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Rudd Watch: Has Kev07 delivered as promised?

July 21st, 2009 · Greg Atkinson · 21 Comments

The Rudd Government still holds a commanding lead over the Opposition according to opinion polls and Kevin Rudd himself enjoys a high popularity rating. But what has Rudd and his team actually delivered to the Australian public in terms of completed projects or successful outcomes?

During the 2007 election campaign Kevin Rudd set out to portray himself as a man of action who knew what the people wanted and had the team that would be able to get things done. But the truth is that the Rudd Labor Government has failed to deliver on many of it’s key vote grabbing promises… and yet nobody seems to care. The global economic crisis seems to have provided the perfect cover for a series of poorly managed Government programmes and undelivered election campaign commitments.

Here are some of the major ALP (Australian Labor Party) election promises from 2007 and their current status.

National Broadband Network

Current Status: Broken

The original promise made by “digital” Kev back in 2007 was for the Government to invest up to $4.7 billion to build a national broadband network. But thanks to Senator  “let’s filter the internet”  Conroy, the original plan fell in a heap and has now been replaced by a more audacious $43 billion dollar plan.

As of today work has just begun in Tasmania which Conroy seems to think is a logical place to test a high speed broadband network. (this actually means he simply found someone ready to string out some optic fibre cables) With the  first broadband services  not expected to be offered to consumers in Tasmania until the second quarter of 2010  I would suggest that you don’t hold your breath waiting for the NBN to reach you any time soon.

In any case,  promising to spend up to $4.7 billion on a project and then having to bail yourself out of trouble by using $43 billion of taxpayers money can not be called a success. The NBN is a mess and is a classic example of why Governments should stay away from consumer focused business ventures.

You can see my other rant about the NBN and the amazingly useless Senator Conroy here: The national broadband network: from debacle to disaster.

Dismantle Work Choices

Current Status: In Progress

I thought that Work Choices was actually a step in the right direction for Australia in terms of making the nation more globally competitive, but most voters thought otherwise and thus the Rudd Government is now working towards unwinding the Work Choices legislation.

Although Work Choices is yet to be completely erased we would have to say that in general the Rudd Government is close to delivering on it’s campaign promises regarding this issue. I am not sure this is a good thing, but probably few people would agree with me.

Computer for every student in Years 9 to 12.

Current Status: Debacle

As part of  the Labor Party’s so called “education revolution” (sounds like something out of Mao’s little red book) $1 billion was suppose to be spent on providing every school student in Years 9 to 12 with their own computer.

But it seems Julia Gillard forgot that computers need software applications, have to be connected to power and integrated into a LAN etc. so the cost has now blown out to around $2 billion. The promise has also been watered down to every student will have “access” to a school computer so I guess this means if just a few computers are installed in a school then theoretically this revised part of the “revolution” has been achieved.

The entire programme has been mismanaged from day one and even the State Labor Government’s cried foul when they realised they would have to chip in large sums of money to make up for all the bits (or is that bytes?) Gillard forget to include in her initial $1 billion guesstimate.  The true cost of funding this vague election promise may never been known.

Emissions Trading Scheme

Current Status: Stalled

During the 2007 election campaign Rudd committed to cutting Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by 60% through a national carbon/emissions trading scheme. (ETS)

But so far Senator Penny Wong has been unable to put together either an ETS framework that businesses understand or develop legislation that will get through the Senate.  In addition it seems the Government feels it does not need to provide answers to Senator Fielding about the science behind CO2 induced climate change, so it is unlikely he will help them get the legislation over the line in the Senate.

The ETS in my opinion is just another tax and not a very effective way to deal with global warming if in fact, the planet is actually warming at all. In the rush to secure the green vote, Rudd and Co. may have made Al Gore happy but they have put jobs and economic growth at risk without considering what other options may be available to them.

Withdraw Australian Troops from Iraq

Current Status: Completed

The ALP committed to pulling Australian combat troops out of Iraq and this is one promise the Rudd Government has kept. Mind you it seems Australia’s commitment to Afghanistan will probably be ramped up so I am not sure what has actually been achieved.

I am also not entirely sure why Australia is helping to fight the CIA’s old pals the Taliban. I thought originally the U.S. invaded the country to round up those behind the September 11 attack, (which was quite justified) but the operation seems to have morphed into another occupation of a country where many of the people simply want the U.S and her allies to leave.

Reduce waiting lists for elective surgery in Public Hospitals

Current Status: Unknown

During the election campaign of 2007 the ALP and Kevin Rudd made a number of promises related to health,  few of which have been delivered in any tangible way. I am unaware for example of any significant reductions in elective surgery waiting times in public hospitals as a result of anything done by the Federal Government. But I might be wrong,  so if anyone has some hard data then please share it with me.

Personally I wish all levels of government would commit to reducing accidental and preventable deaths in the public hospital system, but I guess those sorts of objectives that have been placed in the too hard basket.

2008 Tax Cuts

Current Status: Completed

Wayne Swan (also known as the slayer of the inflation genie) did deliver the planned tax cuts although I did write back in early 2008 that these cuts probably should have been cancelled.  But to be fair the ALP promised the tax cuts during the 2007 election campaign and they delivered.

However it is sort of ironic now that all the money handed out in tax cuts will be needed by the government again to pay down debt, so I would not get too attached to any extra money you feel you have in your pocket at the moment.

Deliver budget surpluses equivalent to 1% of GDP

Current Status: Broken

There seems to be little chance that Rudd and Swan will be able to deliver on this promise for a long time, and Rudd’s claim to be an economic conservative has to be seen as a bit of a joke.

Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan can try and blame the global financial crisis for the huge pile of debt they created but the fact is if they had spent more wisely, the debt mountain would be much smaller and it would be easier for some future government to get the budget back in surplus.

Anyway I have written before about Rudd Economics 101 so let me just simply say that any fool can spend money and rack up debt. It isn’t clever economic management to just toss money at problems, it is simply reckless and all of us will end up paying to help Rudd shore up votes in marginal electorates and key demographics.


I have not tried to cover all of  Kev07’s election promises but rather my aim was just to focus on some of the major vote grabbers and see what has actually been delivered.  I have also left out some other failures like Grocery Watch and Fuel Watch that cost millions and achieved absolutely nothing simply because they were relatively small failures in the overall scheme of things.

But I am no great fan of the Rudd Government so if readers think there are some major promises they have been kept and tangible results delivered then please feel free to leave a comment.

Conversely there might be some other major election promises where the Rudd Government has completely dropped the ball, so if you feel I have missed something then let me know.

21 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Gary // Jul 22, 2009 at 11:16 am

    I wonder what happened to the Coastguard and the Super Clinics? Actually Rudd made a lot of promises in the health care area and about the only thing he has done is cut the private health insurance rebate, which he actually promised not to touch during the 2007 election campaign.

  • 2 Jane // Jul 22, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    I have been trying to keep up. To date my list, drawn from media:
    The list of failures, blunders and back flips grows:
    1. 2020 – 1,000 B&B minds, $2+m = 9 useable ideas.
    2. Save the whales (using the navy to confront Japanese) – dangerous stunt.
    3. Inflation Genie – Genie = Supernatural Pre-Islamic myth
    4. Taxes up (Gas, Diesel, Transport, Alcopops) – inflationary
    5. Fuelwatch – cost $21 million –stunt -lenses fell out.
    6. Grocery Watch, err, Choice – cost $13 million – stunt
    7. Arresting Iranian leaders – Stunt
    8. Bank Guarantee – still over 200,000 bank accounts frozen from September 2008 – blunder
    9. Education Revolution – still revolving
    10. National Broadband Network (from $4b, to $7b to $43 billion) – inexplicable
    11. Cash Splash 1 – borrowed
    12. Cash Splash 2 – also borrowed
    13. Work Choices /Fair work – Will cost jobs
    14. Immigration/Refugees/Asylum Seekers = Open door
    15. Defence – cut expenditure & increase weaponry?
    16. Homeland Security Department – “a non-core promise” broken Nov 28, 2007
    17. Global Cooling/Warming/Climate Change/Carbon Reduction – Scam
    18. Budget Surpluses – Ancient history.
    19. Economic conservatism – new words, still not in ALP dictionary.
    20. The buck stops with me! – I’m on informal leave,
    21. Electric cars /Hybrid Cars – $6.2 billion – Toyota for one bemused & grateful.
    22. Job creation & security from IR reforms – for Trade Union leaders.
    23. Securing water on the Murray/Darling – it’s secured alright – well out of sight.
    24. IVF Program – cuts – the caring ALP.
    25. Medicare/Private Health – rebate not to be touched – key election promise – outright lie
    26. Dental Scheme – gone – the caring ALP
    27. Cataract Surgery – costs doubled – the caring ALP
    28. Superannuation – the government needs it more than you.
    29. Home Savers – a fizzer, not enough people saving
    30. First home Owners grant – inflating house prices
    31. One Stop Super Childcare Centres – maybe in 2095
    32. One Stop Super Clinics – no longer heard of.
    33. No compulsory University Union Fees – an outright lie
    34. Coastguard – huh!
    35. Maternity Leave – out in the never never
    36. Worker Share Options, June 2009 – on, off, on, off, on like a light switch – blunder
    37. Carbon emissions reduction – LPG conversion subsidies being phased out l – June 2009
    38. Carbon Emissions reduction Part 2 – Household Solar Rebate axed 9/6
    30. Schools Stimulus/? Infrastructure Program – absolute chaos. – Subject to AG inquiry.
    40. Flood Relief NSW North Coast June 2009 – serves them right for living there. Qld got it so all OK
    41. Ruddbank – fizzer.
    42. ABCCC – back flip with twist
    43. Federal takeover of hospitals by mid 2009 if no improvement. – To dream the impossible dream – a lie.
    44. Indigenous conditions – worse & a string of broken promises (languages etc)
    45. Reduce consultancies by $112 million = increase to $800 million (6354 consultancies)
    46. Govt will pay small business invoices on time = takes a lot longer (good one when cash flow is a problem) $16 billion in overdue accounts.
    47. No nuclear Waste Dump NT – election promise – broken June 2008
    48. $15 million to rural research & development corporations – election promise – broken May 2008.
    49. A – E reporting on childcare standards & universal pre-school for 4 year olds – election promise – broken June 2009
    50. Increased Skilled Immigration in economic downturn – leads to lack of work for young people. (GFC forces older workers to work longer plus additional jobs going to immigrants rather than our youth) – blunder, blunder, blunder.
    51. ALP Uranium Policy/stance – in tatters. Garrett approves uranium mine.
    52. Open and accountable government – no results yet 5 dead SIEV boat, no results yet utegate, NO Response to 53+ missing presumed dead on SIVE the Government knew about.
    53. Diplomacy – Japan – biggest customer – snubbed first jaunt. India – Uranium contract cancelled at first opportunity. USA – conversations (real/imaginary) released to media. China, May 2009 – “difficult to deal with” Australia led Asia Pacific Body – thud.
    54. NBN – July 2009, Senate Committee told by finance analysts believe plans for the national broadband network are in shambles. – blundering money wasting.
    55. Selling scarce arable land to foreign mining interests. – Major blunder.

    Outstanding questions:

    – Government Expenditure (Cash Splashes etc) are double or more than proposed infrastructure spending.
    – Business plan & costings for NBN
    – Business plan & costings to pay back deficits
    – Full story Ashmore Reef SIEV – 5 deaths (Occurred April 20, 2009)
    – Full story – number of boats coming in, conditions and costings for Christmas Island.
    – Why the rapid increase, first in SIEV’s, now the increase in numbers aboard since the new ALP rules?
    – Asia Pacific Body
    – Australia’s controversial Internet filter, now in testing, would block all material that has been “refused classification” by the government. This to includeM15+ games.
    – No pattern bargaining, Unions
    – Heiner affair.
    – Results Auditor General Report on School Infrastructure program – waste.
    – How do Pink Batts and School Halls contribute to GDP.
    – Hospitals situation following June back down, waiting, waiting, waiting
    – Full story “Utegate”
    – War on Homelessness – delayed while the Generals and Officers bicker. Waiting, waiting, waiting.
    – The case of the disappearing SIEV with over 70 people aboard – conflicting reports – more questions than answers. What role do Refugee Advocates play with People Traffickers?
    – We can sell it, we can store the waste but we can’t use nuclear power.
    – With a percentage of 6.15% of arable land Australia comes in at #145/218 countries. Why is the Government selling our scarce resource of arable land for mining?

  • 3 Senator13 // Jul 22, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    Wow… That is staggering and quit frightening…

    I’ve got no words to describe all of that…

    It is scary seeing it all listed like that.

    Jane, keep that list up to date, a lot of these things get swept under the rug. It is the most comprehensive list I have seen to date. How these things don’t get a mention I don’t know. It is not just a few million here and there. It is billions and billions of dollars. How can these things go unnoticed?

  • 4 8020 Financial // Jul 22, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    For me, the one failure that eclipses all the others is the massive budget deficit we now all have to live with. So much for fiscal responsibility. Yet the mob and the media still love him.

  • 5 Greg Atkinson // Jul 23, 2009 at 8:19 am

    Jane that is quite a list and yet the majority of the Australian public still think Kev and Co. are doing a wonderful job! I do not hear Rudd talking about the “buck stops with me” any more, it always seems to be somebody elses fault.

  • 6 Greg Atkinson // Oct 15, 2009 at 9:05 am

    It seems Rudd’s promise to fix the hospital system has not only been unfulfilled but the situation has actually got worse: Hospitals get sicker despite injection

  • 7 Pete // Oct 16, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    Greg: So you mean the promise has essentially been broken – in that it did not fix anything.

    I think you might have done a typo 🙂

  • 8 Greg Atkinson // Oct 16, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    Pete yes I made a typo which I have now attempted to correct. I really should pay more attention 🙂 Thanks for the tip off!

  • 9 Greg Atkinson // Jun 22, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    This site which I just found seems to be tracking Rudd’s promises quite well:

    I am surprised the Rudd has any support left!

  • 10 Sue Entwistle // Jun 23, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    How about this list gets sent to all in opposition no matter what party, at least someone might be able to ask the hard questions more often.

  • 11 Greg Atkinson // Jun 24, 2010 at 9:10 am

    Good point Sue, but even with a list of questions I don’t think Joe Hockey would do any better.

    Anyway Rudd is out now, his ego fueled power trip has come to an end at last!

  • 12 Anon // Jun 24, 2010 at 10:32 am

    Rudd crying on tv, so sad 🙁

  • 13 Greg Atkinson // Jun 24, 2010 at 10:53 am

    I have no sympathy for the man. This is a guy who yelled at his staff and thought he was the chosen one. Remember the incident on the VIP jet?

    So Kevvie lost his job..big deal. So did a lot of home insulation workers because of his mismanagement; the difference is they don’t have a overly generous lifetime pension to fall back on.

    If politicians can’t handle getting knifed in the back then they shouldn’t get into the profession.

  • 14 Anon // Jun 24, 2010 at 11:10 am

    oh no Julia didn’t back down on the RSPT…this isn’t starting well. She said she is going to negotiate and open the door to the miners. I have no idea why she didn’t kill it right then and there…its unpopular why keep going??

  • 15 Anon // Jun 24, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    It looks like Dillard is just going to keep doing what Dudd did, but with more love and understanding.

    Abbott getting stuck into Gillard atm. Drawing similarities between Rudd and Gillard – smart. Abbott reminds me of Blinky Bill for some reason?

  • 16 Ned S // Jun 24, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    “its unpopular why keep going??” – Because they are socialists and have no idea how to live within their means or generate income – Only how to remove income from those who do and redistribute it to others of their ilk – The Beak is no different – With her basic line being Well I HAD to kill Kev, ’cause if I didn’t, that other nasty mob would have got in and done fiscally conservative type things – Not that I especially believe they would have – But it sounds good to all those Aussies who prefer the thought of having a stab at living within someone else’s means rather than within their own I guess?

    The King is dead; May the Queen soon follow! 🙂

  • 17 Ned S // Jun 24, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Might be best if Aussies don’t think too much about Abbott Anon – Or we just could end up with a Green/ALP coalition?

    They are ALL so damn frustrating! Still, the realistic route of suggesting to Aussies that Life wasn’t meant to be easy, was bounced by us once as a thought by one of our past leaders – And the feedback at the time probably indicates it isn’t ever likely to be a big vote winner as I recall?

  • 18 Senator13 // Jun 24, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    Gillard as PM is going to be worse than Rudd.

    Especially with Tanner now not contesting the next election. He was the only level headed member among them. Rudd is going to look extremely moderate in comparison.

    The Unions and the grubby factions are now well and truly in charge. We have another leader in office not elected by the people just like we have had in the states. We all knew Gillard was going to knife Rudd in the back the first opportunity she got. The same will happen to her. That’s just what Labor do.

    Gillard needs to call and election in weeks not months.

  • 19 Ned S // Jun 24, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    Maybe her pr people can persuade her to join the blue rinse set – After all, Kev seems to have developed a fondness for blue ties.

    In case anyone is interested, it appears that it will be Swanny heading off to the G20 to wave the Oz version of the red banner high. That could get interesting if a bunch of them tell Mr Obama they’d genuinely rather concentrate on balancing their books though perhaps?

    What can I say? Thanks Kev, you gave us some laughs – Until we realised you were serious???

  • 20 Greg Atkinson // Jun 25, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    The G-20 I reckon is going to be a real fizzer. None of the G-20 nations seem to agree on much now. Everyone seemed happy when they could just spend, spend, spend…but now that they have seen the bill they can’t work how to pay it since the credit card has been maxed out 🙂

    But Obama still wants to spend and probably so does Swanny. They don’t seem to be that worried about debt yet which is a worry.

  • 21 Ned S // Jun 25, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Debt – Comparatively, Oz doesn’t figure it has as much of it as a lot of others and genuinely figure they’ll ride Asia’s coat tails to glory I guess. While the Yank policy makers don’t seem to be especially concerned (yet?) that the day might come when they could find it difficult to borrow – Or if they are, they see it is a problem for when it does. (With everyone probably getting pushed off the perch first maybe?)

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