Comeback kid: Rudd’s charm assault


“Rudd on the Blue Mountains with ALP Candidate Susan Templeman. The voter turnround in 4 days is absolutely amazing”

Comeback kid: Rudd’s charm assault

June 30, 2013 – 12:01AM
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Kevin Rudd on the election trail in the town of Springwood in the lower Blue Mountains with local member Susan Templeman.Kevin Rudd on the election trail in the town of Springwood in the lower Blue Mountains with local member Susan Templeman. Photo: James Alcock

Kevin Rudd appears capable of neutralising Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s relentless attack on the government’s mishandling of asylum seeker boat arrivals.

Polling in key Labor seats that had turned their backs on the ALP under Julia Gillard reveals a surprise turnaround in confidence in Mr Rudd to find a solution on boats.

Most of my friends are younger folk.

As refugee policy became the first flashpoint between the rebadged Labor government and the Coalition, a Fairfax-ReachTEL poll of four Labor electorates in Sydney and Melbourne found voters believe Mr Rudd is just as well equipped as Mr Abbott to slow maritime arrivals.

A survey of voters in Blaxland and McMahon in western Sydney, and Chisholm and Maribyrnong in outer Melbourne, found a 50:50 split on who was the best leader for the task.


The result will be of serious concern to Liberal strategists who had made deep inroads into once-safe Labor seats by focusing on Labor’s handling of the issue under Ms Gillard – and Mr Rudd before her.

Confidence in Mr Rudd is more surprising considering 74 per cent of the voters in those seats blame Labor for the morass.

In Blaxland, held by Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare, 52 per cent of the 625 people polled by phone on Thursday said Mr Rudd was best able to handle the issue.

In Treasurer Chris Bowen’s seat of McMahon, Mr Abbott led by a whisker on the issue, with 50.5 per cent of people backing him. In Bill Shorten’s seat of Maribyrnong, 55 per cent backed Mr Rudd.

Election rally speeches delivered in Melbourne on Saturday by former prime minister John Howard and Mr Abbott indicated the Coalition would step up the attack on Labor over boats.

Boat arrivals have caused concern among migrants, many of whom see themselves as having come in ”through the front door”. Mr Rudd and Foreign Minister Bob Carr have signalled a ”harder edge” on processing of refugee applications.

Mr Howard branded Mr Rudd the ”great policy chameleon of Australian politics”, pointing to the Prime Minister’s various promises to tow back boats in 2007 and warnings to his colleagues not to lurch to the right and the left on the issue.

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