Sunday, August 4, 2013

Rudd attacks Abbott over debate dodge - Brisbane Times

AAP

Kevin Rudd says Tony Abbott isn't up to leading the country if he's not up for a debate with the current prime minister.

Mr Rudd wants to hold the first one-on-one televised leaders' debate of the election campaign on Sky News on Monday night.

But the opposition leader has refused, saying he has an engagement in Sydney and won't change his plans just to suit his opponent.

The morning after calling the September 7 election, Mr Rudd reminded radio listeners Mr Abbott had pledged to debate him every day once an election was called.

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"The campaign's on," Mr Rudd told ABC radio on Monday.

"I really question that if you're not prepared to debate the current prime minister of Australia ... then I don't really think you're fit to occupy the office of prime minister of Australia."

Mr Abbott says the campaign isn't about an "insiders' discussion" between two leaders, but should be a conversation with the Australian people.

He says he has a longstanding commitment to attend a post-Ramadan event in Sydney on Monday evening, and is not going to renege.

"I don't believe in just cancelling things that have been arranged for some time to suit Mr Rudd's convenience," he told ABC TV on Monday.

"I'm going to be engaging with people in Sydney who are entitled to get to know the alternative prime minister of our country."

Labor has proposed a US-style presidential debate system, where members of the federal press gallery grill the leaders in a televised debate.

Mr Rudd says he wants a televised debate with Mr Abbott at least once a week during the election campaign.

The coalition has proposed three debates: one next Sunday at the National Press Club, a second at Rooty Hill RSL in Sydney and a third in Brisbane.

© 2013 AAP
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