The Leadership Debate in 10 words

Want to know what was actually said in last night’s debate? Here are all the actual questions with every lengthy and obscure answer in exactly 10 words.

Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott at the first election debate on 11 August 2013. Photograph: Mike Bowers/TGM

DAVID SPEERS: Prime Minister, I’ll invite you now to make your opening remarks.

RUDD: Australia the best. Economy is good. New way the future!

SPEERS: Prime Minister, thank you. Tony Abbott I would like you now to make your opening remarks.

ABBOTT: Bad government. Bad economy. Want a new way? Elect us.

SPEERS:  Prime Minister. Spending now is higher than ever. Can you understand people feeling a little nervous about giving Labor another three years?

RUDD: Howard spent 24%. We spend 25%. What’s the big deal?

SPEERS: Tony Abbott…You also want to spend a lot more on paid parental leave and a multibillion dollar direct action plan. Where is the money coming from?

ABBOTT:  Rudd flushed money. Our spending plan? I’ll tell you later.

SPEERS: Is that good enough, Prime Minister?

RUDD: No way. I’ve only got 4 weeks to save this.

SPEERS: The numbers have moved around lot. Treasury’s numbers have been downgraded and downgraded and downgraded. You can understand some reluctance to lock in on the current set of numbers?

RUDD: Be transparent Tony. Be afraid Australia – they’ll increase the GST!

SPEERS: Will it be increased, Tony?

ABBOTT: No, No. No. No. No. No. No. So probably not.

SPEERS: Good enough for you, Prime Minister?

RUDD: No. Without this people don’t seem scared of Abbott anymore.

SPEERS: Kevin Rudd, we know you went to the 2007 election promising to dismantle Pacific Solutions. We know there was popular support for doing that and you did it but with the benefit of hindsight, do you, along with many others who have done, now acknowledge that was wrong?

RUDD: I had a mandate then. Now I have a problem.

SPEERS: Tony Abbott, what is your problem with this current policy? We know you’ve been very critical about Labor’s chopping and changing on this and the number of people who’ve come but what is wrong with this current policy?

ABBOTT: We invented it. But now he’s getting credit for it.

SPEERS: You also want to turn back boats where it’s safe to do so. Can you explain tonight for us exactly what you would do if a boat tries to enter Australian waters?

ABBOTT: We turn them round when it’s safe. Which is never.

SPEERS: Prime Minister, do you think this would spark some sort of conflict with Indonesia?

RUDD: Not touching that. Instead I’ll just say Nauru didn’t work.

ABBOTT: It did work. You say numbers. I say different numbers.

LYNDAL CURTIS: Why should people trust you when you criticise the other side for doing something you’d do yourself?

RUDD: They tax heaps. Us? Only miners. Everyone else gets off.

ABBOTT: Gillard liked our taxes. We don’t like her carbon one.

HARTCHER: My question to you, Mr Rudd, but also interested in your thoughts, Mr Abbott, what programs will you cut and if you’re not going to cut any programs, what taxes will you increase?

RUDD: That’s unpopular! So go look up my previous comments…later.

ABBOTT: I’ll cut red tape. That always sounds good to people.

SPEERS: The question was actually what programs are you willing to cut, I don’t think we’ve heard any from either of you. Tony Abbott, you are willing to cut the School Kids’ Bonus still, aren’t you?

ABBOTT: In tough times you always take money from the children.

BENSON: A second airport, yes or no?

ABBOTT: We can’t keep waiting. I’ll tell you after I’m elected..

SPEERS:  Prime Minister, your response?

RUDD: I’ll answer in two ways. Neither which gives an answer.

CURTIS: Firstly to Tony Abbott and then to Kevin Rudd about aged care. What would a Coalition Government do? Mr Rudd, can you explain what the central changes are and whether there would be any more?

ABBOTT: I have grandparents. I’m like everyone. Also again, red tape.

RUDD: Aged care is a vital issue. So whatever Tony said.

HARTCHER: You and the Government have both committed to cut carbon emission by a minimum of 5 per cent by 2020 and up to as much as 25 per cent, depending on international progress. Under global negotiations, Australia will have to decide next year on the next phase. Will you keep your commitment?

ABBOTT: My commitment to pointing out Mr Rudd’s carbon tax? Yes.

RUDD: Climate change is here now. So let’s talk about 2007.

BENSON: I’d like to keep you on the economy and this question is to you, Mr Rudd. You have said we’re in a transition to a new economy when your own Department and the industry say the old economy is still doing just fine thank you very much. What are we supposed to be transitioning into and where people can expect to get jobs from this new economy?

RUDD: Excellent question. I’ll define the word ‘transition’ instead. Next question.

ABBOTT: Well I’m transitioning from saying red tape to green tape.

SPEERS: Can I squeeze in one more and maybe a 30-second response from each of you on the question of same-sex marriage, will it be legislated, legalised in the next term of parliament? Tony Abbott just a quick response.

ABBOTT: My sister is gay. Can I leave it at that?

SPEERS: Would you allow a conscience vote?

ABBOTT: We’ll decide later. And that decision will definitely be no.

SPEERS: Prime Minister?

RUDD: I didn’t like it. Now I do. Last chance for me!

SPEERS: We are out of time for questions. Time for closing remarks. Mr Rudd, as you had the opening statement, you also lead off with the closing remarks.

RUDD: I have notes. So my ending really should be better.

SPEERS: Mr Abbott, your closing remarks

ABBOTT: I believe in the future. Now let me quote Menzies.

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