Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott have met in a leaders’ forum in Brisbane tonight.
It was an even debate that will be seen by many commentators as restoring some balance and momentum to Rudd’s campaign.
The Sky News audience, chosen by the Galaxy polling company from undecided voters, opted 37 for Abbott, 35 for Rudd, with 33 undecided.
A highlight of the encounter at the Brisbane Broncos League Club occurred when Abbott interjected as Rudd was querying the funding of Abbott’s parental leave policy: “Does this guy ever shut up?”
One questioner prefaced his question with the comment that he liked both leaders. It may have been a reflection of the high quality of the debate in which both men acquitted themselves well.
Partisans for each side will argue that their man won. It may be, however, that Abbott maintained the air of stability and responsibility that he has been aiming to project, whilst Rudd put forward the arguments he has presented since returning to the leadership eight weeks ago tonight. In that sense, Rudd might be judged a winner on points, giving the ALP a boost as the election campaign enters its second half.
The debate was shown on Sky News, ABC television and Channel 7’s second channel. It is unlikely to have had a large audience.
- Listen to the forum in full (65m)
- Watch the opening statements (6m)
- Watch Abbott’s “does he ever shut up” remark:
- Abbott on the ETS: “I don’t want to carp” (1m)
- Closing statements (7m)
- Liberal Party ad using forum footage (2m)