Rudd calls Australia to the polls in wake of dramatic restoration

Australia’s leader seeks fresh mandate after Gillard ouster


Voters will finally get their chance to deliver a verdict on one of the most bizarre and tumultuous periods in Australian political history, after prime minister Kevin Rudd today announced that a federal election will be held on 7 September.

Ending weeks of speculation about the date, Mr Rudd (pictured) said the election would be about whom Australians trusted to “chart a course through the choppy economic waters that lie ahead”. He contrasted his “positive plans” with what he called the “wall-to-wall negativity” and “old politics of division” of the conservative Coalition.

The past three years have been a turbulent time for Mr Rudd’s Labor Party, which has been in power since 2007. In June 2010, he was dumped by the party, and replaced by his deputy, Julia Gillard, who became the nation’s first female leader. She called an election, which resulted in the first hung parliament for nearly 70 years, with Ms Gillard cobbling together a minority government supported by the Greens and several independents.

Five weeks ago, amid dreadful poll ratings, she, too, was dumped, and Mr Rudd stepped back into his old shoes. Since then, Labor’s fortunes have surged – but possibly not enough to win the election. Although he is personally far more popular than the opposition leader, Tony Abbott, the latest poll – in today’s The Australian – puts the Coalition on 52 per cent, four points ahead of Labor.

That, though, is a huge improvement for Labor, which under Ms Gillard had been heading for a defeat of historic proportions. Mr Rudd’s return boosted the party’s ratings by five to seven points almost overnight, turning the election into a contest.

In a speech outside Parliament House in Canberra today, Mr Rudd – wearing a sober dark suit and crimson tie – alluded to the extraordinary twists and turns of recent years. “You, the Australian people … have seen me at my highest highs, and some of my lowest lows,” he said.

Those moments – which included him weeping during his farewell speech after being deposed by Ms Gillard – had “certainly made me a much stronger person”, he said. “I think, as a result, you, the Australian people, know me pretty well, warts and all.” He admitted that his government had made mistakes. “The key is to learn from experience.”

At a separate press conference, Mr Abbott declared that the election would be about “who is more fair dinkum [genuine]”. He asked: “Who can you rely on to build a better future? The people who have been stable and consistent for the last three years, or a government which has been wracked by division and dysfunction, and which promises more of the same if it’s re-elected?”

During the five weeks since he was reinstated, Mr Rudd has sought to address every issue damaging to Labor. He announced a tough new policy on boat people, who will be sent to Papua New Guinea or Nauru to be processed and then, if their asylum claims are upheld, wil lbe resettled in those countries – not in Australia.

He scrapped the hated “carbon tax”, which was designed to tax the biggest polluting companies, but which voters saw as adding to their cost of living. He suspended the party’s scandal-ridden New South Wales branch, and changed rules to ensure that leaders  cannot be removed so easily.

Yesterday, he reminded Australians that their country was almost unique among developed nations in having avoided a recession in recent years. Instead, nearly a million jobs had been created. Mr Abbott retorted that under Labor the budget deficit was growing by A$3bn (£1.75bn) a week.



- Labor will send “boat people” to Papua New Guinea or Nauru, where they will be processed and resettled.

- The Coalition will turn back boats which enter Australian waters, if feasible to do so safely, and appoint a three-star military commander to oversee a taskforce.


- Labor will axe a fixed carbon price and move to an Emissions Trading Scheme next year.

- The Coalition’s policy – apart from abolishing the carbon tax, which Labor has pre-empted – is vague. Like Labor, it supports cutting emissions by 5 per cent by 2020.


- Labor will pursue a “national competitiveness agenda” to broaden the economic base, now that the China-driven mining boom is over.

- The Coalition will cut red tape, particularly for small business, and return the budget to surplus.


- Labor will continue rolling out its National Broadband Network, to provide cheap, high-speed broadband access.

- The Coalition will deliver a cheaper NBN, more quickly.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been the teaching profession's favourite teacher
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

Developer - WinForms, C#

£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform