Election roundup

As the argy bargy between the Coalition and the ALP over the ALP’s union links intensifies, Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd has been visiting hospitals and making promises to fund nurses return to work.

But he has released his tax policy (see first Briefing item) as the debate on Sunday night nears. Rudd has also announced $2.55 billion for roads in Queensland and $81 million to train more nurses.

Labor has agreed to abide by the Government’s Charter of Budget Honesty and submit its policies to Treasury and the Department of Finance for independent costing, despite Opposition finance spokesman Lindsay Tanner claiming the Government “rorted” the process last time.

Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund has warned the Howard Government to keep tight control of spending otherwise risk fuelling inflation, in its annual review of world economic outlook. The IMF has forecast Australia’s growth at 4.4% this year.

Some economic commentators are now saying that the Howard Costello plan for $34 billion in tax cuts gives the ALP the opportunity to take the high moral ground on economic policy.

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