The 2010 federal election is shaping up to be one of the biggest contest of ideas in Australia's political history. With a first term Labor Government seeking re-election against a resurgent Opposition, many commentators believe that the stakes could not be higher, with the losing side potentially facing political irrelevance for years to come.
With opinion polls showing a tight election, the focus over the next few weeks, and during the eventual campaign, will be on how a Gillard Labor Government will articulate its case for re-election.
In her speech, immediately after winning the leadership of the Parliamentary Labor Party, Julia Gillard (pictured) emphasised the need to put the Government 'back on track', whilst at the same time, pointing out some of the policy successes of the last 30 months.
Significantly, Ms Gillard's speech acknowledged the work of the Government in stemming the tide of the Global Financial Crisis, building education infrastructure, reforming the health system, and reversing WorkChoices. By reminding Australians of the work of Federal Labor, the new Prime Minister has helped set the battleground that will be the 2010 federal election.
"I love this country and I was not going to sit idly by and watch an incoming Opposition cut education, cut health and smash rights at work. My values and my beliefs have driven me to step forward to take this position as Prime Minister", Ms Gillard remarked.
It is by pointing out the key policy areas of health, education and industrial relations that Julia Gillard hopes to remind Australians why they voted the way they did in 2007.
As a side note, Labor strategists believe that Tony Abbott is a powder keg ready to go off and that a strong campaign will be just the thing that might ignite the fuse.
Indeed, many political commentators agree that the 2010 election will be one of the most hard fought, lively campaigns seen for a long time.