Who can forget Kevin Rudd, in the lead up to the 2007 election, mimicking Prime Minister Howard by describing himself as fiscal conservative?
Once again, Rudd is channelling John Howard and copying his approach to politics.
As Prime Minister and when leading into an election campaign, John Howard advised his cabinet to clear the barnacles. This meant removing those policy issues that made the government vulnerable and ensuring that the opposition didn't have any easy shots.
Just under a week since being elected Prime Minister Rudd is following Howard's example and attempting to nullify those issues causing the ALP government damage.
Take education. This week Minister Carr acknowledged that forcing universities to enrol more and more students, especially from disadvantaged backgrounds and on the basis of improving equity and social justice, has led to falling standards.
Prime Minister Rudd, realising the government's Gonski inspired school funding model and National Plan for School Improvement are electoral liabilities, has admitted the critics are correct when arguing the new funding model is flawed.
As reported yesterday, Rudd is allowing an additional month before non-government schools have to sign on to the Gonski inspired model to provide a breathing space to address concerns.
Rudd and Minister Shorten hope, in the time available before the election, to assuage the fears non-government school authorities have that their schools will lose funding and have their autonomy compromised as a result of the new funding model and school improvement plan due to begin at the start of next year.
Rudd and Shorten should not be believed. The ALP government's sudden about face, now calling for meritocracy in education and a better deal for non-government schools, is simply an example of political pragmatism.
What better way to nullify education as an electoral liability than ditch a cultural-left commitment to equity of outcomes and victim-hood, and to copy the Coalition's commitment to properly fund non-government schools, promote meritocracy and allow schools autonomy and flexibility.
Such a move, while close to the hearts of Sussex Street political apparatchiks, will do little to convince an increasingly sceptical public that the ALP is genuine and that it no longer privileges power over policy.
Thanks to Julia Gillard and Peter Garrett, it is also the case that the new funding model and school improvement plan are enshrined in legislation, having passed both houses in the final weeks of parliament.
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