Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has made a pre-election pitch to union members in his first visit to Perth since dramatically reclaiming the leadership of the federal Labor Party last month.
Mr Rudd was met with rapturous applause at a United Voice conference in Subiaco as he declared his love for “Missos” and talked up the government’s investments in schools, training and disability care.
Mr Rudd told delegates he would need them “in the trenches” as Labor fought to win vital marginal seats such as Hasluck, Perth, and Brand at the upcoming federal election and warned the opposition would introduce damaging industrial relations changes.
“Remember, this mob brought in WorkChoices,” he said.
“This mob actually are not friends of working families. If they were ever friends of working families, then why the hell did they bring in WorkChoices when they got the political chance to do so?”
Mr Rudd also visited a local school and will meet with Premier Colin Barnett later today in a last-ditch bid to get Western Australia to sign up to the federal government’s Better Schools and Disability Care schemes.
He is unlikely to be successful in securing support for the schools plan, with Mr Barnett warning that WA will not be bullied into relinquishing control of its schools to Canberra despite an offer of an extra $590 million in federal funding.
Mr Rudd today dismissed these claims as “nonsense”, stating the federal government had “no interest in running schools”.
Mr Rudd will also launch former state planning minister Alannah MacTiernan’s campaign for the federal seat of Perth, and is expected to host a private fundraiser tonight.
It remains unclear when voters will go to the polls, with an outside chance that the election will be held as late as November.