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Shadow Minister criticises Prime Minister's plan to reassess commitments made during election campaign.

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Tuesday 12 October 2004

Shadow Minister criticises Prime Minister's plan to reassess commitments made during election campaign


TONY EASTLEY: The Federal Opposition is like ly to have a new Treasury spokesman to face Peter Costello when Parliament resumes next month. After its devastating loss to the Coalition, Labor is looking at its failed strategy and at some individuals. And the focus has fallen on Shadow Treasurer, Simon Crean. 


As for their part, the Labor leader and his deputy are not expected to be challenged when the depleted Caucus meets next week. 


Louise Yaxley reports. 


LOUISE YAXLEY: Labor's trying to contain the amount of post-election bloodletting and scapegoating. The leader, Mark Latham, won't face a challenge and the deputy, Jenny Macklin, is also unlikely to have to face a contest.  


The health spokeswoman, Julia Gillard, has ruled out any challenge against Ms Macklin, and it's understood there are no other contenders. 


Mark Latham says the party has to learn from its loss, and he nominates the economy as the area where Labor has to improve and present stronger credentials - that puts the focus on the Shadow Treasurer's job, now held by the former leader, Simon Crean. 


Mr Latham says he doesn't have any concerns about the way Mr Crean campaigned during the election. 


But there's an expectation within the Labor Caucus that Simon Crean will voluntarily give up the job and take a different frontbench position. That would leave the way open for a fresh face against Peter Costello. 


The Coalition's campaign on interest rates and economic stability has left Labor bitter and angry. 


Frontbencher Kim Carr questions whether the Prime Minister is now walking away from some of the Coalition's spending promises during the last six weeks. 


KIM CARR: He now says that he'll implement as much of the policy he's announced in terms of his promises as he can. Well, hello, hello. What happened to these commitments he made to the Australian people? Is he going to implement his policies or not?  


We've got non-core and core promises again. The election campaign has just been fought - never heard any of that. Never heard anything about the conditionality of the promises that are being offered.  


There was money being thrown around like a drunken sailor, and now we discover that the Government wants to reassess the nature of its commitments made in this election campaign.  


I think we're entitled to say this is a government that is not straight with the Australian people. They said that they were the party that could protect the Australian people from higher interest rates. Well, let's wait 'til the first interest rates occur and let's see what happens then. 


LOUISE YAXLEY: Mr Howard will announce his own new ministerial line-up next week - the two certainties are that Peter Costello will keep the treasurer's position, and Alexander Downer will keep Foreign Affairs. 


TONY EASTLEY: Louise Yaxley reporting.