March 23, 2007


Rudd reads Left riot act on schools (Sid Marris, March 23, 2007, The Australian)

Mr Rudd and his education spokesman, Stephen Smith, promised this week that private schools would not lose money - a policy designed to bury Mark Latham's "hit list" of private schools in 2004 and Kim Beazley's freeze on funding of rich schools in 2001.

The blunt message is one of a series of steps being taken by the Labor leader during the first half of the year to drag the party away from some of its historic left-wing pillars and create a less intimidating face for mainstream voters.

It's the future, stupid: This week the nation was promised a faster internet. Kevin Rudd seems to have grasped quickly that this federal election is about where we're going, not where we've been (Paul Kelly, March 24, 2007, The Australian)
AT one stroke the Labor Party has taken a step into the future. Kevin Rudd has surrendered the long-lost battle over Telstra privatisation and declared a new war over a national broadband plan and the Future Fund. Rudd is chasing multiple dividends: pitching to corporates and small business, presenting as the party of productivity and the information economy, and reinforcing his 2007 theme of Labor as the party of the future. This theme will underpin his election campaign.

John Howard and Rudd took decisively different paths this week over the economy, broadband (sometimes called fast internet) and infrastructure. This time Labor is fighting on its own ideas, not those defined by Howard.

Rudd has released two blueprints to command the "future" position in politics: his Education Revolution and this week's national broadband plan. He presents both as economic policies designed to depict the Government as belonging in the past.

By switching the focus from personality politics to policy, Rudd won the tactical contest this week. But it is the strategy that counts and Rudd's strategy is to have Labor known by new ideas, not by anti-Howard negativity. The risks are obvious. Howard and Treasurer Peter Costello have attacked Rudd for a "smash and grab raid" on the Future Fund to finance his scheme, for making "the most irresponsible economic announcements of the past 11 years", for leading a bunch of "tomb raiders" and for stealing from future generations of Australians. It is just the start.

Given Labor's fiscal history, this may give the Government political traction.

Better to say, "Given History...."

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 23, 2007 9:56 AM
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