Rudd cuts and runs as Gillard warns of 'cuts to bone'

Julia Gillard is ready for an election.
Julia Gillard is ready for an election. Inga Williams

THE National Broadband Network, disability care and education reforms will be the three key planks of Labor's campaign strategy heading into the September election.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard told the final scheduled Labor Party caucus meeting the three issues would be top of the national agenda for the campaign.

While not going as far as saying the party could win the election, Ms Gillard said the election would be fought on the platform of Labor's existing commitments.

She said the choice for voters at the election would be "investing in the future versus cuts to the bone", repeating an oft-mentioned phrase.

News Ltd reported that Kevin Rudd plans to fly out to China on Thursday afternoon in a further sign he doesn't expect a leadership showdown with Ms Gillard.

A spokesman for Mr Rudd confirmed Australia's most monitored backbencher hopes to attend the Third Global Think Tank Summit in Beijing on Friday.



Ms Gillard said the Coalition's plans for an expanded copper internet network were indicative of a party that didn't want to embrace the future.

While some expected Ms Gillard to give a rousing "call to arms" speech to the caucus during the final meeting before an election, it is understood the tone of the meeting was subdued.

It is understood the elephant in the room, the party leadership, was not discussed and no "internal issues" were mentioned during the meeting.

Questions were also asked about the current 457 visa changes before the house, but no clear progress has been made with the government still negotiating with cross-benchers.

There was also some discussion of asylum-seeker issues, led by a motion from Laura Smyth to improve the "no advantage test".

However, that motion was swiftly defeated on the voices after a statement by Immigration Minister Brendan O'Connor.

Topics:  federal election 2013 gonski julia gillard national disability insurance scheme

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