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Federal Politics

Federal Election 2013 Live: September 6, 2013

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Well - the hour has come, the final day of the campaign and the final wrap up:

  • the Coalition released several policies overnight with no fanfare including its indigenous affairs and childcare policies;
  • its childcare policy reveals it would halt Labor's reforms such as requiring workers to have better qualifications and increasing the number of staff required to look after children;
  • Labor says this shows the Coalition has not been straight with people;
  • Labor leader Kevin Rudd urged people to consider Labor as the party of authenticity and vision;
  • Coalition leader Tony Abbott asked people to vote for the Coalition because it offers security and stability; and
  • the Greens want people to put checks and balances on the Senate.

My heartfelt thanks to everyone who has read, commented and passed on their thoughts. I know many of you are disenchanted with politics at the moment but I - along with Andrew Meares and Alex Ellinghausen - have enjoyed bringing you the campaign.

A reminder that my colleague Rachel Olding will be back with you from 9 am on Saturday and I will take over from 5 pm.

Until then - it's now over to you.

Former prime minister Bob Hawke has given a candid interview to Sky News' David Speers.

Mr Hawke asked people to remember Labor's achievements during this "turbulent period".

"I don't think it'll go down as a great campaign," Mr Hawke said of the past five weeks.

He thought Sunday's launch was the high point, the low point was when the heads of Treasury and Finance distanced themselves from Labor's counter claims about the cost of Coalition policies.

That was "embarassing", Mr Hawke said.

Mr Hawke, who was previously somewhat of a mentor to Julia Gillard, says the former prime minister will be remembered well: "History will be relatively kind to Julia. No PM has operated in circumstances as difficult as she did."

He suggested a Bill Shorten/Tanya Plibersek leadership combination after tomorrow's election.

Believe me when I say I have seen a lot of campaign videos over the past five weeks and I have not shared them with you (largely because they are straightforward propaganda and you can get that elsewhere).

BUT I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this one which captures the spirit of the final day of the campaign.

Ladies and gentleman - Bill Glasson, the Liberal candidate for the Brisbane seat of Griffith and his campaign team, bring you One More Day from Les Miserables. (Watch out for the cameos from Coalition foreign affairs spokesperson Julie Bishop and Queensland Premier Campbell Newman.)

One day more - Griffith volunteers (Video Thumbnail) Click to play video

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One day more - Griffith volunteers

Great candidate, great team, great campaign, sing the Griffith volunteers.

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Julian Assange is the only candidate to be contesting tomorrow's election from London. The WikiLeaks publisher is running for a Victorian Senate spot and his possible success raises some unusual questions.

"If Assange is elected to the Senate, it will set in train another long and complex set of legal, political and diplomatic arguments," Fairfax Media's Philip Dorling writes.

"Assange's election would likely be challenged on grounds relating to his claim of former residency in Victoria that was the basis of his electoral enrolment earlier this year. It would then be a question of whether Assange would be able to return to Australia to take up his seat."

You can read Philip's piece here.

Greens leader Christine Milne has also sent out a final message to voters.

"It is essential to Abbott proof the Senate so that he does not get total control of the Parliament," Senator Milne said.

"If Tony Abbott becomes prime minister you are going to need the Greens in the Senate to stop the excesses of an Abbott government."

Senators up for re election include Sarah Hanson-Young, Scott Ludlam and Peter Whish-Wilson.

(Do you get the feeling the Greens are convinced of a Coalition victory?)

And that's it from Mr Rudd who will now fly to Brisbane.

Mr Rudd has a dig at Mr Abbott's love of Downton Abbey.

"[There are] those who serve and those who are served," Mr Rudd says.

"You know something? That's not our Australia."

"Our vision for Australia is a vastly different vision than that."

"We can craft a better future for all Australians."

"Friends, in this election campaign we hear many voices," Mr Rudd says.

"We hear many voices and not all those voices represent the well being of all Australians."

"You hear voices representing the vested interests of certain large companies....You hear voices representing the undisclosed agenda of the Liberal Party."

"These are the voices that do not represent the authentic voices of working families."

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is embraced by supporters after he addresses the Unions NSW rally in Mt Druitt, Sydney, on Friday.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is embraced by supporters after he addresses the Unions NSW rally in Mt Druitt, Sydney, on Friday. Photo: Andrew Meares

"Women and men of NSW, women and men of Australia, women and men of western Sydney, women and men across Australia," Mr Rudd says in a very Whitlam-esque beginning.

Team Rudd is in Mt Druitt, Sydney, where Mr Rudd is speaking to a Unions NSW rally.

(When I can hear what he's saying I will bring that to you.)

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd addresses a Unions NSW rally in Mt Druitt, Sydney, on Friday.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd addresses a Unions NSW rally in Mt Druitt, Sydney, on Friday. Photo: Andrew Meares

Team Abbott has wrapped up for the day. Well, it would be pretty hard to top those puppies.

It's all getting a bit emotional at this point of the campaign:

At the end of the first day of the campaign Labor's Senate candidate for the Northern Territory, Nova Peris, watched as her phone lit up with a text message.

It was a good luck message from former prime minister Julia Gillard who exercised her "captain's pick" to put Peris on the ticket.

How Peris does will be one of the more interesting Senate battles tomorrow night.

Reporter Dan Harrison spent a week on the road with candidates in the Northern Territory. Here's his piece.

Today's Fact Checker instalment is a particularly interesting one because it looks at voting methods rather than policy claims.

You would be aware that you can vote either above or below the line in the Senate.

But what if you could vote above and below the line?

Our last Fact Checker/PolitiFact investigation looks at whether this is true. You will find the result here.

Greg Combet - remember him? He used to be the Minister for Climate Change until Kevin Rudd returned to the leadership in June and he felt compelled to not only step down from his cabinet position but to retire from politics altogether.

Mr Combet is concerned about what would happen to industrial relations if the Coalition won office.

He also has a few things to say about climate change policy: "Abbott's campaign has been, to use his words, absolute crap. We've got a responsibility to respond to the science in a credible way and the government has and Tony Abbott's proposing to unwind it."

You can read the full interview here.

Mr Abbott says he wants to "end this campaign on a positive note".

"The only significant achievement of this Parliament was the national disability insurance scheme," he says.

"We are a decent, compassionate, public spirited people," Mr Abbott says and the scheme will live on under a Coalition government.

Tony Abbott has been visiting Guide Dogs Victoria with treasury spokesman Joe Hockey and local Liberal MP Josh Frydenberg.

They have promised $2 million to the organisation should the Coalition win government tomorrow.

Not that Mr Hockey wants any charity to get the wrong idea about government largesse: "We want a prosperous nation so you can give more and have more beautiful puppies."

Coalition leader Tony Abbott during his visit to Guide Dogs Victoria in Kew, Victoria, on Friday.

Coalition leader Tony Abbott during his visit to Guide Dogs Victoria in Kew, Victoria, on Friday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Every person who votes for the Coalition tomorrow gets a free puppy!

Coalition leader Tony Abbott visits Guide Dogs Victoria with his daughter, Frances, and treasury spokesman Joe Hockey in Kew, Victoria, on Friday.

Coalition leader Tony Abbott visits Guide Dogs Victoria with his daughter, Frances, and treasury spokesman Joe Hockey in Kew, Victoria, on Friday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Not only is it a super gorgeous puppy but it's in training to be a guide dog. The cuteness.

Coalition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey  visits Guide Dogs Victoria in Kew, Victoria, on Friday.

Coalition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey visits Guide Dogs Victoria in Kew, Victoria, on Friday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Just a quick (and slightly self serving) note to say thank you to everyone who has followed our live coverage of the election campaign.

I've been astounded and gratified at the number of people reading and commenting. I don't believe the clap trap that people aren't interested in politics. Y'all cement that belief and my other view that straightforward coverage (with the odd joke or raised eyebrow) is what you want.

Andrew Meares, Alex Ellinghausen and I will be here until the end of today.

Andrew and Alex will be on deck throughout tomorrow and Sunday. My colleague Rachel Olding will be with you from 9 am and then I will take over from about 4.30 pm until we have a result. I will also be back with you on Sunday to look at the results.

More on the Coalition's no-internet-filter plan.

Here's Queensland Liberal MP Wyatt Roy saying the whole saga was a storm in a tea cup.

Wyatt Roy: 'There is no internet filter' (Video Thumbnail) Click to play video

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Wyatt Roy: 'There is no internet filter'

Liberal MP Wyatt Roy says the controversy of the Coalition's online safety policy has been misconstrued. He says the filter is opt-in and an important step towards dealing with online bullying.

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Mr Rudd is talking about the Coalition's internet filter policy and the number of policies that were released on its website last night (see 10.38 am post).

"If he's so proud of what he's putting out why is he putting these policies out in the dead of night," Mr Rudd says.

The policy for an internet filter was "obviously the plan until people just rang the bell on it," Mr Rudd says.

"That is symptomatic of evasion and deception."

 

 

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd  with local member Deb O'Neill and her son Noah at St Edward's College in East Gosford on Friday.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd with local member Deb O'Neill and her son Noah at St Edward's College in East Gosford on Friday. Photo: Andrew Meares

The last time the editor of The Age, Andrew Holden, fronted up to the Fairfax Media studio was to explain a controversial editorial that called on the Labor Party to dump Julia Gillard as leader.

Today, Andrew finds himself explaining The Age's decision to editorialise in favour or Labor ahead of tomorrow's election. The Age is the only newspaper to do so.

Andrew's video can be seen below.

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The Age editor explains why he backed Labor

The Age editor-in-chief Andrew Holden explains the decision to back Labor in today's election eve editorial.

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Mr Abbott described yesterday's release and then retraction of an internet filtering policy as a "failure of quality control".

(Umm, yes.)

Reporters Jonathan Swan and Lucy Battersby have gone behind the scenes of what happened when the Coalition released a controversial policy late in the afternoon without the knowledge of the person whose portfolio it was and - apparently - with only the vaguest understanding of leader Tony Abbott.

Do have a read

Mr Abbott is asked how he would deal with a possibly boisterous Senate given it may contain several independents (and he hasn't exactly been nice about them of late).

Mr Abbott says the best way to exercise a "protest vote" is to "vote for a Liberal National candidate".

Mr Abbott is asked again given that response did not answer the question.

"I'm not focussed on anything right now except ensuring that Australia gets the best possible government out of this election," Mr Abbott says.

Coalition leader Tony Abbott and treasury spokesman Joe Hockey tour a guitar manufacturer in Box Hill, Victoria, on Friday.

Coalition leader Tony Abbott and treasury spokesman Joe Hockey tour a guitar manufacturer in Box Hill, Victoria, on Friday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

But what about the second verse?

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd  sings the national anthem at St Edward's College in East Gosford, NSW, on Friday.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd sings the national anthem at St Edward's College in East Gosford, NSW, on Friday. Photo: Andrew Meares

Coalition leader Tony Abbott is urging people not to "dilly dally" with independent candidates tomorrow.

"Sure they might be fun, sure they might be different," Mr Abbott says, but you would be "wasting your vote".

Coalition leader Tony Abbott tours a guitar manufacturer in Box Hill, Victoria, on Friday.

Coalition leader Tony Abbott tours a guitar manufacturer in Box Hill, Victoria, on Friday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Veteran psephologist (how cool is that word?) Malcolm Mackerras has predicted a landslide victory for the Coalition and that Labor leader Kevin Rudd will lose his Brisbane seat of Griffith.

Mr Mackerras told Fairfax Media's Tim Lester that he expects the Coalition to win 94 lower house seats with Labor winning 54 and crossbenchers Andrew Wilkie and Bob Katter retaining their seats.

You can read a story about Mr Mackerras's predictions here.

Or you can watch the video interview below.

Mackerras' election call (Video Thumbnail) Click to play video

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Mackerras' election call

Psephologist Malcolm Mackerras' election forecast: PM Kevin Rudd will lose his seat, and the balance of power in the Senate will shift - but not towards Tony Abbott.

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A number of the Coalition's policies were dropped on to its website late yesterday afternoon without any press release to alert anyone that they were there.

Among there were policies for indigenous affairs, childcare, women and aged care.

It struck me as strange that the indigenous affairs policy was released without comment given leader Tony Abbott's interest in the area and commitment to continue to spend one week a year in remote communities.

The other issue the Coalition has developed an interest in over the past couple of years is childcare. Again, silence accompanied that.

You can find the policies - and all other Coalition policies - here.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at a sausage sizzle on the Central Coast of NSW on Friday.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at a sausage sizzle on the Central Coast of NSW on Friday. Photo: Stefan Postles/POOL

Mr Rudd is on a last minute seats' blitz although the schedule keeps changing.

Reporters with Mr Rudd were told that after the Central Coast visit they would be going to Parramatta, geographical heart of Sydney, and held by Labor's Julie Owens.

However the plan has changed and they will instead head for Mount Druitt in the seat of Chifley, held by Labor's Ed Husic (but with a much larger margin).

As Jacqueline Maley, who is travelling with Mr Rudd points out, this means Mr Rudd will not visit a single marginal western Sydney seat on the final day of the campaign.

It's no secret that Labor believes News Corp newspapers have been campaigning against it.

In today's editorials they have all come out in support of a Coalition government.

But so have two of Fairfax Media's flagship titles - The Australian Financial Review and The Sydney Morning Herald (although the SMH's piece was not exactly a ringing endorsement of the Coalition).

Fairfax Media's other main publication - The Age - was the only paper to endorse Labor.

You can read about the various newspapers' editorials here.

The cartoonists, however, maintain their own views as The Sydney Morning Herald's Alan Moir demonstrates.

 

The costings did not contain a timeline for when a Coalition government would return the budget to surplus.

Coalition leader Tony Abbott told The Sydney Morning Herald's political editor, Peter Hartcher, that he would rather let the federal deficit blow out rather than break a spending promise.

"[Treasury] think there are enormous downside risks to the projections and we just don't know where it's all going to end up," Mr Abbott told Peter.

You can read the interview here.

Just checking my entry.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd signs a book on the Central Coast of NSW on Friday.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd signs a book on the Central Coast of NSW on Friday. Photo: Stefan Postles/POOL

So how about those costings?

Chief political correspondent Mark Kenny goes through the list of numbers that was released by the Coalition yesterday afternoon.

"The modest size of the aggregate savings measures as $42 billion, has deflated a Labor scare campaign of huge hidden cuts from its opponents, but it has also made a mockery of the opposition's three year charge of a budget emergency," Mark writes.

 

 

Yes, yes - the only poll that counts is the one on election today (that's tomorrow in case you haven't noticed).

But if you'd like to get anything off your chest now you can do so in our online readers poll.

Who will you vote for in the lower house? You can find the poll here.

 

 

Mr Rudd is also doing a media blitz.

"You don't want to risk a recession by taking a sledgehammer to public spending," Mr Rudd says of the cuts outlined by the Coalition yesterday.

Is he facing a Labor Party routing tomorrow, he is asked.

"I'm made of pretty stern stuff, mate. I'm a pretty resilient person," Mr Rudd tells Sky News.

"I draw inspiration and strength from the ordinary people I meet."

Team Abbott is in Melbourne. Mr Abbott has spent the morning doing radio interviews and is not expected to do his first event of the day until after 10 am.

Team Rudd is on the Central Coast of NSW. Mr Rudd has already been to a sausage sizzle in the seat of Dobell (held by former Labor MP Craig Thomson) and is then expected to go to Sydney and Brisbane.

The Greens are concentrating their efforts on the seat of Melbourne where they hope to keep deputy leader Adam Bandt safe and sound.

The last day of the campaign - how many voters can the parties reach in the final hours before the polls open tomorrow morning?

Thank you for joining Alex Ellinghausen, Andrew Meares and I as we take you towards the finish line.