Sep 02, 2013

    Comeback kid Rudd's final plea

    PRIME Minister Kevin Rudd vowed to fight until "the last vote is cast" in a rousing speech yesterday, declaring himself the "comeback kid for Australia", one week from national polls.

    Mr Rudd urged the party faithful not to give up hope, despite opinion polls showing the Tony Abbott-led conservative coalition as the clear favourite to win the election on Saturday.

    "To those who say that Mr Abbott has already won this election, I say this - never ever, ever underestimate the fighting spirit of the Australian Labor Party," Mr Rudd told the party's major campaign rally in Brisbane.

    "I have been in tougher spots before and come back from behind."

    He took aim at Mr Abbott's "priorities, judgment and temperament" in his speech, after the opposition leader described the conflict in Syria as "baddies versus baddies" in a television interview.

    The Rudd camp seized on the remarks, made as Australia prepares to assume the rotating presidency of the United Nations Security Council, as evidence that Mr Abbott was not ready for the international stage. Labor Senator Penny Wong said: "Can you imagine him at the Group of 20 summit? 'Barack, it's baddies versus baddies'. I've yet to see a leader of a federal political party wanting to to be PM who would be this embarrassing when it comes to foreign policy."

    The latest opinion polls show the staunch Catholic and social conservative Abbott on track for a landslide win, with his Liberal-National coalition expected to pick up 86 Lower House seats to Mr Rudd's 61.

    Monash University politics analyst Nick Economou said: "So far, Labor's been comprehensively outcampaigned by the Liberal party. All they've had to do is ensure Mr Abbott stays bolt upright, doesn't say anything too ridiculous and let Labor hang themselves."