Aus leaders to face voters

2010-08-18 09:50

Sydney - Australia's first woman prime minister and her conservative challenger prepared to face voters in a town hall forum on Wednesday, as a new poll predicted a narrow government win in weekend elections.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who deposed elected leader Kevin Rudd in a party coup just eight weeks ago, agreed to the showdown in Brisbane after lengthy squabbling over its format.

Gillard and opposition chief Tony Abbott will be grilled separately by voters at the Brisbane Broncos rugby league club's headquarters after the prime minister backed down on her demand for a head-to-head debate on the economy.

"He's going missing tonight. He doesn't want to give Australians the debate on the economy that they deserve," Gillard told reporters during a campaign stop in Western Australia.

Some commentators said the Welsh-born former lawyer was taking a risk by agreeing to the town hall format after being seen as losing out to Abbott in a similar event in Sydney last week, dubbed the "Battle of Rooty Hill".

"Julia Gillard is beginning to show signs of desperation and fear of losing the election after caving in to Tony Abbott's demands for a people's forum in Brisbane tonight," said a front-page commentary from The Australian newspaper.

"Gillard now appears to be the one desperate to force a mistake from her surprisingly disciplined opponent in front of a Brisbane audience, which still appears hostile to (Gillard's) Labor," it added.

Targeting marginal seats

A survey of 28 000 voters compiled from automated phone calls showed Labor scraping home with a four-seat majority, just avoiding becoming the first single-term government since World War II.

The JWS Research poll, published by the Sydney Morning Herald, found Labor would have lost 15 seats and gained six if polls were held last weekend, giving it 79 of the lower house's 150 seats. Abbott's Coalition was put at 68 seats.

Gillard is promising an economic boost through better education and training, along with improved healthcare helped by Labor's planned national broadband network, which is intended to wire 93% of homes.

Abbott has played heavily on Labor's perceived disunity and accuses the government of overspending during the financial crisis, when massive stimulus helped Australia avoid a recession.

The opposition needs a swing of 2.3%to drive Labor from power in Saturday's polls, less than three years after Rudd ended right-winger John Howard's 11 years in office.

Both sides are targeting marginal seats in resource-rich Queensland and Western Australia, and New South Wales, Australia's most populous state.


Read more on:    australia  |  australia elections

Read News24’s Comments Policy


Inside News24


SA political parties go to church

Leaders of different political parties have attended a church service at the Tyrannus Apostolic Church in De Deur.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy S III 16GB

There are no straight lines in nature. The Samsung  GALAXY...

From R3525.00

I'm shopping for:


You may be good at organising events but they do take their toll on your energy levels. You may need some time out today just more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.