Federal Politics

Federal Election 2013 Live: September 3, 2013

So let's look back on the day that was:

  • Coalition leader Tony Abbott is continuing to demand that Labor respect his mandate (should he win Saturday's election) and allow him to repeal the carbon price;
  • no fear, says Labor;
  • this brings us back to the prospect that an Abbott led government would have to go to the polls again early in its term if it was unable to get enough support for its plans to wind back the carbon price;
  • Liberal candidate Fiona Scott has blamed asylum seekers for Sydney's traffic congestion; and
  • the Reserve Bank of Australia left interest rates on hold giving Labor another reason to talk about its record on economic management.

As always, thanks for your company and for making contributions.

Alex Ellinghausen and Andrew Meares will be back tomorrow but Judith Ireland will sit in for me while I have a day off. I will be back with you on Thursday for the last two days, polling day and the day after.

Until then, go well.

 

 

 

Coalition leader Tony Abbott tours a brickworks in Longford, Tasmania, on Tuesday.
Coalition leader Tony Abbott tours a brickworks in Longford, Tasmania, on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

The Age's economics editor, Tim Colebatch, has written this piece about how things might look after Saturday should Coalition leader Tony Abbott become prime minister.

"It is not clear what the Coalitoin's plans are, apart from ending the carbon tax and mining tax and stopping the boats," Tim writes.

"We know that new Coalition governments always tell us the budget is in worse shape than Labor said, and that they will have to make cuts they did not announce in the campaign so we can get back to surplus. In this case it might be true, particularly if Joe Hockey takes the sensible step of telling Treasury to use forecasts rather than projections for growth beyond the next two years."

And that's it for Mr Rudd who has to get to Melbourne.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd speaks to the media in Launceston on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd speaks to the media in Launceston on Tuesday. Photo: Andrew Meares

Mr Rudd is speaking about the Reserve Bank of Australia's decision to keep interest rates on hold.

"It is good news for Australians who are paying off their mortgages and for small business operators too," Mr Rudd says.

Interest rates are at 60 year lows, Mr Rudd says, which is "a very important consideration when you look at overall cost of living issues".

"If you listened to [the Coalition] and you'd walked off planet Mars you'd think the economy was going to fall over tomorrow lunch time," Mr Rudd says.

Mr Rudd says low interest rates, strong economic growth and low unemployment are not economic credentials that should be risked by voting for the Coalition.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd speaks to the media in Launceston on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd speaks to the media in Launceston on Tuesday. Photo: Andrew Meares

Nearly one million people - 953,941 - people have already voted, according to the latest figures from the Australian Electoral Commission.

That's an awful lot of people who will be away/working/in hospital on Saturday.

If you need to find out where your nearest pre polling station is you can click here.

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Time to do my usual "pointing you in the direction of things I should have pointed out earlier' routine.

Economics writer Matt Wade has this report on the gender pay gay. New government figures show that it is now 17.5 per cent which means the average full time female worker earns $266.20 less each week than the average full time male worker (that's an annual difference of $13,842).

(I haven't heard anything from either of the major parties about this today which is weird because I would have thought someone would have linked to the debate over paid parental leave.)

Moving along to matters environmental.

Fairfax Media's Hobart correspondent, Andrew Darby, has written this piece about the Coalition's push for the third ever World Heritage listing reversal.

The Age's environment editor, Tom Arup, looks at Labor's desire to claim federal oversight of national parks should it retain office on Saturday.

 

 

Labor leader Kevin Rudd at the simulator and clinical information centre at the University of Tasmania in Launceston on ...
Labor leader Kevin Rudd at the simulator and clinical information centre at the University of Tasmania in Launceston on Tuesday. Photo: Andrew Meares

Way back at 9.39 am I directed you to the Fairfax/Nielsen results for an opinion poll that was conducted in Queensland.

I now have a video in which Nielsen's John Stirton decodes the figures.

Poll washout in Sunshine state

Nielsen's John Stirton decodes the latest poll figures from Queensland. Labor hoped to gain momentum up North, but the numbers are heading South.

People familiar with the minor party fringe might remember the ultra nationalist party Rise Up Australia which wants to fight the "Islamification" of Australia and "keep Australia for Australians".

Its leader, Danny Nalliah, is anti abortion and anti same sex marriage. He once conducted an exorcism on Canberra's Mount Ainslie and also blamed Victoria's Black Saturday bushfires on the State Parliament's decision to end the decriminalisation of abortion.

Despite this, Labor is preferencing the party in its top four on how to vote cards in one in five of the 77 House of Representatives seats in which Rise Up is running candidates.

Reporter Bianca Hall has more.

The Reserve Bank of Australia has announced that interest rates will be left on hold leaving the official cash rate at 2.5 per cent.

Economics correspondent Peter Martin explains why in this video.

 

No rate cut

The Reserve Bank has kept interest rates on hold, leaving the official rate at 2.5 per cent. Peter Martin explains why.

Wonder what it's like inside the office of politician trying to hang on to his/her seat?

The Age's state political reporter, Richard Willingham, poked his nose inside the south east Melbourne office of Attorney General Mark Dreyfus.

"The virtues of Kevin Rudd are not bellowed down the phone, rather the volunteers are asking people what issues concern them," Richard writes.

"For the past months, the scene has been replicated in dozens of seats in Victoria as Labor embarks on a new style of campaigning in the state."

You can read Richard's story here.

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Saturday's choice:

 

In today's Fact Checker/PolitiFact instalment the team looks at Labor leader Kevin Rudd's claim on Monday that there were "multiple state elections in recent times when people have come from behind in the last week and they've come from much further behind than we are".

What did they find? You'll have to click here to find out.

Or you could watch the video in which economics correspondent Peter Martin explains his findings.

 

Comeback kidding?

Kevin Rudd says political parties have been further back in the opinion polls than Labor is now and still won in multiple state elections. Peter Martin fact checks the claim.

Team Rudd was on its way to Launceston airport when the bus turned around and headed back into town. This is so that Labor leader Kevin Rudd can be on hand to give a rapid response to the Reserve Bank of Australia's interest rate decision (due at 2.30 pm).

But this raises the prospect of Team Rudd clashing with Team Abbott which has just left Adelaide bound for Launceston.

Carl the simulator patient was on hand for Kevin Rudd's visits to the  University of Tasmania in Launceston on Tuesday.
Carl the simulator patient was on hand for Kevin Rudd's visits to the University of Tasmania in Launceston on Tuesday. Photo: Andrew Meares

Now - closing statements from both men.

Mr Burke: "The goal posts have shifted day after day in terms of the political debate. What hasn't shifted one iota is a policy that will work."

Mr Morrison: "You cannot reward a government that is the guilty party for this level of failure....This government, on borders, deserves to go."

And that's it for the immigration debate.

(Greens leader Christine Milne will address the National Press Club tomorrow. Labor leader Kevin Rudd will have his turn on Thursday.)

Both are asked by a school student how their parties live up to the Christian ideal of compassion.

Mr Morrison: "You need to deliver on the [United Nations] Convention but you also have to make sure that your compassion is genuine for all the parts of your policy."

Mr Burke: "These places we have [under the refugee program] are the most precious gifts of life you can give someone."

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Both are asked if they have any regrets about their parties' actions over the past six years.

Mr Morrison: "I haven't been convincing enough to get the government to move earlier in these areas....This portfolio is difficult. Engaging in this policy is like walking on a razor blade most days."

Mr Burke regrets Labor's actions in 2009 when there were big changes in Sri Lanka, Iraq and Afghanistan and policy should have been changed to to respond to the "new pipeline".

 

Mr Morrison is asked why he continues to describe people who arrive by boat as "illegal".

Mr Morrison says: "I have always referred to illegal entry."

Mr Burke says "the motivation behind the use of language is fundamentally different".

"The use of the term 'illegality' or 'illegals' is an attempt by the Liberal Party to politicise, and dare I say, demonise," Mr Burke says.

"You will never find a member of my party standing up and complaining about an 8 year old child attending a funeral."

 

Both men are asked if they agree with Liberal candidate Fiona Scott who said asylum seekers were responsible for traffic congestion in western Sydney (see 11.04 am post).

Mr Morrison: "We've had 50,000 people show up under the government's policy....The area that concerns me is the stress that's putting on local resettlement services....People are being, quite frankly, dumped into the community."

Mr Burke: "The answer to your question is no. The comments, I think, would rate as some of the silliest of the campaign were it not for Scott's comments about boat buybacks."

 

Mr Morrison is asked what he will do when the first boat arrives if he is minister after Saturday.

"People would be transferred through a transit port directly to Manus Island or Nauru," he says.

"In terms of the tactics at sea that's a matter for border protection command....The people smugglers will encounter our tactics at sea and on land."

Mr Burke says: "At no point then did Scott Morrison say we would turn back the boat....I believe a lot of these comments they come out with work in the political cycle of the day but do not work out over time."

"You may not know when the first boat arrives," Mr Burke says, "because they have taken that off the table".

Mr Morrison will not commit a Coalition government to publicly announcing each boat arrival (as happens now).

"Those decisions shouldn't be in the hands of politicians," Mr Morrison says.

 

Mr Morrison offers one the great truisms of Australian political life: "As I'm sure Tony will agree there's not too many people trying to get our jobs on either side of the political fence."

 

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