedule for repealing the price on carbon;
  • Kevin Rudd was in Canberra wrapping up the business of government before it officially goes into caretaker mode later today;
  • Mr Rudd also announced he would spend $450 million creating more out of school hours places;
  • we are still locked in a debate about the debate(s); and
  • both men used the phrase "fair dinkum" just a little too much.

Thanks so much for being with me, Andrew Meares and Alex Ellinghausen. Andrew and Alex will be back tomorrow but my colleague Judith Ireland will fill in for me for the day while I attend to life outside the dingo fence. I will look forward to your company when I return on Wednesday.

Until then, go well.

 

Civic reminder alert, civic reminder alert - the rolls close at 8pm on Monday 12 August (that's in one week, three hours and 25 minutes' time).

If you need to enrol to vote or change your details please visit the nice people at the Australian Electoral Commission to do so.

Their website can be found here.

 

The Senate - what's up there? House of review, balance of power etc etc.

The election is going to be close but the Senate election is expected to be even closer. For starters there will be a huge ballot paper given 54 parties are registered to contest the ballot.

The Age's economics editor, Tim Colebatch, has looked at the weird and wonderful choices that await you.

Want to know what it means for the government to be caretaker mode?

I'm glad you asked because it allows me to point you in the direction of this piece by The Canberra Times' senior writer, Ross Peake.

Tony Abbott doesn't want to be in a minority government, okay? Well, the Greens don't want to play with him either.

Greens leader Christine Milne has ruled out supporting an Abbott government (not that it was ever likely).

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Hmmm, Kevin Rudd is quiet, isn't he? Not so much as a tweet.

One imagines that he is busy with the last official day of government before the writs are issued this evening and everything officially goes into caretaker mode.

Still, you wouldn't want the day's coverage to be dominated by your opponent, would you?

 

And I stand corrected.

It was Kim Beazley as Labor leader who talked about the "double drop off" (see 3.14pm post). But it was a policy Labor took to the 2007 election. My apologies.

And that was it for Mr Rudd's first appearance of the day.

Incidentally, Mr Rudd says he will debate the Liberal candidate running against him in Griffith, Bill Glasson, tomorrow morning. Not that he's making a point about Mr Abbott and debates generally.

Forget jazz hands - it's all about campaign hands.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd  in Canberra on Monday.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in Canberra on Monday. Photo: Andrew Meares

Mr Rudd is asked about Mr Abbott's remarks that he would not lead a minority government.

Mr Rudd says he would assume if Mr Abbott was genuine then he would be "putting independents last" on how to vote cards.

But, Mr Rudd says, the Coalition will give preferences to the Greens in seats such as Grayndler (in Sydney held by Labor's Anthony Albanese) and in Melbourne (held by Greens' deputy leader Adam Bandt).

"Why are they preferencing them if they don't like them? Bit of double standards here," Mr Rudd says.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd with Childcare Minister Kate Ellis and Education Minister Bill Shorten in Canberra on Monday.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd with Childcare Minister Kate Ellis and Education Minister Bill Shorten in Canberra on Monday. Photo: Andrew Meares
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The accompanying policy document promises the announcement will "change a family's weekly routine for the better".

"Labor understands the stress working parents feel every day when they need to rush out the door at work to pick up their kids from school," the joint statement says.

"This can disrupt a child's day if mum or dad are caught in traffic and it does nothing for the productivity of working parents."

 

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd with Childcare Minister Kate Ellis and Education Minister Bill Shorten in Canberra on Monday.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd with Childcare Minister Kate Ellis and Education Minister Bill Shorten in Canberra on Monday. Photo: Andrew Meares

Eligible parents will be able to claim the childcare rebate and the childcare benefit for the services.

Mr Rudd says the money has already been accounted for in last week's economic statement.

Remember when Mr Rudd promised to end the "double drop off" back in 2007? That was a promise to co-locate childcare centres at schools, which bit the dust due to budget concerns and the collapse of the ABC Learning childcare chain.

This isn't quite the same thing but it's not far off.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd  in Canberra on Monday.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in Canberra on Monday. Photo: Andrew Meares

Childcare Minister Kate Ellis says the workforce has changed.

"We not not every job finished at 3 pm when the school bell rings," Ms Ellis says.

The number of children using out of school hours care has increased by 32 per cent since 2007, Ms Ellis says, and parents are clamouring for more places.

"After school care shouldn't be a chore and it shouldn't be a bore," Ms Ellis says.

Mr Rudd says the money will help establish "fun and useful" homework groups.

He promises children will be able to chase balls, throw balls through hoops, "that sort of thing".

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Mr Rudd says $450 million will be spent on schools looking to establish outside school hours care or extend existing hours - so long as the care is on school grounds.

The money will help schools offer more educational and fun activities such as music lessons and supervised sports.

Mr Rudd says up to 500 schools will benefit - about 345,000 children aged between 5 and 12 are expected to benefit.

Services could open at 7 am or close at 7 pm or the money could be used to extend holiday time programs, Mr Rudd says.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd with Childcare Minister Kate Ellis and Education Minister Bill Shorten on Monday.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd with Childcare Minister Kate Ellis and Education Minister Bill Shorten on Monday. Photo: Andrew Meares

We're heading for an announcement on out of school hours care.

Kevin Rudd begins his press conference by talking about the need to have the "best trained, best skilled workforce in the world" in order to remain economically competitive.

"We've got to make sure our kids keep up," Mr Rudd says.

But the economy can only keep ticking over if cost of living pressures are managed - one of which is childcare.

 

No sooner does one wonder aloud than one's question is answered (see 2.08 pm post).

Kevin Rudd will be joined by Bill Shorten and Kate Ellis (who are still, until 5.30 pm, the Ministers for Education and Childcare) at 3 pm for an announcement at Parliament House.

Waaaaay back at the 10.30 am post I pointed you in the direction of some stories relating to the states to watch.

Tasmania was not on the list (sorry Taswegian readers).

But Labor's hopes of holding on to its seats down there are not great at this point.

You might like to take that into consideration while reading this story about Environment Minister Mark Butler's decision to approve a second mine in the Tarkine wilderness.

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