Australian PM far from 'dead and buried'

2013-08-22 10:02
Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (L) speaks as oppostion leader Tony Abbott (R) looks on during a people's forum in Brisbane. (Alan Porritt, AFP)

Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (L) speaks as oppostion leader Tony Abbott (R) looks on during a people's forum in Brisbane. (Alan Porritt, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Sydney - Embattled Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd warned on Thursday he was nowhere near being "dead and buried" after a debate in which election rival Tony Abbott asked: "Does this guy ever shut up?"

Labor's Rudd and his conservative opponent went head-to-head in an often fiery televised confrontation on Wednesday evening with Sky News, which hosted the forum, saying Abbott won with 37 audience members voting for him compared to 35 for the prime minister.

The remaining 33 people in the audience were undecided.

While a more confrontational Rudd, who is trailing in opinion polls, managed to breathe new life into his flagging campaign by attacking Abbott's failure to make public his policy costings, his opponent scored the most memorable moment in their second face-off.

When pressed by Rudd on how he would fund his signature paid parental leave policy, Abbott turned to the audience to ask: "Does this guy ever shut up?”.

Media seized on the comment as the highlight of the campaign so far.

Rudd, who has a reputation for enjoying the limelight, replied: "We are having a discussion, mate".

‘I’m a fighter’

Abbott made the most of getting the upper hand in the debate, telling reporters Thursday: "One contest I can never win against Mr Rudd is a talkathon. I just never can.

"I'm not against talk," he said. "My problem with Mr Rudd is that he is all talk and no action, and when he does take action it's invariably action that damages people."

Abbott added: "I will tell the truth about our policies. I will not tell lies about the other side because that is all that Mr Rudd has left in his desperation."

With the campaign for the September 7 election hitting the half-way mark, Rudd used momentum from the debate to give a rousing speech in Geelong, near Melbourne, saying it would be a mistake to write him off.

"This is a hard election, I'm not going to say it's not tough, it is," he said.

"But I'll tell you what - I am a fighter, a real fighter. And I will be fighting in every city, every state to make sure the message of what we offer to build a better future for our kids, our communities, our families and our country is heard loud and clear."

Rudd, who was brutally ousted as prime minister by Julia Gillard in a party room coup in 2010 before returning the favour to unseat her in June this year, added that Labor could still win.

"People have written me off before - I have a habit of coming back," he said, adding: "If I put together all the newspaper headlines saying I was dead and buried, they'd have two volumes on the shelf at the library here in Geelong.

"But I'll tell you something, I'm made of sterner stuff than that and we're going to fight, fight, and fight and make sure this Australian Labor government is returned on September 7."

Labor has campaigned on its steerage of the economy during the global financial crisis which kept Australia out of recession. But after six years the centre-left party's popularity is waning.

Abbott has promised to draw down the budget deficit, and offered a "signature" policy on paid parental leave which would give women up to 26 weeks leave on their full wage if they have a baby.

The third, and what is expected to be the final, leaders' debate is scheduled to take place in Sydney next Wednesday.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    tony abbott  |  kevin rudd  |  australia  |  australia elections 2013
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

As it happened: New Zealand 47-9 Tonga
Fourie: Boks can't be in a better position
All Blacks' deficiencies in the spotlight
All Blacks batter brave Tonga
Traffic Alerts

The phrase for today is:”Out of the blue.” Expect the unexpected and work with the changeable energy. Your intuition is 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.