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Abbott attack on Rudd new low: Gillard -

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TONY JONES: Despite negative polling, the Federal Government is showing no signs of backing off in
its assault on Kevin Rudd's integrity and character. The latest shot has been fired by the Health
Minister Tony Abbott, who again called into question the Opposition leader's honesty describing him
in a newspaper opinion piece as "slippery". The Government insists the attacks are justified but
the Deputy Opposition Leader, Julia Gillard, says it is taking Australian politics to a new
low. From Canberra, Narda Gilmore reports from Canberra.

NARDA GILMORE: It's been a fortnight of character assaults and personality politics and there's no
let up in sight. Kevin Rudd was the target again today in a stinging opinion piece by Tony Abbott.
He seized on fresh questions over the Labor leader's accounts of a tragic childhood, saying, "The
problem with his story is that it now sounds too self serving to be true."

TONY ABBOTT, HEALTH MINISTER, ABC RADIO 'PM': Kevin has been very keen to portray himself in a
certain light and now that portrayal has been questioned.

NARDA GILMORE: He points to a Queensland family's rejection of Kevin Rudd's long held claim that
his family was evicted after the death of his father. Mr Abbott also seized on revelations that the
death of Mr Rudd's father was not due to hospital malpractice. Mr Rudd has been open about his
concerns over his father's treatment.

KEVIN RUDD, OPPOSITION LEADER: It became clearer and clearer to me that the hospital system that I
grew up with and that he had to use was, by that stage, pretty well third-world.

NARDA GILMORE: Tony Abbott says the Labor leader is trying to establish a Mr Clean image for
himself and the Government has a right to scrutinise.

TONY ABBOTT: I'm not making a personal attack on Kevin Rudd. I'm simply putting forward a political

JULIA GILLARD, DEPUTY OPPOSITION LEADER: This is a new low in Australian politics, even for Tony
Abbott, and Tony Abbott has been associated with some lows in the past.

NARDA GILMORE: But the Government says Kevin Rudd started it.

PETER COSTELLO, TREASURER: Kevin Rudd decided to attack the Government over Australian nuclear
energy and look where it landed him, mired in the filth of Brian Burke.

ANDREW ROBB, GOVERNMENT FRONTBENCHER: It is such a level of hypocrisy, which is sort of profound,

NARDA GILMORE: In the past two weeks, the character debate has cost a minister and a Labor
frontbencher their jobs and has seen many others under scrutiny. Julia Gillard says it's gone far
enough and isn't what the public wants.

JULIA GILLARD: They don't want to hear about Tony Abbott canvassing things that happened to Mr Rudd
when he was an 11 year old boy.

NARDA GILMORE: But the Prime Minister has vowed to keep personal accountability a focus, and his
ministers aren't about to back off.

ANDREW ROBB: The pretender has to be - he has to be assessed.

NARDA GILMORE: That persistence comes despite a beating for the Coalition in two major opinion
polls over the last fortnight. Determined not to let up, the Government is relying on it message
sinking in with voters over time.

PETER COSTELLO: I don't think the polls are any particular indicator of the situation that the
public will find themselves in when they come to vote.

NARDA GILMORE: He says in the end, it will come down to who they trust.