Time to stop playing games

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Kevin Rudd has missed the point entirely when it comes to the pressure on him to announce an election date.

For the past few weeks, Mr Rudd and senior MPs – including Chris Bowen on ‘Meet the Press’ last Sunday – are going with the “in good time” line, saying only that the election will be called and held within the rules and allowances of the Constitution.

In any ordinary election year, that would be considered a fair and reasonable tactic. After all, it’s always been the trump card of an incumbent Prime Minister to be able to have the election date hidden away until the moment is the right.

But this is no ordinary election year and no ordinary situation.

Mr Rudd seems to be playing us all for fools – he doesn’t seem to get why there’s such a particular focus on the election date this time around. He simply wants us to remember that it’ll be held within the timeframe the Constitution allows, and beyond that, we shouldn’t worry our pretty, little heads about such matters.

The truth of the matter is that up until a few weeks ago, we had an election date that had been announced by former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.

We were going to the polls on September 14.

Indeed, Ms Gillard gave up the trump card early, in an attempt to quell constant speculation from the Canberra press gallery and the wider public.

Three weeks ago Mr Rudd made the decision to roll a sitting Prime Minister.

As a result, he must now face the consequences and that includes calling an election immediately, particularly given the broken promises he made about not challenging for the top job.

It is an insult to the collective intelligence of the nation for Mr Rudd to be gallivanting around the country – and other countries – building his PR profile while confidence from individuals and businesses only worsens given the uncertainty of the election date.

One only has to look at the move to dump the carbon tax and move to an Emissions Trading Scheme, and the impact that will have on the car industry in this country, to know that confidence is at an awful low and only getting worse with added uncertainty.

Back in 2010, Julia Gillard waited 23 days between rolling Mr Rudd and calling the election.

Ironically, today marks 23 days since Mr Rudd was returned as Prime Minister.

It’s 23 days too long, but one gets the feeling that Mr Rudd will continue on his unofficial election campaign for a few more days yet.

He’s enjoying himself too much, by the looks of it.

I am one who believes the rolling of a leader in the way it was done in both 2010 and 2013 is wrong, and offensive to voters who elect politicians to govern, not squabble about their own positions.

If it has to happen, however, then there should be no question about going to an election straight away.

Mr Rudd seems obsessed with challenging Tony Abbott to debate him at the National Press Club about everything from the economy to carbon pricing.

Such debates should be held during an election campaign and Mr Abbott is right to hold his ground.

It’s time for Mr Rudd to stop playing games. Call the election today, be honest with the Australian people, and kick off the campaign officially.

Only then will we get to see Mr Rudd and Mr Abbott on the level playing field that such campaigns provide.

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