PM’s launch will focus on jobs

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will talk up Labor’s plans to grow jobs and highlight the opposition’s secret plan to cut services when he launches the party’s election campaign on Sunday.


Mr Rudd will officially launch his bid for re-election on Sunday in Brisbane, where he will continue to push the opposition to reveal what Labor says are plans to cut funding to hospitals, schools and jobs to pay for their expensive paid parental leave scheme.

One person who won’t be there is former prime minister Julia Gillard who doesn’t want to distract from her successor’s “powerful message”.

Mr Rudd says he understands and he’ll continue to acknowledge her contribution.

“I’m in the business of acknowledging all strong, positive contributions of those who have gone before me,” he said.

“Julia’s one of those, Paul Keating’s one of those, Bob Hawke’s one of those, Gough Whitlam’s one of those.”

The prime minister will continue his focus on jobs with plans to boost apprenticeships and strengthen the TAFE system.

Labor will introduce new rules for Commonwealth government building contracts and some projects that are more than 50 per cent Commonwealth funded – that 10 per cent of total labour hours worked must be by apprentices.

“Apprenticeships for us are a number one, two and three priority,” Mr Rudd told reporters in the marginal Country Liberal Darwin seat of Solomon on Saturday.

“Unless we are producing the apprenticeships of the future, we’re not building properly for the future as well.”

Mr Rudd says Labor had funded hundreds of thousands of apprenticeships and traineeships since coming to office.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott announced last week a plan to give HECS-style loans for apprentices to buy tools and equipment.

Resources Minister Gary Gray told Mr Rudd on Friday that he will be sky diving on the day of the launch and will miss the event.

The prime minister says he’s not sure if former Treasure Wayne Swan will attend.

But Mr Swan has tweeted in response to shadow treasurer Joe Hockey that he will be attending.

“@JoeHockey I’ll be there reminding people of the cuts you & Abbott would make & the $11B hole in your costings after the 2010 election.”