Wayne Swan

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Posted by r2d2 04/07/2009 @ 10:07

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News headlines
Canberra Budget Blowout - Wall Street Journal
Treasurer Wayne Swan announced Tuesday a 32.1 billion Australian dollar ($24.3 billion) fiscal deficit this year and forecast that it would rise to A$57.6 billion in 2009-10 -- the largest in the country's history. Canberra plans to borrow money to...
Swan gives little on corporate wish list - The Australian
WHEN Wayne Swan delivered Labor's second budget in Canberra on Tuesday night, it marked the end of nearly six months of a government juggling the national wish list. For the Treasurer, never has a budget been framed with such fragile economic...
Budget blues: Labor's economic inferiority complex - The Age
Just one problem: Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan didn't have a convincing answer to the Opposition's question. This was partly because this budget served to remind us of the trouble with last year's budget — twice now they've talked tough but failed to...
Australia's Swan: Fears Unemployment To Rise For Some Time - Wall Street Journal
SYDNEY (Dow Jones)--Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan said Wednesday he fears unemployment is set to rise for some time yet. Speaking to the National Press Club in Canberra, Swan said the worst of the economic downturn is not yet over and "I fear...
Swan chides 'Work Choices addict' Howard - Brisbane Times
Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan has rejected criticisms from former prime minister John Howard on Labor's handling of the economic crisis, labelling him a "Work Choices addict". In an rare interview with Sky News on Friday, Mr Howard spoke at length on...
Swan sways on his bridge - The Canberra Times
Treasurer Wayne Swan used a rather unfortunate analogy this week to explain the Federal Government's approach to coping with the global recession as he sold his second budget. For the Pineapple Mafia (aka Queenslanders) listening to the spruik,...
Australia Raises Pension Age, Tax Rates for Rich Retirees - Bloomberg
... for higher-paid individuals and stop matching contributions to low- and middle-income earners to pay for a A$32.49 ($24.70) weekly increase for 3.3 million pensioners, Treasurer Wayne Swan said in his annual budget released in Canberra today....
Wayne Swan - 2009 Budget - Australia.TO
Welcome to this special Budget edition of my economic note, which gives me a good opportunity to point to some of the most important aspects of our Nation Building for Recovery Plan, after my most hectic week of the year....
Make the politicans share your pain - Herald Sun
On Tuesday, Treasurer Wayne Swan called on workers to accept sacrifices, including the stripping of $4 billion from super benefits and a reduction of the Government co-contribution for people earning less than $60000 a year. But unlike everyone else,...
Australia's Rudd Says Ministers Properly Accounted for Expenses - Bloomberg
The government released expense figures at the same time Treasurer Wayne Swan was delivering his budget speech on May 12, the Sunday Telegraph reported today, adding the report showed senior ministers spent as much as A$1.8 million ($1.4 million) on...

Wayne Swan

Wayne Swan

Wayne Maxwell Swan (born 30 June 1954) is an Australian politician. He has been an Australian Labor Party (ALP) member of the Australian House of Representatives from 1993 to 1996, and again since 1998, representing the Division of Lilley, Queensland. Following Labor's win at the 2007 election, he became Treasurer of Australia in the Rudd Cabinet.

Swan was born and educated in Nambour, Queensland. He won a Commonwealth scholarship to study public administration at the University of Queensland, becoming a lecturer in the Department of Management at the Queensland Institute of Technology before entering politics.

From 1978 to 1980 Swan was an adviser to the Leader of the Opposition Bill Hayden, and from 1983 to 1984 was an adviser to federal Labor ministers Mick Young and Kim Beazley. He was State Secretary of the Queensland branch of the Australian Labor Party 1991-93.

He was elected as the Member for Lilley in the March 1993 election, but was defeated in 1996. In 1996, Swan donated $1,400 to the Australian Democrats campaign manager in his seat of Lilley. At the time speculation surrounded the nature of the donation. The matter was referred to the Australian Federal Police, who chose to take no further action. Following his election loss he was an adviser to Opposition Leader Kim Beazley.

He was re-elected at the October 1998 election. Shortly afterwards, he was elected a member of the Opposition Shadow Ministry. He was Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services from 1998 and Manager of Opposition Business in the House from November 2001. During the 2003 Labor leadership contests he was a close confidante and supporter of Kim Beazley, but retained his positions under the new leader, Mark Latham. After the 2004 election loss, Swan was appointed Shadow Treasurer. This came as a surprise, since it was rumoured that Latham wished to appoint then Shadow Health Minister, Julia Gillard to the position. However, after strong opposition from Labor's Right Faction, Latham was put under pressure to appoint either Swan or Shadow Industrial Relations Minister Stephen Smith as Treasurer.

Swan worked with Beazley and Industrial Relations spokesperson Stephen Smith to devise Labor's response to the Howard government's 2005-06 budget and tax cuts. The ALP proposed tax relief for low and middle income earners earned mixed responses in the business community. Swan launched his book during the same month, Postcode: The Splintering of a Nation.

In early November 2007 Wayne Swan and then Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd revisited their old school, Nambour State High School. Rudd gave a speech to students in which he said that, at school, "Wayne was very, very cool; and I was very, very not".

Following the 2007 federal election of the Rudd government, Swan was appointed Treasurer of Australia in Kevin Rudd's cabinet on 3 December 2007.

On 13 May 2008, Wayne Swan delivered the first Federal Labor Budget in 13 years. Fighting inflation with spending cuts was a key theme. The Newspoll after the budget showed Swan leading Shadow Treasurer Malcolm Turnbull as preferred Treasurer for the first time, with a margin of 40 to 26 percent. Commentators have attributed this result to leadership tensions in the Liberal party, mixed messages on a fuel excise cut from the opposition and general unpopularity of the opposition leadership of Brendan Nelson.

In Swan's time as treasurer, the budget has gone from a surplus of $21.7 billion, to a projected deficit of $22.5 billion, due to the Global Financial Crisis, such as the government's stimulus packages, and a drastic reduction in tax receipts to the government worth $115 billion over four years resulting from the economic downturn. For more information, see Kevin Rudd#Economy.

Swan is married to his second wife Kim and has three children. An earlier marriage, when he was 21, lasted only a year.

At age 48, Swan was diagnosed with prostate cancer but has since fully recovered. He has become an advocate for the prostate cancer public awareness campaign.

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Treasurer of Australia

Wayne Swan is the current Treasurer of Australia

The Treasurer of Australia is the minister in the Government of Australia and head of the Department of the Treasury, responsible for government expenditure and revenue raising. The Treasurer plays a key role in the economic policy of the government. By strong Constitutional convention, the Treasurer is always a member of the Parliament of Australia with a seat in the House of Representatives. In some other countries the equivalent role is the Minister for Finance, although Australia has a separate office of that name responsible for regulating government spending.

Each year in May, the Treasurer presents the Federal Budget to the Parliament. The Treasurer is a very senior government post; traditionally, the holder of this office is the Deputy Prime Minister or in the case of the Liberal/Nationals coalition, the deputy leader of the dominant political party holding government. Being Treasurer is often seen by the Canberra Press Gallery and the public as a necessary stepping-stone to the Prime Ministership; however, only six Prime Ministers have served as Treasurer before ascending to higher office.

Wayne Swan is the current Treasurer of Australia. The immediately preceding Treasurer, Peter Costello, held the portfolio for a record term.

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2008 Australian federal budget

The 2008 to 2009 budget was released on 13 May 2008, with a particular emphasis on family welfare (expansive tax cuts and a lift in the threshold of the Medicare levy surcharge) and capital investment (national accreditation) funds, the Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan selling it to the House of Representatives as "a $55 billion Working Families Support Package" which "strengthens Australia's economic foundations, and delivers for working families under pressure" from increasingly high interest rates. Net savings from the taxation and spending decisions amounted to only $2 billion, a significant change (the lowest spending growth rate) from the resources boom of the Howard Government, when federal spending grew by approximately $44 billion. This prompted then Shadow Treasurer Malcolm Turnbull to claim the increased taxation will contribute to inflation, but Swan argued casually that the tax will only affect high income-earners, dispelling any "custodian" line of attack. Heavy spending by the states had been inefficient at managing past underinvestment on infrastructure, and "the conduct of expansionary monetary policies will be less complicated" as a result of the new reform agenda to avoid (supply-side) case-mix funding of the health care and vocational training sectors of the economy.

The World Wildlife Fund of Australia has criticised the ambiguity of the Budget's timeline for developing clean coal technology, while the Australian Conservation Foundation has urged the government to reconsider taxes that promote the creation of pollution. However, multinational real estate company Jones Lang LaSalle lauded the $90 million Green Building Fund, which subsidies half the cost of fitting office blocks with environmentally friendly design features.

Senior citizens representative group Seniors Australia criticised the budget for not increasing the seniors pension, and Carers Australia expressed dismay over the lack of change for carer payments. A day after the Budget's release, the government promised a future inquiry into carer and pensioner payments and asserted that the pensions will increase after a specialised review.

A new $3 billion tax increase on alcopop drinks was designed to slow down a projected increase (from the Federal Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, tabling Treasury advice) in alcopop sales by 43 million bottles, curtailing binge drinking. However, the opposition described the increase as merely a revenue raiser, with Shadow Health Minister Joe Hockey arguing that consumers of alcopop will switch to other drinks, such as champagne, and binge drinking will not decrease. In response, the Prime Minister told Federal Parliament that the tax increase had wide support in medical and alcohol support services. Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson counter-offered with a $1.8 billion petrol tax cut, reversing years of policy opposing lowering petrol taxes. The Opposition pledged to block the alcopop tax in the Senate, which it will control until July 2008, and has also pledged to block a move to remove a surcharge tax trap for people who fail to take out health cover, which it claims will drive up insurance premiums and steer people away from private healthcare.

An increase to the luxury car tax was defeated in the Senate, with Steve Fielding of Family First joining the coalition in blocking the budget legislation. It had been supported by the government, the Australian Greens, and independent Nick Xenophon. It was later passed by all non-coalition Senators after amendments were made.

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Australian federal election, 2007

Substantial changes to Australia's industrial relations system, known as WorkChoices, were enacted by the government in December 2005 and came into effect in March 2006.

Federal elections for the Parliament of Australia were held on Saturday 24 November 2007 after a 6-week campaign, in which 13.6 million Australians were enrolled to vote. All 150 seats in the House of Representatives and 40 seats in the 76-member Senate were contested in the election.

The centre-left Australian Labor Party opposition, led by Kevin Rudd and deputy leader Julia Gillard, defeated the incumbent centre-right Coalition government, led by Liberal Party leader and Prime Minister John Howard and Nationals leader and Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile. The Coalition had been in power since the 1996 election.

Independents: Tony Windsor, Bob Katter.

At 8.00pm, the first personality to call the election was former Labor leader Bob Hawke on Sky News. At 10.29pm AEST, approximately two hours after the last polls in Western Australia closed, Liberal deputy leader Peter Costello conceded that the Coalition had lost government. At 10.36pm, John Howard delivered a speech at the Sofitel Wentworth Hotel in Sydney to concede defeat. He accepted full responsibility for the Coalition's defeat. At 11.05pm, Kevin Rudd delivered his victory speech.

Labor won 83 of the 150 seats in the incoming House of Representatives. This represented a 23-seat swing to Labor. The Liberals won 55 while the Nationals won 10, with two seats retained by Independents. Labor finished with a 52.70 per cent two-party-preferred figure, a 5.44 per cent swing from 2004. On preferences, 79.7 per cent of Green votes flowed to Labor, 60.3 per cent of Family First votes flowed to the Coalition, with 62.5 per cent of Democrat votes flowing to Labor. Considering two-party estimates going back to the 1949 election, the swing to Labor in 2007 is the third largest two-party-preferred swing, behind Malcolm Fraser and the Coalition in 1975 on 7.4 per cent, and Gough Whitlam and Labor in 1969 on 7.1 per cent. The swing is the largest since 1983, when full preference counting was introduced to create an exact two-party figure, and the largest swing to occur in the absence of a recession, political or military crisis.

Western Australia went against the national trend, with the Liberals suffering only a 2.14 per cent swing against them — lower than all except Tasmania and the ACT — but yet gaining one net seat. The weaker Labor performance was attributed to the strong economy and voters' unwillingness to do anything which might risk their present prosperity — a sentiment played to by Liberal campaigning strategies — and also the behaviour of union officials Kevin Reynolds and Joe McDonald who had made headlines during the campaign.

Independents: Nick Xenophon.

Labor and the Coalition won 18 seats each in the half-Senate election. The Greens won three seats, with Independent Nick Xenophon being elected on primary votes alone. This took the 76-member Senate total to 37 Coalition, 32 Labor, 5 Green, 1 Family First, and 1 Independent. With a majority being 39 senators, when the new Senate met after 1 July 2008, the balance of power was shared between Xenophon, Family First's Steve Fielding and the five Greens. Xenophon, although reported as left-of-centre, indicated plans to work closely with the renegade National, Senator Barnaby Joyce. If sufficient Coalition senators vote for government legislation, support from the crossbench will not be required.

Compared to the previous Senate, the Greens gained one (losing Kerry Nettle in NSW but gaining Sarah Hanson-Young in SA and Scott Ludlam in WA), a new Independent was elected (Xenophon), and Labor gained four seats. The Coalition lost two, and the Democrats lost all four of their seats.

After preferences were distributed, the Coalition had 41.5 per cent to Labor's 40.6 per cent, with the Greens on 11.7 per cent, while the fourth parties, mostly from the right, had 6.2 per cent.

The informal rate of 2.55 per cent ties with the 1993 election as the lowest informal rate in the Senate since federation. The introduction of the group voting ticket at the 1984 election saw the number of informal votes drop dramatically.

Prime Minister John Howard lost his own seat of Bennelong to Labor candidate and former journalist Maxine McKew, becoming only the second sitting prime minister, and the third party leader, since Federation to be defeated in his own electorate. (Prime Minister Stanley Bruce and National Party leader Charles Blunt lost their seats in 1929 and 1990 respectively). Howard had held the seat since 1974, and it had been in Liberal hands ever since its creation in 1949.

Late on election night, when conceding Labor had won government, Howard also acknowledged the likelihood he had lost Bennelong to McKew, though he and McKew agreed the margin was "very tight". He had been ahead by thin margins for most of the night, never leading by more than 0.2 percentage points. Howard had been 206 votes ahead of McKew on the first count, and finished 2.8 percentage points behind McKew on the estimated two-party vote. McKew declined to claim victory at first, saying that the seat was on "a knife edge," while the Australian Broadcasting Corporation listed Bennelong as a Labor gain on election night, and ABC election analyst Antony Green said there was "no doubt" McKew had won.

On 29 November, Rudd named McKew as a parliamentary secretary (assistant minister) to be appointed on 3 December, and on 1 December, McKew claimed victory. Although counting was incomplete at the time, with several postal and absentee ballots outstanding, it was expected that Howard would not win enough of the votes to retain his seat. McKew finished with a primary vote of 45.33 per cent, and a two party preferred figure of 51.40 per cent, a 5.53 per cent swing from 2004, and that Howard lost on the 14th count due to a large flow of Green preferences to McKew. This swing is within the current boundaries; Bennelong was redistributed after the 2004 election.

Three other Howard ministers were defeated — Mal Brough, Gary Nairn and Jim Lloyd.

The Labor caucus met on Thursday 29 November 2007 to confirm the First Rudd Ministry, which was sworn in on 3 December. In a departure from Labor tradition, the ministry was selected by Kevin Rudd as the prime minister, rather than by Caucus.

Given John Howard's personal defeat, the Liberal Party began the process of choosing a new leader. The morning after the election, Peter Costello, the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party, and long regarded as Howard's natural successor, stated that he would not run for Liberal leadership. The day before the ballot, former Health Minister Tony Abbott withdrew from the leadership after initially indicating he would stand. The leadership ballot was held on Thursday 29 November. The previous Defence Minister Brendan Nelson and former Environmental Minister Malcolm Turnbull both stood for the leadership. Former Education Minister Julie Bishop contested the deputy leadership position, as did Andrew Robb and Christopher Pyne.

Brendan Nelson was elected leader by 45 votes to 42, and Julie Bishop was elected deputy leader. A Newspoll survey taken after the Liberal leadership change revealed a preferred-prime-minister rating of Rudd 61 per cent to Nelson 14 per cent, with Turnbull twice as popular as Nelson. Newspoll's subsequent polling saw new Newspoll records set, at 70 per cent for the best rating for preferred prime minister, to 9 per cent for the worst rating for preferred prime minister, with the next poll results revealing another record of 73 to 7 per cent. A new two party preferred record was also set, at 63 to 37 per cent Labor's way.

Post-election, ALP secretary Tim Gartrell commented on pre-election campaign billboard ads featuring a picture of John Howard stating "Working families in Australia have never been better off", which looked like Liberal Party advertisements, were actually paid for by the Labor Party. Liberal leader Brendan Nelson declared that the Liberal Party had listened and learned from the Australian public and declared WorkChoices "dead".

In 2008, former ministers Peter McGauran, Alexander Downer, and Mark Vaile resigned seeking other career options, sparking Gippsland, Mayo, and Lyne by-elections. The Lyne by-election resulted in an Independent being elected, reducing the total number of Coalition seats to 64.

In September 2008, Malcolm Turnbull replaced Brendan Nelson in a leadership spill, and Barnaby Joyce replaced CLP Senator and Nationals deputy leader Nigel Scullion as leader of the Nationals in the Senate, and moved the party to the crossbenches. Joyce stated that his party would no longer necessarily vote with their Liberal counterparts in the upper house.

The following table indicates seats that changed hands from one party to another at this election. It compares the election results with the previous margins, taking into account the redistribution in New South Wales and Queensland. As a result, it includes the newly created electorate of Flynn, and the existing Parramatta, which was retained by Labor despite becoming a notional Liberal seat due to boundary changes. The table does not include Gwydir, which was abolished in the redistribution; Macquarie, which was reclassified from safe Liberal to marginal Labor and was subsequently won by Labor; or Calare, the seat of Independent MP Peter Andren, which was reclassified as a National seat by the redistribution and was won by the National Party.

Under the provisions of the Constitution, the current House of Representatives may continue for a maximum of three years from the first meeting of the House after the previous federal election. The first meeting of the 41st Parliament after the 2004 election was on 16 November 2004, hence the parliament would have expired on 15 November 2007 had it not been dissolved earlier. There must be a minimum of 33 days and a maximum of 68 days between the dissolution of the House of Representatives and the day of the election. Prime Minister Howard opted for a 39-day campaign.

The prime minister of the day chooses the election date and requests the governor-general to dissolve the House and issue the writs for the election. On 14 October, John Howard gained the agreement of the governor-general, Major-General Michael Jeffery, to dissolve the House of Representatives and hold a general election for the House and half the Senate on 24 November 2007.

During the last term of parliament before the 2007 election, the deadline for new voter enrolment was brought forward from 7 working days after the issue of the writ to the same day. When the election was announced, the writ was not issued the next day, but on the following Wednesday. This kept the roll open for three days, during which 77,000 enrolment additions were processed.

On 14 October, Howard announced a 24 November election. The Coalition had been trailing Labor in the polls since 2006, and most pundits predicted that Howard would not be reelected. ABC Online election analyst Antony Green noted the Coalition's numbers were similar to what Labor had polled before losing power in 1996.

His theme concentrated on leadership, stating that the nation "does not need new leadership, it does not need old leadership. It needs the right leadership" He said his government would strive to achieve full employment, which he argued was less likely under Kevin Rudd. In response, Rudd also concentrated on leadership, outlining his case for "new leadership”. He argued that the government had 'lost touch' with the electorate, and that his the Labor Party was best suited to deal with challenges that lie ahead.

A Galaxy poll showed a Labor 53-47 per cent Coalition two-party-preferred result, with a 2 per cent gap on primaries, and ACNielsen polling reported a 2 per cent swing to the Coalition, reducing Labor's lead to 54-46. Rudd dropped 5 per cent as preferred prime minister. A Newspoll sampling 1,700 voters taken over the weekend prior to the leaders' debate reported a swing to Labor, increasing their two-party-preferred lead to 58 per cent, a rise of 2 per cent. Labor's primary vote increased 3 per cent to 51 per cent, and the Liberals decreased by 2 per cent to 34 per cent. Rudd extended his lead by 2 per cent, to 50 per cent, with Howard down by 2 per cent, to 37 per cent.

On the first full day of the campaign, Howard and Costello announced a 'major restructuring of the income tax system' with tax cuts worth $35 billion over three years and a tax cut "goal" for the next five years. A few days later, Rudd released his policy which supported the reform measures, however offered education and health tax rebates instead of immediate cuts to the top rate as proposed by the Liberal Party, with a slower progression for the top rate.

The Liberals slogan, "go for growth" was launched after announcing the largest tax cut in Australian history. Media and political commentators questioned the suitability of the slogan in the context of rising inflation and interest rates.

During the latter part of the week union influence over the ALP was questioned after the launch of the Liberal party's first campaign ads. Labor responded with commercials attacking the Liberals' campaign as 'smears', which was disputed by John Howard. One of the Liberal Party election commercials was corrected after it incorrectly said Wayne Swan and Craig Emerson had previously been union officials.

A debate between the Leader of the Opposition and the Prime Minister, under the moderation of the National Press Club, was shown live on ABC TV, the Nine Network, and Sky News Australia at 7.30 p.m. on 21 October. Rudd had called for a minimum of three debates between himself and Howard, while Howard, who had been rated poorly by studio audiences at past leadership debates, pressed for a single debate. A total of 2.4 million Australians watched the event, with Nine averaging 1.42 million, the ABC averaging 907,000, and Sky News averaging 62,000. The last election debate in 2004 was watched by 1.77 million on Nine and the ABC, while in 2001, average audiences on Nine, Seven and the ABC totalled 2.44 million. David Speers, Sky News's political editor, moderated the debate which was held in the Great Hall of Parliament House. The debate audience was 400, with the Coalition and Labor each selecting 200.

Kevin Rudd argued that the Liberal Party was being influenced by the H. R. Nicholls Society to make further reforms to industrial relations, citing Nick Minchin's attendance to last year's H. R. Nicholls Society conference, where he told the audience that the Coalition "knew its reform to WorkChoices were not popular but the process of change must continue", and that "there is still a long way to go... awards, the IR commission, all the rest of it..." In response to the Liberal Party message that 70 per cent of Labor's front bench was made up of former union officials, Rudd said 70 per cent of Liberal Party ministers were either lawyers or former Liberal Party staffers. On the same day, Peter Costello admitted when questioned that the 70 per cent figure was in reference to union members rather than union officials.

The Nine Network, which broadcast the debate as an extended edition of 60 Minutes, used the 'the Worm' in its broadcast despite prior objections from the Liberal Party and action from the National Press Club to cease its video feed. As a result, the Nine Network's feed was cut part way into the broadcast, which Nine then replaced with Sky News's coverage. The Nine television network's live audience, via the Worm's average, scored the debate 65 to 29 in Rudd's favour, with 6 per cent remaining undecided. Both sides, however, claimed victory. Nine had a separate group of 80 it said were 'swinging' voters (chosen by McNair Research) in its studio to control 'the Worm'. Steps were taken to ensure equal numbers so as not to taint the Worm. At one point, Peter Costello was asked to cease interjecting.

Figures released on the Tuesday, showed a stronger than expected underlying rate of inflation of 3 per cent. Treasurer Peter Costello argued against an increase in interest rates, saying the Reserve Bank should concentrate on the headline consumer price inflation rate which rose of 1.9 per cent for the period.

Controversy arose over the Coalition's climate change policy, with The Financial Review citing "government sources" who claimed Turnbull told Cabinet six weeks ago it should sign the Kyoto Protocol. Neither Howard nor Turnbull denied the story. The story said that "internal critics" are claiming Turnbull is "selfishly positioning himself for a Coalition defeat" and a "possible post-poll leadership battle with Treasurer Peter Costello". The story led to claims of major splits in Cabinet.

Labor also suffered from mixed messages. Kevin Rudd was compelled to clarify Labor policy on climate change after an interview in which Peter Garrett suggested Labor would sign up to the post-Kyoto agreement at 2012 even if carbon-emitting developing countries did not. Rudd's comments, which he described as having "always been position", saw Labor's policy move closer to Liberal policy, insofar as Labor would ratify the agreement only after persuading all major carbon emitters, developing and developed, to ratify. Rudd also committed Labor to a target of a 20 per cent reduction in emissions by 2020, a 5 per cent increase on the Liberal target, assisted by the use of renewable energy, but without the use of clean coal, arguing that it would ultimately be a benefit, not a detriment to the economy.

John Howard said the Coalition would not match the Labor's promise of 20 per cent renewable energy target. Howard claimed Labor's policy "imposes too many additional costs to industry". Peter Garrett replied that lack of government action has cost jobs. It was also reported that a recommendation by Howard's Environment Minister in 2005 for higher renewable energy targets, on the basis that 15 per cent was insufficient, was rejected at the time, which Howard declined to confirm or deny.

The Coalition announced a promise to open 50 new emergency medical centres around Australia if re-elected. Adding to the campaign trend of both major parties criticising their opponent for plagiarism and "me-tooism", Labor responded that the government had copied its policy.

Peter Garrett was criticised by the Coalition when radio announcer Steve Price revealed Garrett had said to TV presenter Richard Wilkins, that "…once we get in we'll just change it all" in reference to copying Coalition policies. Garrett said the comment was made during a "short, jocular and casual" conversation and Wilkins supported Garrett's response, saying that it was a "light-hearted throwaway line".

Tim Costello, director of World Vision Australia and Peter Costello's brother, criticised Australia's ranking of 19th out of 22 OECD countries for provision of overseas aid, and for government unwillingness to increase its policy of 0.35 per cent of national GDP to match Labor's commitment of 0.5 per cent. Howard said his party planned to lift the rate to 3.5 per cent.

Commentators pronounced Peter Costello and Wayne Swan's debate on 30 October as ending in a draw. Costello focused mainly on the government's past record, advocating the need for Australia to build into the future, while Swan said Labor were interested in "investing in people". Howard said he believed Costello "creamed" his opponent, while Rudd said Swan did a "fantastic job".

Liberal Tony Abbott and Labor's Nicola Roxon debated health at the National Press Club on ABC television. Abbott's character and ministerial capacity were questioned by Roxon for his comments about terminally ill asbestos campaigner Bernie Banton and for arriving 35 minutes late to debate. At the end of the debate, Roxon suggested to Abbott that he "could have arrived on time" if he had "really wanted to", to which Abbott replied "bullshit". Former Liberal campaign strategist Sue Cato said "you just don't run late for things like that". Abbott apologised to Mr Banton but not to Ms Roxon.

On 10 November, the Australian Democrats held their campaign launch in Melbourne.

The Reserve Bank of Australia adjusted interest rates upwards by another 0.25 per cent, the sixth rise since the last election, to a 10-year high of 6.75 per cent, and the first time the Bank had been changed rates during an election campaign. The Coalition said that only the current government had the proper experienced team to manage the economy in future, less prosperous years. Costello argued that the inflationary reasons for the rate rise were "outside the control of a Government". In response, Labor accused the Coalition of having "hauled up the white flag in the fight against inflation", saying that they had backflipped from their past statements that they could keep interest rates low. Howard stated that he was sorry for the negative consequences for and burden on Australian borrowers, but subsequently denied that this constituted an apology for the rate rise itself.

On 7 November, Workplace Relations Minister Joe Hockey and Labor's Julia Gillard debated industrial relations including WorkChoices at the National Press Club in Canberra. Hockey argued that Labor's policy to drop Workchoices was Australia's biggest threat to inflation. On 8 November, Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull and opposition spokesman Peter Garrett debated environment issues at the National Press Club in Canberra. Garrett criticised the government's record on climate change to which Turnbull responded that Garrett's current claims betray his previous career as a political activist.

Both major parties had their official campaign launches in Brisbane, Queensland; the Liberal Party on Monday 12 November and Labor on Wednesday 14 November. At their launch, the Coalition pledged a rebate for education costs, including private school fees, of all Australian children, totalling $9.4 billion. Under the plan, primary school students would have be eligible for $400 whilst secondary school students would have been eligible for $800. Tax cuts worth $1.6 billion over four years were proposed to encourage people to save for first homes, and extra funding of $652 million for child care and $158 million to support carers was promised.

The Labor Party promised to spend only a quarter of the $9.4 billion promised by the Coalition, saying it would have a smaller impact on inflation. It accused the Howard Government of being "irresponsible". In addition to previous education funding announcements, Rudd promised Labor would provide an additional 65,000 apprenticeships, migrate all schools to new high speed broadband, and provide all year 9-12 students with access to their own computer. A doubling of the number of undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships available at a tertiary level was announced, and the party re-iterating its view on climate change and WorkChoices.

The Labor Party released footage on Thursday 15 November to Lateline, showing Tony Abbott addressing a room of people, stating "I accept that certain protections, in inverted commas, are not what they were" in reference to WorkChoices legislation. Referring to award structures, Abbott said in the same footage: "I accept that that has largely gone. I accept that." When questioned, Abbott said he stood by the comments that WorkChoices means "certain protections" are not what they used to be, but denied conceding workers had lost protections. He said the video released by Labor was a "cut-and-paste job".

A report by the National Audit Office found that the Coalition had been interfering in the $328 million regional grants program, with a bias toward their marginal seats, where projects under the Regional Partnerships Program were apparently approved without proper assessment, or none at all, and that there was an increase in approvals prior to the 2004 election.

Newspoll stated Labor's two-party-preferred was down one point to 54 per cent. Former Liberal Party campaign director Lynton Crosby said that the Coalition was "closing in on Labor" in the final week and could "still win a tight election" on a campaign of defending marginal seats, declaring a win still possible on 48.5 per cent of the two-party-preferred vote.

On 20 November, John Howard defended the government's advertising spending in the months prior to the campaign, paid for with public money. The advertising, which covered topics including the controversial "Workchoices", cost $360 million over approximately 18 months. An article in the 20 November issue of the Herald Sun suggested spending could have been up to $500 million, though this took a broader view of what was included in that sum. Mr Howard was criticised for not revealing documents written by his department about further changes to industrial relations laws in addition to WorkChoices legislation. In response, the government said the proposals had been cancelled, and that WorkChoices would not be expanded upon. The Seven Network failed in attempt to access the documents under Freedom of Information.

Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce said that he the possibility of him crossing the floor to support Labor's amendments to WorkChoices remained open, and that he would judge all legislation on its merits, for which he was criticised by Nationals leader Mark Vaile.

On 21 November, three days before the election, fake pamphlets were distributed in the electorate of Lindsay, which purported to be from an Islamic group. The group was non-existent and the pamphlets thanked the Labor Party for supporting the Bali bombers and encouraged people to vote Labor. Those involved included a member of the Liberals' state executive, Jeff Egan; Gary Clark, husband of retiring MP Jackie Kelly; and Greg Chijoff, the husband of Lindsay candidate Karen Chijoff. Kelly said the incident was a "Chaser-style prank." John Howard condemned the statement. Egan and Greg Chijoff were immediately expelled from the Liberal Party a day before John Howard's address to the Australian Press Club; although, Egan denied any wrongdoing. Court cases are progressing.

Citing a clause of the Constitution that states parliamentarians are not permitted to hold an "office of profit under the crown", government frontbencher Andrew Robb said that up to 13 Labor candidates standing in the election may be ineligible for nomination. According to Robb, a "search of public records" indicated that the 13 candidates may have still been employed by government agencies, boards or offices, and that the Liberal Party may consider legal challenges to their election. According to Labor Senator Penny Wong, all Labor's candidates were eligible to stand, and that the Liberals had obtained the information from outdated websites.

Election day was Saturday 24 November.

Election night was covered extensively, mostly commercial-free, by three of the Australian free-to-air networks: ABC Television, the Nine Network and the Seven Network. Network Ten and SBS Television included brief updates and news bulletins through the night, but not to the other networks' extent. Sky News offered extensive coverage on Pay TV.

Roy Morgan polling in June 2007 reported WorkChoices was a reason for Labor party support, and a fear of union dominance and support for Coalition economic management policy as the biggest reasons behind the Coalition vote. Several big business organisations, including the Australian Industry Group, declined a request from the Prime Minister to run advertisements to counter the union-funded campaign. The share of voters concerned about industrial relations grew from 31 per cent to 53 per cent in the two years to June 2006, with around three fifths of voters backing Labor's ability to handle the issue over the Liberal Party.

A Newspoll released in June 2006 reported health and Medicare were the most important issue for voters, with 83 per cent of respondents rating it "very important". Other key issues included education (79 per cent), the economy (67 per cent), the environment (60 per cent) and national security (60 per cent). Taxation and interest rates, key issues in previous campaigns, were rated very important by 54 per cent and 51 per cent respectively. Immigration, a key issue in 2001, scored 43 per cent. The poll showed that voters considered Labor marginally better-placed to handle health and education, and gave the government strong backing on the economy and national security.

Kevin Rudd promised Labor would introduce a greenhouse gas emission reduction target of 60 per cent by 2050, ratify the Kyoto protocol and introduce a mandatory renewable energy target (MRET) of 20 per cent by 2020. The Howard government reiterated their position of not ratifying the Kyoto protocol, setting "voluntary aspirational emission reduction targets" and introducing a carbon emissions trading scheme by 2012.

Labor pledged a $4.7 billion fibre-to-the-node broadband network.

On 7 June in a speech promoting the government's handling of the economy, Treasurer Peter Costello recalled the learner driver slogan of the 2004 election: "This is like a highly engineered racing car and I tell you what, I wouldn't be putting an L-plate driver in the cockpit at the moment". August 2007 saw, for the first time during an election campaign, a 0.25 per cent interest rate rise to 6.5 per cent by the Reserve Bank, the sixth rise since the last election in 2004. Labor used the news to argue that the Coalition could not be trusted to keep interest rates low, while Costello argued that interest rates would be higher under Labor. In November 2007 interest rates were raised for the sixth time since the 2004 election, to a 10-year high of 6.75 per cent. In response to Labor criticism of the government on the rate rises, Mr Howard stated in August 2007 " can scour every transcript, and I will make them available, of every interview that I gave during that election campaign and he will find no such commitment." In October 2007, Mr Howard "admitted breaking a promise to keep interest rates at record lows". During the 2004 campaign, Howard was also cited as giving the same promise, personally, on radio. Inflation figures released on 24 October indicated underlying inflation was higher than expected, which resulted in seven of eight financial companies believing there will be an interest rate rise when the reserve bank met in the middle of November, the first during an election campaign.

Rudd advocated four-year fixed terms for federal parliaments if elected. Howard supported four-year terms but opposed fixed election dates. Any change would require approval by referendum. In mid-October, Howard said that if re-elected, the government would hold a referendum on the inclusion a statement of reconciliation in the preamble of the constitution.

Roy Morgan, Newspoll, ACNeilsen and Galaxy timegraph polling showed Labor leading the Coalition in opinion polling from mid-2006 onward. On several key questions, Labor increased its lead after Rudd assumed the Labor leadership from Kim Beazley, at which point Rudd also assumed the lead as preferred prime minister. While Labor was ahead in opinion polling, Howard had led Beazley on this question by a wide margin.

According to Australian political analyst Adam Carr, WorkChoices was one of five key reasons for "...a change of heart by the decisive sectors of the electorate". The new industrial relations program, Carr said, angered the "Howard battlers"--the traditional Labor voters who had supported Howard for most of the last 11 years--because they saw it as a direct attack on their livelihood.

ACNielsen polling in March 2007 had Rudd's personal approval rating at 67 per cent, which made him the most popular opposition leader in the poll's 35-year history, with Newspoll (News Limited) 2PP polling the highest in its history. The largest 2PP election result for the ALP in its history was at the 1943 election on an estimate of 58.2 per cent.

A weighted collaboration of all polling since Rudd assumed the ALP leadership shows an average Labor 2PP figure of 57 per cent compared with the Coalition's 43 per cent, and Rudd's consistent outpolling of Howard as preferred prime minister, something not achieved under previous leaders Mark Latham, Kim Beazley or Simon Crean.

By the time the writs were issued, the Coalition was well behind Labor in opinion polling, which showed Labor winning government "in a canter," as Antony Green put it. According to Green, this was a nearly exact reversal of the run-up to the 1996 election. The Coalition was running ahead of Labor in two-party opinion polling for much of 1995 and 1996, however the mantle of preferred prime minister regularly switched between Howard and Paul Keating.

Possums Pollytics, an anonymous weblog, stated that due to the uneven nature of the swings, where safe Liberal seats were swinging up to 14.6 per cent with safe Labor seats swinging around only 4.1 per cent, the Labor party stood to potentially end up with a maximum of 106 of the 150 lower house seats.

Polling consistently showed that the economy and national security were the Coalition's strong areas. In August 2007 an Ipsos poll showed 39 per cent of voters thought Labor was a better economic manager, compared to 36 per cent for the Coalition, with 25 per cent undecided.

The morning of the election announcement, a special Sun-Herald Taverner survey of 979 people across New South Wales and Victoria had been released, indicating a Labor 2PP of 59 per cent, with the 18-29 year old category voting at 72 per cent. The fortnightly Newspoll was released the day after the election was called, showing the 2PP remaining steady at Labor 56-44 Liberal. Howard increased his Preferred PM rating up one per cent to 39 per cent, while Rudd increased his rating up one per cent to 48 per cent. On the day after the election was called, Centrebet had odds of 1.47 on Labor, with 2.70 on the Coalition. Half way through the campaign, with no overall change in the polls, saw Centrebet odds for Labor shorten to 1.29, with the Liberals on 3.60. Centrebet odds two days out from the election were at 1.22 for Labor, with 4.35 for the Coalition.

Newspoll a week out from the election of 3,600 voters in 18 of the Coalition's most marginal seats revealed an ALP 54-46 Coalition 2PP, a swing to Labor of 6-9 per cent. A uniform swing would see 18-25 seats fall to Labor, The Australian said.

Former Labor number-cruncher Graham Richardson, who news.com.au (News Limited) claims to have correctly picked the winner of every election for the past three decades, tipped Kevin Rudd and Labor to win with a 6-7 per cent two party preferred, 20 seat swing.

Peter Day, a journalist (ex-The Australian), stated two days before the election that, if the Coalition were re-elected, it would be "the biggest polling embarrassment in any developed country since Truman beat Dewey in 1948".

The election-eve Newspoll and Galaxy poll reported the ALP on a 2PP of 52 per cent, Roy Morgan on 54.5 per cent, with ACNielsen on 57 per cent. Seven News reported that TAB had updated their odds for the election, with Labor having safe odds of $1.20 and the Coalition an outside chance on $4.60.

Sky News-Channel 7-Auspoll exit polls on election day of 2,787 voters in the 31 most marginal seats suggested a 53 per cent two-party preferred figure to Labor, 53 per cent to Labor in Bennelong, and 58 per cent to Labor in Eden-Monaro. Key issue questions swung Labor's way.

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Postcode: The Splintering of a Nation

Postcode Book Wayne Swan.JPG

Postcode: The Splintering of a Nation is a book by Australian politician Wayne Swan published in 2005. Swan has been Federal Treasurer since November 2007.

The following summation paraphrases the second chapter, Postcodes of Inequality, which details the "core" failure of social democracy in Australia: the geographic origins of the growing cultural and economic insecurity in the country's approach to national government, and a persistent blindness of affluence that prevents policy from tackling this challenge.

Exit points in the housing market are the main problem here, as demand on workers in underfunded welfare programs means they are forced to leave the few people who have exited to their own devices... rather than working with them towards employment (and living options) outside of their isolated communities. This is not a long-term solution: all the statistics indicate their housing aspirations are lost among the hyper-wealthy of the Liberal establishment, many of whom own a home out of the city and don't have to seriously contend with landlords.

As time has passed, owners have failed to invest in stock maintenance and improvement, instead simply waiting for a lucrative offer from developers to sell. Those who have upgraded their properties have done so to accommodate the booming backpacker market, which is a cartelised business over the medium term. In these operations the former government was forced to rethink their position in the tourism market, and the effects of the overcharge for utilities on inflation, but always approached the problem in economic rather than geographic terms.

This kind of dislocation between the political leadership and the stretch of society which is being dispossessed by globalisation is a serious threat to Australia's social cohesiveness. We need to restore some balance.

Swan's description of "extremely vulnerable old manufacturing economy-based" communities, and how the industrial relations burden and welfare changes (which were being "forced" upon them) created a stratification of urban society, is intended to create a public awareness of the spatial nature of poverty in "traditional" areas.

Swan's concerns were heavily criticised when his government payment reforms were made known to the public. It was alleged that restriction of access to family benefits for upper-middle income earners, less than half of whom have any children to provide for, was unjust given the loss of the "baby bonus", worth $5000 per infant, was not applied in equal measure to those who didn't run a household.

Frank Bongiorno noted that the book frames the socialist ideas of "reducing poverty and disadvantage, with education and training to play a key role both in achieving this goal and in lifting the country's economic performance more generally; phasing out private debt and consumption; and creating a more rational interaction between the welfare and tax systems" in a circumspect manner. There was a discernably more nuanced take on the evolution of "disadvantage" than in similar critiques but it then proposes languid (dated) and politicised (apersonal) solutions to such a crisis, thus disengaging the reader, early in the discourse.

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Source : Wikipedia