KEVIN RUDD today formally launched Labor’s campaign for the election now just six days away; this lacklustre and largely deceptive effort signals the end of taxpayers footing Labor’s travel bills, and it comes as the Liberal Party releases a new TVC tonight that highlights just what a fraud Rudd is.
I’m not going to make any apologies if I sound jaundiced in my view of today’s Labor Party launch; I expected little and wasn’t disappointed.
Even so, Labor has left this until just six days before polling day; as the governing party it means the taxpayer — not the ALP — has until now picked up the bill for campaign expenses such as security, transport and accommodation for the Prime Minister, and so on.
It’s a small detail but one most of the electorate is blissfully unaware of — exactly as ALP hardheads like it. And frankly, it stinks.
If today’s launch was supposed to generate momentum under what so far has been a poor campaign, there was nothing of any real significance for Labor loyalists to cheer, let alone get excited about.
It’s true Kevin Rudd probably spoke better today than on any other occasion during the entire 2013 election campaign; even so, style is one thing: substance is another.
I watched the launch over lunch and I realised just how far Australia has moved on from Kevin Rudd; the stories of an underprivileged background, coloured by the sleight of bitter personal hardship that so charmed and won over many six years ago today sounded like the hollow shells of the emptiest of rhetoric.
But Kevin’s sad adolescence aside, his speech was an embarrassment that I suspect many in the ALP will long rue. Already, many in Labor regret the dumping of Julia Gillard.
Much congratulatory guff was uttered, reminiscing about Labor trailblazing on the age pension, universal access to tertiary education (which a reader pointed out commenced under Menzies in 1965), Medicare/Medibank, and the NDIS — and fair enough.
Rudd even treated those who cared to a “lesson” on the differences between progressives and conservatives — or, at least, his slanted version of them.
The only “new” initiatives were a new $10,000 tax deduction for small businesses, which is an obvious case of far too little, far too late in the context of a crucial sector of the economy Labor has done its best to cripple; and a new focus on TAFE training and skills, replete with claims of Liberal Party neglect of the blue collar vote.
Yet even here, there was nothing new; Rudd even announced a rehashed version of John Howard’s 2004 promise — pilloried by then-leader Mark Latham and his shadow Cabinet, including Rudd — to cover the cost of the first tool kit for new apprentices.
And the chord the launch struck could hardly be described as new, or positive, or the work of an outfit looking toward a further three years in office come Saturday.
Unbelievably — given what happened on Thursday, and the dramatic and unprecedented intervention in the election campaign by three senior public servants to rebuke the ALP over its claims on Coalition costings — Rudd not only perpetuated the attempted smear, but did so sticking to the original, long-discredited, “black hole” amount of $70 billion.
He continued to attempt to use Queensland Premier Campbell Newman as a kind of bogeyman to scare floating voters brainless, despite ample evidence that Queensland voters largely accept the necessity of the Newman government’s program, and that those beyond the Sunshine State really couldn’t care less.
Suddenly, Rudd wanted to talk about the so-called Clean Energy Future and climate change: a ruse, if ever there was, when it comes to his or his party’s sincerity on the issue.
He was adamant a Liberal government would use the GST to engineer poverty on an unprecedented scale in this country — or so it seemed, given the adherence to this particular lie from Labor’s senior ministers over the past few weeks.
And Rudd even tried to suggest the Fraser government’s dismantling of Gough Whitlam’s Medibank in 1976 was a sure sign Tony Abbott would dismantle Medicare; this piece of idiocy was tried by Paul Keating in 1996 and exploded in the ALP’s face, and there is even less reason now for anyone to take any notice of the scare than there was 17 years ago.
I wouldn’t expect the ALP launch to move a single swinging vote; it looked and sounded like what it was, which is the defiant but half-arsed final stand of a government well aware it is doomed, and of a Prime Minister prepared to say or do literally anything in a last-ditch effort to avert the inevitable.
Even the Labor faithful (some of them no doubt threatened with God knows what simply to get them to turn up and/or behave) gave no reason to suggest they even believed what was being said in their names today — the tentative applause and enforced ovations gave the game away on that count.
Which is possibly no surprise, with the Liberal Party now launching its latest television commercial; this one is deadly, and it goes to the heart of Kevin Rudd’s honesty.
You can view this commercial here.
Based on a solemn declaration by Kevin Rudd that “I believe in honouring my word,” this presentation from the Liberals clearly demonstrates that since assuming the Labor leadership in 2006 at least, Rudd’s subsequent conduct has constituted anything but.
Viewed this way, it’s little wonder Labor is set for an absolute pasting on Saturday.
And it’s unsurprising, by extension, that even the Labor faithful couldn’t stage a show of anything greater than lukewarm acclamation at the most.
Perhaps they, like the rest of the country, know all too well that their credibility-compromised candidate is on a hiding to nothing, and taking them with him.