Election 2007 Day 20: Deals are done, lips loosen, promises continue

The Liberals have announced a preference deal with Christian leader Fred Nile in NSW and Family First in all Coalition seats. Labor is counting on preferences from the Greens in the lower house, vowing to hand over preferences in the Senate.

On a green note, ALP environment spokesman Peter Garrett got the Opposition into hot water on Friday with a flip comment in the Qantas lounge to a radio announcer suggesting that an elected Labor government would reverse its election commitments.

The Coalition seized on the blunder to showcase its integrity, with Workplace Relations Minister Joe Hockey vowing to quit if a re-elected Coalition changes industrial relations laws.

The Reserve Bank of Australia meets tomorrow to review interest rates and is predicted to raise them by a quarter of a percentage point to 6.75% – the sixth consecutive hike since the 2004 federal election. Howard now says inflationary pressures are unavoidable, but that Labor doesn’t have enough experience to manage a more difficult economic environment.

Yesterday’s Galaxy Newspoll shows Labor is still tipped to win the election, with a 47% primary vote to the Coalition’s 44%. Some voters are sitting on the fence however – 22% are yet to cast their bet. According to the poll, just 12% of voters would blame Howard for the RBA’s rate rise.

Election promises continue, with the ALP’s $600 million pledge to first home buyers and today’s announcement it will spend $150 million on 600 new houses and units for Australia’s homeless.

John Howard announced $10.5 billion in road and rail funding for the eastern seaboard, however all but $56 million of his “super Sunday” package falls under the Auslink scheme announced in the federal budget.

And speaking on ABC’s Landline on Sunday with Agriculture Minister Peter McGuaran, Labor agriculture spokesperson Senator O’Brien warned the ALP could be “almost forced” to shut down live export given growing public pressure.



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