AUSTRALIA goes to the polls tomorrow and for many it marks the end of a marathon campaign.
The election was flagged as being a test of trust and economic management amid claims that Kevin Rudd was a new man.
However, on countless occasions he has shown the opposite and actually confused voters.
He repeatedly promised never to challenge for the Labor leadership and did the opposite.
He heavily criticised John Howard's asylum seeker policy saying that it should be denounced by churches and then introduced a policy further to the right which actually was denounced by churches.
He has been a long-running opponent of gay marriage and then, on the eve of the first debate, he promised to introduce a bill to legalise gay marriage.
His policy on the run was perfectly summed up in week two of the campaign. On a flying visit to the Northern Territory he promised to introduce a new company tax rate for the Top End 10 per cent lower than the rest of Australia.
That was an absolute insult to Tasmania, which is basically in recession and with the highest unemployment in the country.
By far the biggest gaffe of the campaign came from Mr Rudd rather than Mr Abbott.
The fanfare announcement that Treasury had costed the Coalition's policies and found a $10billion black hole looked like a trump.
Mr Rudd called Mr Abbott a fraud.
In an unprecedented move the three top independent Treasury officials went public and denounced Mr Rudd's claims.
This exposed the real fraud.
If trust and the economy were top of the tree Mr Rudd and Treasurer Chris Bowen were down in the leaf litter.
It was also so particularly telling when a third of Labor's cabinet, including most of its best and brightest, resigned when Mr Rudd ousted Julia Gillard.
This is not a united government. Labor has had six years of self-indulgent infighting and only switched to Mr Rudd out of self- preservation.
For Tasmanian voters there is the double whammy of a state Labor-Greens government that is clearly on the nose.
Federal Labor candidates were entirely justified this week to point out the damage created by the state Labor-Greens alliance, which Labor promised voters in 2010 would never happen.
The cumulative effect of dysfunction under Mr Rudd and Ms Gillard and dissatisfaction with Lara Giddings and Nick McKim has taken its toll and eroded confidence in the overall Labor brand.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is far from perfect but has charted a steadier course and kept the messages simple.
He is a little old-fashioned and prone to some of those "sex appeal" comments but he offers a team that has been united for three years and critically he is rated higher by voters in the trust and economy stakes.
The biggest criticism is that the Liberals waited until yesterday to announce their final $9 billion of savings.
It has been famously said that oppositions don't win government, governments lose government.
Increasingly it appears that Labor has lost the confidence of many Australians and really needs a stint in opposition to sort out its internal squabbles.
For Australia to prosper we need a steady hand and a united and competent executive government and that isn't being offered by Kevin Rudd.- MARTIN GILMOUR, editor