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Australian PM questions opponent's credentials to deal with int'l crises

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Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Wednesday attacked election rival Tony Abbott's suitability to be a world leader handling complex international crises, 10 days ahead of national elections.

Labor's Rudd, a former foreign minister who is trailing his conservative opponent in the run-up to Sept 7 polls, gave a scathing assessment of Abbott's ability to deal with difficult diplomatic issues such as Syria.

He said he had observed Abbott over a 20-year period in parliament, "19 years as an exceptionally aggressive and negative politician, by any standard in Australian political history".

"And suddenly in the 20th year, as we get near to an election, we try to tone all that down a bit and play the statesman ... I just think Australians see through that," he said.

Rudd and Abbott faced off in a third debate on Wednesday evening with the prime minister switching his campaign focus from jobs and the economy to diplomacy and national security as the situation in Syria unfolds.

Australia assumes the presidency of the United Nations Security Council in September and Rudd has had telephone conversations with the leaders of the United States, Britain and France in recent days on what action needs to be taken against the Bashar al-Assad regime.

"I really do question, having known Mr Abbott for a long, long time, if he really has the temperament for that sort of thing," he said.

"You've got to sit back, think calmly, reflect and then work through what the best decision is. And temperament, judgement and experience are quite important.

"He doesn't have a background in this field."

Rudd, a former diplomat and foreign minister, justified his personal attack by saying the Australian people had a right to know "what they're buying".

"With me, they do, warts and all," he said.

Asked if he was qualified to take the reins at a time when Australia might be asked to help take action against Syria, Abbott said he was a member of former leader John Howard's cabinet "and matters of war and peace, of life and death, were before the Howard cabinet on a number of occasions".

Australia entered conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan on Howard's watch.

"I'm not going to get into a competitive character assassination with Mr Rudd," said Abbott.

"I will leave Mr Rudd to engage in that kind of personal attack. I would simply suggest that if you want to know my character, ask my colleagues. If you want to know Mr Rudd's character, ask his colleagues."

With just 10 days until Australia votes, Rudd continues to lag behind Abbott in opinion polls. He conceded he was behind, "but within reach".

"This is going to be a tough last 10 days of the campaign," said Rudd, who ousted Julia Gillard in a party room coup in June to re-take the Labor leadership that he lost to her in 2010.

Several senior ministers have resigned since Rudd resumed the leadership, with his first term cut short by the party due to allegations about his difficult personality and work style.

The prime minister went on to win the third and likely final debate of the election campaign on Wednesday evening, with the 105-person audience of undecided Sydney voters giving it to him 45 votes to Abbott's 38 with 19 undecided and three abstentions.

Two of the three commercial television networks also gave the debate to Rudd in their viewer polls, with only the Seven network favoring Abbott.

© (C) 2013 AFP

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Kevin Rudd is delusional. He thinks Australia is more important (on the world stage) than we actually are. Some of the things he has said (both as Foreign Minister and Prime Minister) have been downright embarrassing. Lucky for us he'll disappear from the political landscape on Saturday week and the Labor Party can properly rebuild itself.

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Abbott as PM? Things keep getting weirder...

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Kevin Rudd is just Clown in the Parliament. He should check his track records before attacking on other peoples. Kevin Rudd is neither good PM nor Foreign minister or Diplomatic. He caught up with red handle calling Chinese Government as "Rat fu-ker". He wasted tens of billions dollars tax payers' money for nothing. He ignored expertise panel advice and go ahead with his plan which cost 3 young lives. He bully everyone at his office even he does not let Government VIP Jet' attendant at peace and he made her cry for his Sandwich. He bullies his cabinet ministers by calling them at morning 2 AM because he can't sleep. So no one wants to work with him and nothing to do with him. Now most of experienced Labor MPs are quitting politic. Kevin Rudd, Hugo Chavez and Rafael Correa are same breed. They all use their naive supporters for their own satisfaction. Now Australian peoples are knowing more and more about Kevin Rudd and his quality. Contrast to Tony Abbot, Tony Abbot has distinguished political career and he has cleaner track then Kevin Rudd. He works with Aborigine peoples for decade and every year stay with them at NT outback. He is honest and straightforward talker. Coalition has solid and positive policy for Australia but Kevin Rudd is copying almost all Coalition policy. Now peoples are saying about Kevin Rudd election campaign as "Policy on the run". His cabinet ministers don't know whenever he announce new policy which similar to Coalition policy. Next generation of Australians will have to pay back at least $ 500 billions debt after 2016-2017 if Kevin Rudd wins the Election. I regretted for voted for him 2007. By the way, Government needs to order new VIP jet because current Jet will need to retire after Kevin Rudd first year in office due to flying out to EU and State for 24/7. Also Labor needs to put aside $ 1 Billion for Kevin Rudd and his wife VIP trips to around the world.

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Kevin Rudd's Labor Government, saved Australia from the World recession. They managed to keep All Australia working by Investing in the country's future and Climate inicitives. The Australian Liberals They sold off gold Bullion at a loss because they flooded the market at the time and wasted it The liberals in Australian politics are for the extreme rich and not for the Average Australian. They have never stopped being negative in my whole 65 years of life. My guess Kobuta Chan is he don't know what he is talking about because his facts are very wrong no matter which political way you look at his figures. I would suggest you check the facts before continuing down this line on an international news paper like this as some one will take you to task . If you are an Australian citizen contact me on my Face book page and I Willingly will send you a copy of the exact figures that show we have the third lowest debt level in the world and Japan has the Highest. We are the second best preforming economy in the world. At present labor is ahead by 56% but there is still time for it to change either way.

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Ron Barnes. Did you know Labor Government is sending cheque to overseas until couple of weeks ago which was part of economic stimulus package and the money was supposed to be spent in Australia? Also Revolution school's stimulus scheme has wasted $ 1.1 billions and most of School kitchens were ripping of by Labor's cronies’ contractors. Actually Australia does not need economic stimulus scheme because no sign of coming recession that time Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan introduced economic stimulus scheme. Most economists think Australia was safe and do not effected by Europe and the U.S subprime mortgage crisis because Australian Banks are not exposed to the U.S subprime mortgage crisis. The evidence is some of money from 2009 economic stimulus package is still unused. If you check Labor Government mismanagement in economic stimulus package and then you can be found the economic stimulus for Australia is unnecessary. Kevin Rudd and Labor Government do not save Australia from recession in 2009.

Japanese Government has mountain of debt but the money Government owe is Japanese peoples’ saving money. Australian Government debt is borrowed from other country and sending interest to overseas lenders. Country like Australia should not have debt after all. Labor Government is spending money like seawater.

What happened to home insulation scheme? Three families have lost their love one and some Companies went bankrupt. The Labor can not stop Illegal asylum seekers boats coming to Australian even thought budget blew out $ 10 billions for hosting 50000 refugees. That kind of money can be looking after millions of refugees in the camps for couples of years. Why Labor Government can not keep its election promise as asylum seekers will be processing in Australia? Kevin Rudd and Labor never confess they are wrong and made mistake. I have voted for Labor since 1990 and even I voted for Kevin Rudd in 2007. The Labor introduced Carbon Tax and Mining Tax because they spent and wasted too much Tax payers’ money. Also NBN never should build with Tax payers’ money. NBN will be out of date and costs will blow out once it was completed. Labor will increase GST and other tax if Labor won in Election. I don’t trust Labor and Kevin Rudd anymore.

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