Labor leader Rudd, launching his campaign in the battleground state of Queensland, sought to capitalise on unease among voters about promised conservative opposition spending cuts. He warned they would hurt jobs and confidence in an economy already spooked by the slide in commodity prices and the strength of the Australian dollar.
“In this election we are now engaged in the fight of our lives,” he told supporters.
Australia under Labor steered safely through the 2008 global financial crisis, buoyed by a China-led resource export boom, but the party has faced public anger thanks to Rudd’s in-fighting with Julia Gillard, who ousted him as leader in 2010 before he took back the post earlier this year. Rupert Murdoch’s tabloids in the country have called for a change in government.