I do hope Rudd's a better PM. He's a politician,
Rudd has very little experience as a politician - strictly speaking, he's spent most of his life as a diplomat. Had you asked about Kevin Rudd two years ago, people would be saying "Kevin who?".
With regards to the sale of public assets, I'd say the state governments (which have been Labor run for years in every state) are the worst and not for the better of the state, but merely to increase the coffers. Bob Carr, the recent former premier in NSW was a great example - he established a number of projects funded by public-private partnerships and now works on a part-time basis (paid $$$) for the investment bank (Macquarie) which funded these projects.
Not to mention all the propaganda advertising being played on the radio at the moment trying to re-assure us that it's ok that they're selling off the electricity services....
I think people had become bored of John Howard more than anything. They saw him as nearing retirement and decided to vote for the opposition simply to remove the incumbent for the sake of doing so, blind to the inexperience of Rudd and lack of policies from his party (for example, Kyoto is still no closer to being implemented than it was under a Howard government, despite the common misconception of otherwise). Kevin Rudd has offered a lot of spin and has done well in "keeping up appearances", but I don't invisage any positive change to this country as a result.
On the topic of an "Access Card" equivalent, I wouldn't write it off yet - the only thing that's for sure is that it won't be called an "Access Card", it will most likely be named with a more subtle name.