Opposition leader Kevin Rudd has continued to resist pressure from Prime Minister John Howard to reveal the ALP’s tax policy as it emerges that both parties have $31.3 billion to fund election spending initiatives over the next six weeks.
According to the new budget figures, this money is available on top of the $34 billion already promised by the Coalition in tax cuts.
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Rudd has tried to shift the debate on to housing affordability by announcing a policy to sell $6 billion in surplus Commonwealth land across the country to ease the problem – a policy that the Coalition claims was one floated by Treasurer Peter Costello already.
The debate continues, with most commentators saying that Rudd cannot afford to not turn up to the event that John Howard has suggested for Sunday night at the Great Hall of Parliament House. Channel 9, which will telecast it, has promised “the worm” will appear, despite the PM’s strong distaste for the populist creature.
Rudd would like three debates, but the incumbent is setting the agenda and at this stage it looks like Howard will only agree to one.
Earlier today, Labor said it would spend $2.5 billion upgrading roads in south-east Queensland if it wins government. Most of this funding has already been announced, but there will be new pledges, including $500 million towards a tunnel project in Brisbane’s north.
This morning, Howard and Rudd and Defence Force head Angus Houston joined mourners at Brisbane’s Saint Stephen’s Cathedral for the military funeral of trooper David Pearce.