Rudd will condemn Captain Negative for “lazy” politics

Kevin Rudd will use his address at the National Press Club to question Tony Abbott’s negative politics. AAP/Lukas Coch

Kevin Rudd today will paint Tony Abbott as “Captain Negative”, unwilling to do the hard work needed to develop policies to change the country and guilty of talking Australia down.

Appearing at the National Press Club, the Prime Minister will play up Abbott’s refusal to face him in a debate on the economy.

Rudd will push his theme of positive politics in contrast to the negative politics of the past.

“I am an unapologetic optimist about our nation’s future”, he will say. “Australia is seen around the world as one of the strongest economies, most stable of societies and a nation underpinned by a robust national security.

"I object to anybody in our national political debate talking Australia down”.

He will condemn the “daily diatribe of negative politics whose single objective is to cause the Australian people to feel that our country is on the verge of falling apart – if not now, then certainly by next Thursday afternoon”.

Abbott is “formidable in the art of negative politics”. But a 100 percent diet of this is “a lazy substitute for the hard work that is needed to develop, argue and implement policies that will change Australia for the better.

"That is why Mr Abbott has so far publicly stated that he does not want to face the public scrutiny of an economic policy debate here.” Rudd has repeatedly challenged Abbott to appear at the Press Club today to debate debt and deficit and to have debates on other topics later.

“The easiest thing to do in our national political life is to craft a negative sound-bite” rather than answering core questions on what the alternative policies would do, how much they would cost and whether they would work.

Rudd will say that given the new economic challenges, “what the Australian people are now demanding is a credible, positive direction for the future. Rather than a repetition of the tired, old negative politics of the past.

"And given the rapid and recent decline in our terms of trade, this substantive economic policy debate is no longer just an option – it has now become a necessity. Because if we make the wrong decisions now, we will be living with those decisions for the rest of the decade”.