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Federal Politics

Federal Election 2013 Live: September 2, 2013

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Goodbye to the first day of the last week of the campaign.

Let's recap before heading off:

  • Coalition leader Tony Abbott used a speech in Canberra in which he said September 7 would be a referendum on the carbon price;
  • Mr Abbott also said he would drop the Coalition's greenhouse gas emission reduction targets if they turned out to be more costly than originally thought;
  • earlier in the day Mr Abbott released the Coalition's defence policy;
  • Labor leader Kevin Rudd was in his home state of Queensland where he declared the campaign was far from over despite another discouraging poll;
  • Mr Rudd said if he is re elected he will examine the cuts to the single parent payment as soon as the budget allows; and
  • both leaders have high profile media engagements tonight - Mr Abbott on ABC television's 7.30 and Mr Rudd on Q and A.

I know you will probably all be at election night parties on Saturday but Andrew Meares, Alex Ellinghausen and I will be on deck to bring you the outcome.

We will also be back in the morning. Until then, thanks for joining us.

Also in this office:

 

As we are now in the final week I'd like to redirect you to some of the cool data journalism the Fairfax Media team has produced over the campaign.

This allows you to follow the money trail (aka the pork-o-meter).

The interactive election map can be found here (spy on electorates).

The thirty seats to watch (one to bookmark for Saturday night).

If you are keen to see what Andrew Meares and Alex Ellinghausen got up to on the campaign trail over the weekend here is their picture gallery.

(By the way - neither have had a day off since the campaign began. Many congratulations on the herculean effort lads.)

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd receives a standing ovation at the ALP campaign launch in Brisbane. Click for more photos

ELECTION 2013 - Day 28

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd receives a standing ovation at the ALP campaign launch in Brisbane. Photo: Harrison Saragossi

According to the latest information from the Australian Electoral Commission 715,665 people have already cast their votes.

 

 

Breaking news reporter Jonathan Swan has filed this wrap on Mr Abbott's speech to the National Press Club in which Mr Abbott said he would break the Coalition's promise on greenhouse gas emission reductions if it cost more money than he had budgeted for.

You can read Jonathan's story here.

Before the speech, the Coalition launched its Great Barrier Reef policy.

The Age's environment editor, Tom Arup, has taken a look at what was announced.

 

I did but see him passing by.

Students watch Labor leader Kevin Rudd during his visit to St Columban's College in Caboolture on Monday.

Students watch Labor leader Kevin Rudd during his visit to St Columban's College in Caboolture on Monday. Photo: Andrew Meares

The Age's national affairs editor, Tony Wright, writes the only thing that could save Labor's campaign at this point is "Tony Abbott biting the head off a kitten on live TV".

Way harsh. You can read Tony's piece here.

Mr Rudd is sticking to the more traditional campaign strategy of as many public appearances as possible between now and 6pm on Saturday.

Labor leader Kevin Rudd at St Columan's College in Caboolture on Monday.

Labor leader Kevin Rudd at St Columan's College in Caboolture on Monday. Photo: Andrew Meares

Former prime minister Julia Gillard was not, as previously announced, at yesterday's Labor launch.

But Ms Gillard did make a rare public appearance at the weekend when she gave the keynote address at a religious function in her electorate.

 

Mr Rudd is outlining his beliefs about leadership.

A good guiding principle is having sympathy for people who are worse off than you no matter where they are, Mr Rudd says.

Next comes: "What can I do about it?"

"Unless you go out there and do something about it, frankly, you're not developing as a leader," Mr Rudd says.

 

Georgie Hayes sneaks a laptop selfie with Labor leader Kevin Rudd at St Columan's College in Caboolture on Monday.

Georgie Hayes sneaks a laptop selfie with Labor leader Kevin Rudd at St Columan's College in Caboolture on Monday. Photo: Andrew Meares

"No one is ever terrifically good at everything," Mr Rudd assures the students.

Labor leader Kevin Rudd prepares the fringe of Ryan Rosenberger at St Columan's College in Caboolture on Monday.

Labor leader Kevin Rudd prepares the fringe of Ryan Rosenberger at St Columan's College in Caboolture on Monday. Photo: Andrew Meares

Mr Rudd is addressing Year 11 and 12 students in Caboolture, Queensland.

"Solidarity for all nerds," Mr Rudd says.

 

Spare a thought for our cartoonists - they are having a tough campaign.

 

That's it from Team Abbott for today.

Meanwhile, Team Rudd has just arrived in Brisbane.

Labor leader Kevin Rudd arrives in Brisbane on Monday.

Labor leader Kevin Rudd arrives in Brisbane on Monday. Photo: Andrew Meares

Mr Abbott has finished his address.

 

A gold membership card for Coalition leader Tony Abbott after he addressed the National Press Club of Australia in Canberra on Monday.

A gold membership card for Coalition leader Tony Abbott after he addressed the National Press Club of Australia in Canberra on Monday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Should all decisions to send Australian troops to war be put to Parliament, Mr Abbott is asked.

"Absolutely," Mr Abbott says.

But "whether a parliamentary vote happens before or after combat happens very much depends on the circumstances".

"If Australia was subject to imminent threat it would be irresponsible for a prime minister not to act swiftly."

 

Mr Abbott is asked whether he would support his daughters if they wanted to enter politics.

"I think politics is a marvellous vocation," Mr Abbott says after a pause.

"I think if they were interested I'd give them every encouragement but the first time they expressed interest I would also want to warn them that it is a pretty tough field."

"In this business you need a tough skin and a strong ego."

 

Coalition leader Tony Abbott at the National Press Club of Australia in Canberra on Monday.

Coalition leader Tony Abbott at the National Press Club of Australia in Canberra on Monday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Mr Abbott is asked what he would change about the national curriculum.

The history curriculum contains things he would like to see amended, Mr Abbott says.

There is a "lack of references to our heritage other than indigenous heritage," Mr Abbott says.

"The unions are mentioned far more than business. There are a couple of Labor prime ministers that get a mention, from memory not a single conservative prime minister does."

However it would be up to teachers to decide what should be in the curriculum, Mr Abbott says.

 

Coalition leader Tony Abbott poses for selfie before his address to the National Press Club of Australia in Canberra on Monday.

Coalition leader Tony Abbott poses for selfie before his address to the National Press Club of Australia in Canberra on Monday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Mr Abbott says a Coalition government would proceed with the sale of Medibank Private at the best time for the taxpayer.

"If it's called Medibank Private it may as well be in the private sector," Mr Abbott says.

He then demurs when asked if he would the upcoming meeting of the United Nations Security Council as previous prime ministers have done.

Mr Abbott says he is not presuming he will become prime minister but that if he does get elected the domestic agenda might take precedence.

 

The secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Ian Watt, is in the audience for Mr Abbott's address.

This time next week Mr Watt could be working for Mr Abbott.

Mr Abbott is asked what he would do if, as prime minister, he faced such a relentlessly negative opposition leader as himself.

"This government has given us plenty to oppose," he says.

It has been a "target rich environment".

Coalition leader Tony Abbott addresses the National Press Club of Australia in Canberra on Monday.

Coalition leader Tony Abbott addresses the National Press Club of Australia in Canberra on Monday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

As for costings, Mr Abbott says there has been a "lot of hyperventilating" about them.

When they are released, Mr Abbott says, people will know the Coalition has been "utterly straight with them".

Now for questions.

Mr Abbott is asked if he would in government direct the National Party to accept the ban on tobacco donations.

Mr Abbott says he would not "presume" to tell the National Party what to do but he is "confident that in time they will come to the same decision".

 

"Elect the Coalition and you will have a grown up, adult government that thinks before it acts," Mr Abbott says.

"My aim is to lead a no surprises, no excuses government that says what it means and does what it says."

"If you want a new way, you have to choose a new government....Like all of you, I look forward to September 7."

Chief of staff Peta Credlin listens as Coalition leader Tony Abbott addresses the National Press Club of Australia in Canberra on Monday.

Chief of staff Peta Credlin listens as Coalition leader Tony Abbott addresses the National Press Club of Australia in Canberra on Monday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Mr Abbott says recommendations from a tax white paper and a federalism white paper will form the basis of a 2016 election platform from a Coalition government.

"In the meantime, there's more than enough to be done by stopping the boats, getting the budget under control and getting major new roads underway," Mr Abbott says.

"A new government won't just be different, it will be better, too."

 

Protestors arrive outside  the National Press Club of Australia in Canberra on Monday.

Protestors arrive outside the National Press Club of Australia in Canberra on Monday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Mr Abbott promises a "new focus on regional Australia with close to 50 per cent of the cabinet living outside of metropolitan areas".

Mr Abbott: "I am not much interested in being personally wealthy. Never have been, never will be. Still, I am passionately committed to a more prosperous Australia, because that means a better Australia with a better life for everyone."

Coalition leader Tony Abbott addresses the National Press Club of Australia in Canberra on Monday.

Coalition leader Tony Abbott addresses the National Press Club of Australia in Canberra on Monday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Mr Abbott says the carbon price's system of purchasing carbon credits from abroad is "by far the biggest wealth transfer from Australians to foreigners that's ever been contemplated".

Keeping the carbon price would be like "the entire country stopping work at some stage over the next 40 years for the best part of a year".

"More than anything, this election is a referendum on the carbon tax," Mr Abbott says.

"A Coalition victory, should it happen, will be a warning from alienated Labor voters to their leaders - never again sell Labor's soul to another party. That's why it's unimaginable that a defeated Labor Party would persist with a carbon tax. It would just confirm that Labor is incapable of learning from its mistakes."

"At the same time in the last election campaign, five days before polling day, Julia Gillard made the fateful declaration: 'There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead'," Mr Abbott says.

"Labor can't be trusted to tell the truth and it can't be trusted to manage the economy and the carbon tax is where Labor's economic deficit and Labor's trust deficit coincide. After insisting for two years that the carbon tax was good for you, Mr Rudd suddenly admitted that it was costing households some $550 a year. That's why he's faked abolishing the carbon tax even though he's done no such thing."

Coalition leader Tony Abbott addresses the National Press Club of Australia in Canberra on Monday.

Coalition leader Tony Abbott addresses the National Press Club of Australia in Canberra on Monday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

"Economic management is the core issue because everything else....needs a strong economy to be sustainable," Mr Abbott says.

"In the last week of the campaign, Labor will say anything to sway your vote including the most bare faced lies about the Coalition....There are no cuts to health. No cuts to education. Pensions don't change. The GST doesn't change."

Mr Abbott is beginning his address by stressing there are only five days to go until the election.

If "Labor sneaks back" that means the carbon price stays, Mr Abbott says.

So would the mining tax and the "avalanche of regulation".

"The Liberal and National coalition has a track record of success," Mr Abbott says.

"Our final four budgets [in government] were the four biggest surpluses in our history."

 

Coalition leader Tony Abbott addresses the National Press Club of Australia in Canberra on Monday.

Coalition leader Tony Abbott addresses the National Press Club of Australia in Canberra on Monday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

There's just time to bring this to you before we head over to the National Press Club for one of the last set speeches to be given by Coalition leader Tony Abbott.

Today's Fact Checker/PolitiFact instalment looks at a claim by independent MP Bob Katter who told an astonished audience last week that they belonged to "a vanishing race".

"When 20 people die in Australia they will be replaced by 17 people," Mr Katter said.

What was the verdict? Click here to find out.

I will bring you this from 12.30pm:

 

While we're on the subject of immigration - Labor is claiming victory over people smugglers with its hardline policy to stop the boats following the lowest number of boat arrivals in six months.

You can read more about that story here.

 

The Coalition's immigration spokesman, Scott Morrison, has defended the Indonesian boat buyback policy despite widespread ridiculing of the plan and an admission from leader Tony Abbott that is might not eventuate.

Breaking news reporter Jonathan Swan has more.

Mr Morrison faced questions about the policy this morning the Fairfax Media/PolitiFact Fact Checker unit took a look at the policy and found it wanting.

You can read that assessment here.

And that's it from Mr Rudd.

Labor leader Kevin Rudd in Gladstone on Monday.

Labor leader Kevin Rudd in Gladstone on Monday. Photo: Andrew Meares

Mr Rudd is asked why he has not said anything about the cuts to the sole parents' payment during the campaign despite saying he wanted to address it when he was returned to the prime ministership.

(At yesterday's campaign launch Mr Rudd's wife, Therese Rein, focussed on Mr Rudd's own experiences as the child of a single mother.)

"I believe this is something that needs to be attended to as soon as budgetary circumstances permit," Mr Rudd says.

"For me that's a priority, a real priority."

Labor leader Kevin Rudd in Gladstone on Monday.

Labor leader Kevin Rudd in Gladstone on Monday. Photo: Andrew Meares

Mr Rudd is asked if he would marry Tony Abbott if they were in a same sex relationship.

"Pass," he says.

Mr Rudd doesn't wait for a question about today's opinion poll to be finished before he answers: "The good people of Australia will make their minds up on election day."

"My advice is we've got somewhere north of 15 per cent [of voters who are] undecided," Mr Rudd says.

"This when the people start to lock on....They lock on to questions of jobs and their jobs...On those questions what we pick up right across the country is a deep level of anxiety and uncertainty about Mr Abbott."

 

Labor leader Kevin Rudd in  Gladstone on Monday.

Labor leader Kevin Rudd in Gladstone on Monday. Photo: Andrew Meares

Kevin Rudd: "I think I last used the term 'goodies and baddies' in the back yard when I was playing cowboys and Indians....I think I was about ten."

 

Mr Rudd is in Gladstone, Queensland, where he is visiting Gladstone Area Group Apprentices Ltd technical training centre and releasing Labor's plan for the state.

Mr Rudd is, again, reminding people that Coalition leader Tony Abbott will institute the same kinds of public service job and spending cuts across Australia as Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has done in his state.

 

 

 

Labor leader Kevin Rudd in  Gladstone on Monday.

Labor leader Kevin Rudd in Gladstone on Monday. Photo: Andrew Meares

Kevin Rudd - emergency marshal. He's just here to help.

Labor leader Kevin Rudd at the Gagal Technical Training Centre in Gladstone, Queensland, on Monday.

Labor leader Kevin Rudd at the Gagal Technical Training Centre in Gladstone, Queensland, on Monday. Photo: Andrew Meares

Labor leader Kevin Rudd is in Gladstone, Queensland. We are standing by to bring you that press conference in a short time.

Labor leader Kevin Rudd arrives in Gladstone, Queensland, on Monday.

Labor leader Kevin Rudd arrives in Gladstone, Queensland, on Monday. Photo: Andrew Meares

Earlier this morning the Coalition announced its defence policy (that would be the one to save us from baddies).

It has backed away from a pledge to spend $1.5 billion on unmanned drone aircraft and also indicated the Joint Strike Fighter project would be reviewed.

Breaking news reporter Dan Harrison has more.

Coalition leader Tony Abbott inspects a Blackhawk helicopter at Holsworthy Barracks in NSW on Monday.

Coalition leader Tony Abbott inspects a Blackhawk helicopter at Holsworthy Barracks in NSW on Monday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

The costings issue, of course, goes to the heart of two key issues in the campaign - management of the economy and credibility of the parties and their leaders.

But it is baffling to Joseph Stiglitz, professor of economics at Columbia University and recipient of the Nobel Prize for economics, who says we don't know how good we've got it.

"The obsession with public debt continues to be a distraction from the more fundamental question of how to establish sustainable long run growth," Professor Stiglitz happens. "Rather than look through the rear view mirror at public debt, the election should look forward to the challenge of maintaining Australia's economic success for the future."

You can read Professor Stiglitz's opinion piece here.

(And, yes, Labor campaign headquarters has already put out a press release saying how this shows its approach is better than the Coalition's.)

 

The Coalition's finance spokesman, Andrew Robb, has just told a press conference that the only reason why Labor keeps demanding to see policy costings documents is because they have nothing else to talk about.

The Coalition has promised to release the paperwork later this week.

Economics correspondent Peter Martin believes it does matter, that parties should release these documents so people have more than just their assurances.

Peter's piece is here.

 

The week has begun with a Newspoll.

Labor's primary vote has dropped to 33 per cent (down from 37 per cent in the previous poll) while the Coalition has also dropped from 47 per cent to 46 per cent (the Greens picked up that extra one point).

On a two party preferred basis the Coalition leads Labor 54 per cent to 46 per cent.

Not that Coalition leader Tony Abbott is taking anything for granted: "I do not believe the polls. Never forget that [Kevin Rudd] beat John Howard in 2007 and John Howard was the most successful prime minister since Robert Menzies. You have to respect Mr Rudd's campaigning ability even if you don't respect his governing ability."

 

 

Coalition leader Tony Abbott addresses the media at Holsworthy Barracks in NSW on Monday.

Coalition leader Tony Abbott addresses the media at Holsworthy Barracks in NSW on Monday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

How do you make it go?

Coalition leader Tony Abbott inspects a Blackhawk helicopter during his visit to Holsworthy Barracks in NSW on Monday.

Coalition leader Tony Abbott inspects a Blackhawk helicopter during his visit to Holsworthy Barracks in NSW on Monday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Jacqueline Maley is travelling with Team Rudd this week. You can follow her on twitter @jacquelinemaley. Team Rudd is in Townsville this morning.

Heath Aston is travelling with Team Abbott. You can follow him on twitter @heathjaston. Team Abbott has already been out and about making a defence announcement (more on that later) but will shortly make its way to Canberra where Coalition leader Tony Abbott will give the traditional final address of the campaign to the National Press Club.

(Greens leader Christine Milne will give her address on Wednesday and Labor leader Kevin Rudd will be there on Thursday.)

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd boards his plane in Townsville on Monday.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd boards his plane in Townsville on Monday. Photo: Andrew Meares

Here's the Sydney Morning Herald's political editor, Peter Hartcher, on the launch: "Harebrained Kevin stepped back. Helpful Kevin stepped forward."

The Age's political editor, Michael Gordon, had this take on it: "The atmosphere ranged from feisty defiance and steely determination to the sentimental sadness of what might have been."

But enough of us - what about you, what do you think? Do you think Labor can still win the election? You can have your say in our online readers' poll which you can find here.

 

Labor leader Kevin Rudd backstage with his granddaughter Josephine, daughter Jessice, wife Therese Rein and son-in-law Albert Tse after the Labor campaign launch in Brisbane on Sunday.

Labor leader Kevin Rudd backstage with his granddaughter Josephine, daughter Jessice, wife Therese Rein and son-in-law Albert Tse after the Labor campaign launch in Brisbane on Sunday. Photo: Andrew Meares

Labor finally held its campaign launch yesterday.

Labor leader Kevin Rudd - who "carries his country boy smile everywhere with him", according to his wife Therese Rein - positioned the party as the chief protector of job security and warned people not to write him off.

"For those who say the fight is up, I say they haven't seen anything yet," Mr Rudd told the audience in Brisbane.

"Because we have something worth fighting for."

You can read a report on the launch here.

Alternatively you may like to read Jacqueline Maley's piece on the colour and movement of the event.

 

Labor leader Kevin Rudd backstage at the Labor campaign launch in Brisbane on Sunday.

Labor leader Kevin Rudd backstage at the Labor campaign launch in Brisbane on Sunday. Photo: Andrew Meares

Good to see budgie smugglers back in the federal political mix.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd conducts TV interviews in Townsville on Monday.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd conducts TV interviews in Townsville on Monday. Photo: Andrew Meares

Good morning and welcome to the first day of the last week. We're nearly there. Expect the pace to pick up this week as all the parties make the most of their last chance to convince voters they are the ones that they want.

It's a pleasure to be back with you as Andrew Meares, Alex Ellinghausen and I take you through the day.