Federal Politics

Election wrap: August 7, 2013

The end of day three and where are we?

  • the Coalition announced it would cut the company tax rate if it came into government although it was hazy on the details of exactly how it would be funded;
  • Labor tried to accuse the Coalition of having a secret campaign to put the GST on food (which the Coalition denies);
  • Kevin Rudd was completely upstaged by four year old Joseph Kim at a campaign event in Sydney;
  • the High Court dismissed a challenge to the mining tax by mining magnate Andrew Forrest; and
  • there may be a debate between Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott on Sunday night (maybe).

Thanks so much to everyone who read, commented and participated in our coverage today.

Many snaps to Alex Ellinghausen and Andrew Meares for their magical work. Alex, Andrew and I will be back in the morning.

See you then.

Ah the beauty of talkback radio.

One listener wants to know why Mr Bowen is now treasurer when Wayne Swan was the "superman of treasurers".

Probably fair to say the gentleman caller might not be a Labor supporter since he then wants to know why the government "has done nothing for business".

 

"I'm trying to help here," Mr Hockey protests.

"Oh really? You're from the opposition and you're here to help?," Mr Bowen chuckles in a reference to one of Mr Rudd's favourite lines.

At the moment Treasurer Chris Bowen is debating the man who wants his job, Joe Hockey, on ABC Radio.

Mr Hockey is avoiding saying whether he would "back or sack" the head of Treasury, Martin Parkinson, because he doesn't assume he'll become treasurer - and then gone on to bag Treasury's performance.

Mr Bowen is defending the government's more cautious economic tack of late and denying that it is more of a political - rather than a fiscal - strategy.

(There's not a lot of actual answers to questions being given, you'll be stunned to hear.)

Here's my daily reminder (please don't see it as nagging) about enrolling to vote or changing your details if you need to do so.

The rolls close at 8pm on Monday night (August 12).

Please visit the Australian Electoral Commission website for more information.

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Groan. Won't someone stop the debate (about the debate)?

I love debates, I think there should be more of them but I hate the way politicians cannot agree to any other format other than the one they proposed. I have small children. I know what it looks like when someone won't play a game just because someone else wants to use a blue ball.

Earlier today Kevin Rudd posted on his Facebook page: "Why won't Tony Abbott accept a debate with me and the 11 million Australians on Facebook participating?"

Mr Abbott replied via Facebook: "I look forward to debating Kevin Rudd this Sunday at the National Press Club including taking questions from social media from people across Australia."

(It's the modern day version of asking your sister to pass the tomato sauce because it's in front of your father who you are not speaking to because he wouldn't let you have a belly button ring.)

The official line is that negotiations should be resolved "soon", according to a spokesman for Mr Rudd.

 

At 12.30pm today Fairfax Media hosted an internet question and answer session with senate aspirant Julian Assange.

If you were otherwise engaged allow me to point you in the direction of a story that reporter Dan Harrison has written based on Mr Assange's answers.

Mr Assange said he did not see the role of being a senator as "substantially different" from his work with WikiLeaks because the Senate needed "people who specialise in exposing lies and exposing secret deals".

"Far from being in competition, my work with WikiLeaks gives me an extra ability to perform that role as an Australian senator," he said.

I must apologise to my young political photobomber, Joseph. His surname is Kim, not Lee, as previously reported.

Stories, videos and captions will be updated but I'd like to apologise on behalf of all his fans.

The boy of the day is Joseph Kim, not Joseph Lee. But it's still #voteonejoseph as far as I'm concerned.

Earlier today the Greens immigration spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young launched a new campaign - "Not in my name, not with my vote" - imploring people to vote against the major parties' because of their policies on asylum seekers.

You may like to watch it after reading Immigration Minister Tony Burke's comments that asylum seekers have begun to demand their money back from people smugglers (he managed to stop short of claiming credit for stopping the boats).

Not only is he a photographer and one of my two trusted co-pilots but Andrew Meares also shoots videos.

Andrew will be making semi-regular campaign videos about life on the road (he's travelling with Kevin Rudd for the duration). Here is his first (if you don't already you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram @mearesy).

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Opinion polls - can't live with them, can't live without them, the ultimate political selfie and all that.

We all know the only poll that counts is the one on election day, as politicians remind us every time they see a poll that's bad for them.

The Age's economics editor, Tim Colebatch, has aggregated the polls that have come out since Kevin Rudd regained the prime ministership in late June. It shows that Mr Rudd is back where he started. Yes, there was an initial swing towards him but support has swung back. Which might explain why the election was called.

 

Was it only Sunday the election was called?

You might remember there was a bit of interest (from myself included) in Kevin Rudd's plea for donations in his press conference. Both Labor and the Coalition put out emails that afternoon asking for financial support - a very American approach to fundraising.

In this exclusive story Royce Millar and Ben Schneiders report on a former Labor fundraiser, Richard Vines, who says voters are being kept in the dark about the schmoozing that takes places between politicians and business in the lead up to the campaign.

Bear in mind that political donations and contributions are made public once a year - in February - by the Australian Electoral Commission. We will see then who gave what to whom in the 2012/13 financial year. But we will have to wait until February 2015 for any donations/contributions made from July 1 this year.

Show me the money!

Okay, enough of this cute-kid-baby-kissing-political-tomfoolery. It makes me think all the mainstream media cares about is political frippery rather than serious policy.

This morning was dominated by the Coalition's announcement that it would reduce the company tax rate should it come to office. It wouldn't be a tax cut for the biggest 3200 companies because - at some point - they would have to pay the 1.5 per cent levy to cover the cost of the Coalition's paid parental leave scheme but moving right along.....

Labor hit back by accusing the Coalition of having a secret plan to extend the GST on food (which the Coalition has consistently denied).

Coalition MP Josh Frydenberg and Labor MP Laura Smyth debate these issues along with some expert economic analysis from The Age's economics correspondent, Peter Martin, thrown in for good measure in this video.

 

Our reporters travelling with the leaders have been told that's it for today.

Clearly Mr Rudd was sick and tired of Joseph Lee stealing the limelight while Mr Abbott was sick and tired of babies rejecting his campaign kisses.

 

Mind you, the baby in question is actually the daughter of the Coalition candidate whose office Mr Abbott was opening.

She could possibly best be described as a reluctant draftee (the baby, not the candidate).

Opposition leader Tony Abbott speaks with Carmen Garcia and her daughter Ashlee Golding at the opening of Ms Garcia's  ...
Opposition leader Tony Abbott speaks with Carmen Garcia and her daughter Ashlee Golding at the opening of Ms Garcia's campaign office in Adelaide on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
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I believe this is technically called baby pushing.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott meets Ashlee Golding at the opening of the campaign office of her mother, Carmen Garcia, ...
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott meets Ashlee Golding at the opening of the campaign office of her mother, Carmen Garcia, in Adelaide on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

I heart Joseph Lee. Seriously, if this is the highlight of the campaign it will have been a good one.

The Age's national affairs editor, Tony Wright, has profiled this unlikely political interloper.

Meet Joseph Lee. He's four. Kevin Rudd described him as "an active participant" in this morning's campaign event (see posts at 10.49am, 10.51am and 12.29pm).

Come on Mr Rudd, call a spade a spade. Joseph completely stole the show. A political star of the future, for sure.

The media plane for Opposition leader Tony Abbott prepares to depart Canberra on Tuesday night.
The media plane for Opposition leader Tony Abbott prepares to depart Canberra on Tuesday night. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

But why are RAAF aircraft being used as a glorified air limousine service for journalists? Surely they should be doing something a bit more useful.

Breaking news reporter Judith Ireland asked the RAAF which directed her to this statement.

In a nutshell there are five special purpose aircraft that are operated by the RAAF. Once the caretaker period begins - as it has - the aircraft can be used by either the government or the opposition. This includes people designated as "entitled persons" who may be accompanied by "non entitled people" (which includes the media).

Judith has asked both the major parties' campaign headquarters for a response. The Coalition replied saying it was the government's job to organise campaign transport. But Labor has not replied (Judith asked nearly four hours ago). But never fear taxpayers - the bill for travel costs for the media will come back to us.

It's a rare communications' situation when Defence gets back to a journalist faster than the party trying to remain in government.

There is no doubt that following the leaders around on the campaign is great fun (if you like that kind of thing). Tiring but fun. You start the day at 4am, jump on a plane without being told where you are going except that you might want to take a jumper and arrive in Devonport for breakfast. You wouldn't want to do it forever but it's a great experience.

At the moment the private planes normally hired for the media have not arrived. Catching commercial flights doesn't really work because there is too much wasted time in the schedule.

This was unglamourous transportation option that greeted Tony Abbott's media contingent when they arrived on the tarmac in Canberra last night.

Media travelling with Coalition leader Tony Abbott waiting to board the C17 plane on Tuesday night.
Media travelling with Coalition leader Tony Abbott waiting to board the C17 plane on Tuesday night. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
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