Rudd hones in on budget cut fear

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Prime Minister Kevin Rudd believes Labor's "fighting spirit" and a voter backlash against the coalition's budget cuts will see it prevail at this Saturday's election.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd believesLabor's "fighting spirit" and a voter backlash against the coalition's budget cuts will see it prevail at this Saturday'selection.

While Labor has seized on the coalition's planned savings aspotentially damaging to a fragile economy, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says voters will see through that scaremongering.

Mr Abbott says the coalition will release its final policies, some more "modest savings" and the budget bottom line later in theweek.

"Inevitably there will be some (budget) changes that peoplewon't like ... I want to give people this absolute assurance: nocuts to education, no cuts to health, no changes to pensions and no changes to the GST," Mr Abbott said.

Opinion polls show the coalition is likely to win Saturday's election, but internal Labor polling suggests voters are worriedabout budget cuts and the potential impact on their jobs.

Formally launching Labor's campaign, Mr Rudd unveiled a plan to address those job concerns by overhauling the training sector.

 "We are in the business of building the nation's future, whereas Mr Abbott believes in $70 billion worth of cuts ... that risk throwing the entire economy into recession because we still live infragile economic times," Mr Rudd said.

He discounted suggestions Mr Abbott had won the election.

 "I say this - never, ever, ever underestimate the fighting spirit of the Australian Labor Party," Mr Rudd said.

Mr Rudd promised small business an upfront tax deduction when they buy new equipment worth up to $10,000 and to legislate to ensure multinational business projects worth $300 million or more use more Australian suppliers and skilled workers.

He flagged the federal government funding TAFE collegesdirectly, or taking over the system, if the states did not stopcutting funding to the training sector.

Mr Abbott told ABC television the coalition would reveal morethan $31 billion in savings, but they would not damage the economy.

"I don't think anyone is going to think at the end of this week:

`My God, there is this massive fiscal squeeze coming'," Mr Abbott said.

"If anything, what they will think is there has been a massive... campaign of exaggerations and even lies from the Labor Party."

Coalition frontbencher Christopher Pyne warned the electionwould be close.

"There is every reason to believe Kevin Rudd could win the election and, worse than that, there could be another hung parliament," Mr Pyne said.

He defended his leader's comments about the situation in Syria after Mr Abbott told the ABC it was not about goodies versus baddies - "it is baddies versus baddies and that's why it is very important that we don't make a very difficult situation worse".

"In the Syrian civil war, both sides are very unattractive ...it's actually more sophisticated to recognise that, than to try and

pretend as (Finance Minister) Penny Wong does that there's somehow cowboys and indians and one side is good and one side is bad."

 Mr Abbott was in Sydney to promise $2 million for Bear Cottage, a children's palliative care facility.  The coalition also promised to improve transparency on taxes by giving PAYE taxpayers details on how their tax money was spent andthe level of government debt.

 

Source AAP

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