Abbott 'a risky choice'
Labor MP for the ACT electorate of Fraser, Andrew Leigh says constituents - not Labor party HQ - are telling him that Tony Abbott is a risky choice for PMPT6M15S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2szys 620 349 September 2, 2013
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Kevin Rudd has appealed to wavering voters who have doubts about Tony Abbott to ''listen to your instincts'' and withhold their support from the Coalition.
Entering the final week of the campaign, Mr Rudd said people were right to have doubts about Mr Abbott's judgment and what an Abbott government might do on workplace relations, health and education.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd campaigns in Townsville. Photo: Andrew Meares
''If you've got doubts about that, don't vote for him. If you're worried about funding to your local hospital, because he has cut a billion dollars worth of funding to hospitals before, then don't vote for him,'' Mr Rudd told Channel Nine on Monday.
''If you've got doubts about what happens to the future of your schools given he's going to take $8 billion out of the Better Schools plan then don't vote for him. If you're uncertain about what Mr Abbott's putting out there, then I think listen to your instincts and don't vote for him.''
Mr Rudd started his day in Townsville, and will later travel to Brisbane where he will announce a $19 million fund to support the mining industry with grants of $100,000 to $10 million a year. The partnership fund will get funding of up to $16 million to be matched by industry partners.
ELECTION 2013 - Day 28
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd receives a standing ovation at the ALP campaign launch in Brisbane. Photo: Harrison Saragossi
Mr Rudd will also appear on ABC TV's Q&A program on Monday night.
Mr Abbott started his day in Sydney, where he will make a defence announcement, before flying to Canberra to address the National Press Club. Mr Rudd will make his address to the National Press Club on Thursday.
As Mr Rudd insisted Labor could still win the election, the latest Newspoll showed Mr Abbott has overtaken Mr Rudd as preferred prime minister for the first time. The survey, published in The Australian on Monday shows primary support for Labor has slumped to 33 per cent, the lowest level under Mr Rudd as Prime Minister.
Labor now trails the Coalition 46 per cent to 54 per cent on a two-party-preferred basis. If this result was seen nationally, Labor would lose 14 seats and government. Mr Abbott leads Mr Rudd as preferred prime minister 43 per cent to 41 per cent.
Mr Rudd attacked Mr Abbott's judgment, referring to the Opposition Leader's comments about the situation in Syria, in which Mr Abbott said: ''It's not goodies versus baddies, it is baddies versus baddies and that's why it is very important that we don't make a very difficult situation worse."
Mr Rudd said the comments were ''the most simplistic analysis I've ever heard''.
''When it comes to grave responsibilities for global or our national security, it's more complex than dividing the world into baddies and baddies and goodies versus baddies. It sounds like some 1950s Western . . . on questions of foreign policy and national security judgment, it's a lot more complex than that and I get quite concerned when I hear such simplistic analyses of what's going on in Syria,'' Mr Rudd said.
Noting Australia had taken over the presidency of the United Nations Security Council and Syria would be at the top of the council's agenda, Mr Rudd questioned whether Mr Abbott had the necessary foreign policy experience to lead the country.
''If you've got doubts about Mr Abbott's ability to judge complex questions of war and peace and on national security then I think you're right to have those doubts,'' Mr Rudd said.
Mr Abbott dismissed Mr Rudd's criticism of his remarks about the conflict in Syria as ''a little more hyperventilation from a desperate and shrill government''.
''I've made the point that this is a civil war between two more or less equally unsavoury sides,'' Mr Abbott told reporters in Sydney on Monday.
''On the one hand we’ve got the Assad regime which is so barbaric that it seems to have used poison gas on its own people. On the other hand we have the free Syrian army and others who are heavily influenced by Al Qaeda.
''We should be very careful about involvement in anything that could end up making a bad situation worse.''
Defending his use of the terms ''goodies'' and ''baddies,'' Mr Abbott said ''the odd use of a colloquialism is perfectly appropriate if you are trying to explain to the public exactly what the situation is''.
''One thing I would never do is use a profanity in relation to a very important world power,'' Mr Abbott said, in reference to remarks Mr Rudd reportedly made about China during the 2009 Copenhagen climate change conference.
Mr Abbott said he did not believe the latest poll, which showed the Coalition in a clear election winning position, insisting the election was ''incredibly close''.
''There is every reason to think that the Labor Party could sneak back into government . . . anyone who believes these polls and thinks that this election is over is just dead wrong,'' he said.
Later at a press conference in Queensland, Mr Rudd said Mr Abbott's comments about ''goodies and baddies'' trivialised a ''major foreign policy, international relations and national security question''.
''The last time I used the term goodies and baddies, I think, was when I was playing cowboys and Indians in the backyard,'' Mr Rudd said.
Former Queensland premier and Labor candidate for the Brisbane seat of Forde Peter Beattie said Sunday's Labor campaign launch had been a ''circuit breaker'' but he criticised strategists for choosing to officially launch the campaign just one week out from polling day.
''It was a great speech, I just would have liked it a little earlier,'' Mr Beattie told ABC TV.
Interviewed on ABC radio, Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese rejected suggestions that Treasurer Chris Bowen – who would lose his seat if the latest Newspoll result was repeated in his electorate – was unable to attend Sunday's launch because he had to campaign in his seat.
Mr Albanese said Mr Bowen had to receive an award from the Coptic community in his electorate. He said the date of the presentation had been set a long time ago, and Mr Bowen had chose to honour the commitment out of respect for the community.