Kevin Rudd challenges Tony Abbott to a series of debates before election campaign
Updated Wed Jul 3, 2013 9:10pm AEST
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has challenged Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to a series of head-to-head debates before the election campaign.
In an exclusive interview with 7.30, Mr Rudd called for a series of debates and said Mr Abbott could choose the topics.
“Mr Abbott, I think it’s time you demonstrated to the country you had a bit of ticker on this,” he said.
“I mean, he’s the boxing blue, I’m the glasses-wearing kid in the library.
“Come on, let’s have the Australian people form a view about whether his policies actually have substance, whether they actually work or whether they are just slogans.”
Mr Abbott has resisted Mr Rudd’s repeated calls to take parts in debates outside of the traditional election campaign.
Mr Rudd also attacked the Coalition’s asylum seeker policy and said Mr Abbott’s campaigning had been run on “lies”.
“[The] whole program rests on house of cards based on lies [about] debt and deficit and Indonesia,” he said.
However Mr Rudd conceded that there may have been mistakes on asylum policy during his first term as leader.
He dismantled the Howard Government Pacific Solution after he was elected in 2007, and the Coalition says there is a link between that decision and increasing numbers of asylum seekers coming to Australia.
“If we have made a mistake, let me just say this,” Mr Rudd said.
“It was in perhaps not being quick enough to respond to the new change in external circumstances with an outflow from Sri Lanka from a civil war in 2009-10.”
First posted Wed Jul 3, 2013 6:43pm AEST