Day 24: The ghosts of elections past

The week in campaigning started with some familiar old faces popping up where they weren’t expected nor, in most cases, appreciated.

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Former Labor leader Mark Latham ambushed current PM Julia Gillard as she visited the Ekka show in Brisbane, accusing her of complaining about his new role as a Nine Network journalist.

A smiling but startled Ms Gillard wished him luck with his new venture, while party insiders no doubt scrambled to minimise the impact of the confrontation.

The Liberal Party was forced into damage control of its own when one of its former leaders, Andrew Peacock made a jibe at disabled voters.

“You’d need to be pretty handicapped not to appreciate that this (Labor) government is dissolving before your eyes daily,” he told ABC 24.

Former Treasurer and would-be prime minister Peter Costello also popped up, accusing Labor of misrepresenting his comments on Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s handling of the economy.

The ALP had used Mr Costello’s comments in an ad attacking Mr Abbott for what they say is a lack of interest in the economic running of the nation.

The Coalition’s election budget was under the microscope at the National Press Club in Canberra, after Opposition Treasurer Joe Hockey announced his party had pledged $25.7 billion worth of spending cuts during the campaign.

The announcement caused some confusion, coming just hours after Mr Abbott declared total spending would be less than $18 billion.

The Greens slammed Labor’s $100,000 pledge for schools that boost attendance and literacy and numeracy standards, saying the cash incentive was simply not enough.

As the election campaign enters its final fortnight, polling suggests Labor is making up ground on the Coalition, after a disastrous week last week.

Despite the party’s falling ratings, leader Julia Gillard is still the preferred Prime Minister, 15 points ahead of Mr Abbott with 49 per cent to his 34 per cent.


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