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7.30 Report -

View in ParlView

Kevin Rudd live with Kerry O'Brien

Broadcast: 21/11/2007

Reporter: Kerry O'Brien

The man who would be Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has been leader of the ALP for almost a year. Has
he got what it takes to get the party over the line and into Government?


KERRY O'BRIEN: Welcome to the program, with two days campaigning to go. It's been a long year.

Kevin Rudd made the Opposition Leader's traditional final week national press club appearance
today, where a lot of the questions were premised on assumptions of a Labor victory.

Regardless of the strong trend away from the government in polling throughout the year, everyone
who knows anything about John Howard - including Kevin Rudd - knows that you would never write him
off until the last vote is counted.

But suddenly in the past few days, journalists want to talk about the first hundred days, or the
first year of a Rudd government.

Last night we spent the whole program talking with John Howard. Tonight, it's Mr Rudd's turn.

I spoke with the Labor leader in his Canberra office late today.

Kevin Rudd, I spent some time in the interview with the Prime Minister last night delving back into
the past and I will start along those lines again with you.

What lessons did you learn from the Hawke-Keating years.

KEVIN RUDD, FEDERAL OPPOSITION LEADER: When I look at the Hawke-Keating governments, they took some
pretty tough decisions for the long-term good of the economy. Ultimately, they paid a political
price for it. But what I liked about the way in which they approached government was that they were
a government of policy reform.

And if you are honest about it, and looking at the productivity growth yield which came out of
that, and the other great changes which came through the internationalisation of the economy, this
actually forms so much of a platform for Australia's long-term economic growth. And of course, the
challenge for us in the future is to sustain the rolling reform of this economy and there is still
an agenda of micro-economic reform to continue.

So you ask, what do I learn from the past? Government is not just about sitting on your digs and
hoping that, you know, something else rolls in your window...


KEVIN RUDD: Like a mining boom. It's about... learning from that legacy, it is about understanding
that you have got to engineer the economy for the future which means a rolling program of
micro-economic reform.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But are you going to acknowledge any mistakes of that time. They were in government
for 13 years. They didn't just pay a price for reform, did they? They paid a price in part for
mistakes. What have you learnt from their mistakes.

KEVIN RUDD: Well, if you look at the '80s, plainly there were problems when it came to interest
rates, but those problems weren't confined to our government. They were confined... they were also
located in Mr Howard's government when he was Treasurer in the early '80s under Fraser - 22 per
cent interest rates then, 17 per cent interest rates...

KERRY O'BRIEN: Well, that was, the 22 per cent was the cash rate. It wasn't the housing interest
rate. I covered that with Mr Howard last night.

KEVIN RUDD: Sure, sure. But housing rates were capped, you know that.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Yes. We talked about that last night too. But do you understand what caused the
Keating recession?

KEVIN RUDD: Well, the key thing is always to keep a weather eye on inflationary pressures in the
economy. And that, for me is sort of the enduring, fundamental discipline of... and why I describe
myself as an economic conservative. And it means always keeping a handle on three basic instruments
of policy:

Your fiscal policy, so making sure that the burden taken up by budget doesn't translate or transfer
all the responsibility to monetary policy and the bank - number one.

Number two is what you are doing in skills policy to make sure you have got enough productive
capacity in the economy.

Number three is whether you are making sure that infrastructure is on track as well. And for me,
keeping a complete weather eye on inflationary pressures is key to doing the right thing in terms
of downward pressure on rates.

KERRY O'BRIEN: When you talk about yourself as an economic conservative - as you know and I know,
John Howard, Peter Costello, continue to point out - that in their eyes you have only just recently
become an economic conservative. That you voted against just about all of their significant
economic reforms, as John Howard again pointed out last night.

The GST, for instance. The GST is now in, it works, and it guarantees a broad-based growth tax into
the future. Do you now agree the GST was right for Australia.

KEVIN RUDD: You take your premise first and I will come to the GST. On the premise that Mr Howard's
economically conservative credentials, this guy ran four out of five budget deficits when he was
Treasurer of the Commonwealth in the 1970s, early '80s.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Yes, that was how long ago?

KEVIN RUDD: Well, you were just asking me about, you were just asking me about the '80s and what
you learn from previous Labor government. So what is good for the goose is good for the gander
here. Um, on the question of the Goods and Services Tax and the way it has been implemented, my
simple view of all that is that you can't unscramble the omelette.

When it comes to being an economic conservative, remember in the early '90s, I worked in the Goss
Labor government in Queensland, and in that period, when - let me tell you - times were tight,
generating state budget surplices over a long period of time was actually difficult work. Now I was
simply a senior official, senior advisor. I had some involvement in that, but we delivered
successive budget surplices at a state level, well before anyone ever heard of someone called
Kevin, Kevin Rudd.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But when you talk about the GST and you say, well, you can't unscramble, the
question is, do you now accept that the GST was right for Australia. It does work. It underpins the
funding for the states in a way that was never underpinned before.

KEVIN RUDD: Well, it has become a phenomenal growth tax. And... but I go back to the question of
tax continuity. And that is, if you were to try and unscramble the GST omelette, you would just
create enormous chaos for people out there in business. That's a...

KERRY O'BRIEN: But my question to you...

KEVIN RUDD: No, no. My basis for not touching the GST is it is there, it is now part of the
taxation firmament of the country and if you were to try and turn that on its head, I thing you
would just create extraordinary chaos for business. What you should be doing is looking at simpler
means of tax compliance with the GST for small business in particular.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But I am going back to what drove you when you voted against the GST as a measure of
whether you were doing that simply because it was good politics, or you believe the GST was bad
policy. Because, as I say, it appears to have turned out to be very good policy indeed.

KEVIN RUDD: Well, back then, if you looked at what I would have said in Parliament - I don't have
my speech in front of me - would have been concerned about the ultimate equity implications of a
consumption tax which obviously affects people at the lower end of the income spectrum more. That
is why you need to be looking at other measures through government policy which assist people on
lower incomes to deal with the other cost of living pressures which they have. And that is why we
have been out there saying basic things like an education tax refund, that you need to be helping
families under financial pressure, our housing affordability policies etc.

So the underlying concern there was one of equity. Can you unscramble the omelette? No. Can you do
other things now in terms of equity for people that are finding it harder to balance the family
budget? Yes, I believe we are doing that in the program we are putting forward.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Well, casting forward to the present. Given the overwhelming expectation in the
marketplace that interest rates will go up again at least once within the next few months, if you
are in government, and given that the Reserve now controls interest rate policy, are you
comfortable leaving it to the Reserve's judgement, not to push rates too far, and force an
unacceptable slow-down in the Australian economy? And I go back to the recession of 1991 where it
was interest rate policy more than anything that caused that recession.

KEVIN RUDD: On the independence of the Reserve Bank, you either accept it or you don't. There is no
middle position here. I have confidence in the integrity of the institution. I have confidence in
the integrity of the staff. And I am not in the business of providing an external rolling
commentary as I have seen from time to time from Mr Howard and Mr Costello, as their six broken
interest rate promises have rolled through the system in the last three years. So I accept the
independence of the Bank.

The key question for us, as an alternative government is: "what do you do to make the job of the
Bank easier?" It goes back again to fiscal policy.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Well, you have covered that...

KEVIN RUDD: Well, fiscal policy with one addition. And that is, as I was saying elsewhere today, it
is very important that we take a hard line approach to unnecessary expenditure. Hence our
commitment to a razor gang on the existing administrative functions and expenditures of government

KERRY O'BRIEN: Now the Reserve Bank has already, in its last statement, attributed one of three
significant elements in driving demand in the economy at the moment - which in part appears to have
lead to interest rate increases - is public spending. Now, you might be able to argue that you are
a bit behind John Howard over the course of this campaign in the giant splurge from both sides.
Nonetheless, the money that you're promising to put out into the economy is still very big indeed.
So if the Reserve at some point in the next 12 months, writes again that public spending has become
a critical factor in driving an unhealthy level of demand, would you not just rely on your own
razor gang, but would you revisit some of your spending promises if you are in government?

KEVIN RUDD: We have framed our spending promises in a responsible way. When we put forward our
platform for this election, only Wednesday of last week, we went there and committed less than one
quarter of what Mr Howard had committed.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But circumstances can change.

KEVIN RUDD: Sure, sure. Secondly, unlike Mr Howard's Government, we've submitted significant
savings by way of funding a number of the promises we've put forward. We've seen none of that from
Mr Howard's side of the ledger and on top of that we have committed to adopting a razor gang in
opposition and who would then be the Finance Minister, Lindsey Tanner.

I think that's a responsible way forward. And we would be very, very mindful of our
responsibilities in fiscal policy to make the job of the Bank as easy as possible. I just add one
thing - if I hadn't have done what I did last Wednesday and say, enough is enough. Let's just stop,
you know, this crazy spend-a-thon which the Prime Minister had engaged in two days before, guess
where we would be a week later? We all know the background briefing which had occurred from the
government about another $10 billion worth of spending to come from them. We said, no, it's
irresponsible. The Reserve Bank has said so in its bulletin. And guess what? Mr Howard and Mr
Costello had to reign in it.

KERRY O'BRIEN: I wondered whether that might not just have been you deciding it was smart politics
to be seen to be the first to rein it in. Is that too sceptical of me?

KEVIN RUDD: I read carefully what the Reserve Bank had said in their monetary policy bulletin. I
would have hoped Mr Howard would have done the same. It came out an hour before he stood up in
Brisbane and promised the world - $10 billion in 20 minutes. That's... you can almost see the
wheels spinning around as he spoke. But he just ignored the bank. That is, I think a deep problem
with this government - their continuing recipe for holding on to political power or securing it is:
run a huge negative campaign against Labor and engage in a spend-a-thon. That's it. That's the
script. Whatever you do, don't talk about the future.

KERRY O'BRIEN: It's already been observed that it was an amazing site at a Labor conference or a
Labor launch, any Labor gathering, to see the heart and soul if you like of the Labor Party
clapping a leader saying that they were going to curb spending. There's not much similarity in the
Labor Party in its first 80 years and the Labor Party of today in a lot of areas, is there. And its
next Prime Minister, if you win, will be not only economically conservative but also dare I say it
socially conservative. What have you got in common with Chifley, Curtin, Whitlam and Hawke and
Keating and what does Labor mean today?

KEVIN RUDD: I don't know about your premise about being socially conservative - whatever that
means. I was saying earlier today...

KERRY O'BRIEN: You're not the social radical, are you?

KEVIN RUDD: I just think these... that sort of tag - social conservative - can mean so many things
to different people. As I said earlier today, I am determined and committed for example to bridging
the gap between Indigenous and non-indigenous life expectancy, infant mortality and literacy rates.
That's a very big progressive program that we're laying out for the nation.

And guess what, I'm determined to do something about it. It's measurable, it has got a timeline.
And nothing like timelines to focus your mind in politics.

You ask about the Labor history and what I draw from that. Well, Labor's continuing message over
more than 100 years has been this - how do you build long-term prosperity without throwing the fair
go out the back door? And that's it.

We believe that you can build sustainable prosperity in a country like this through programs of
nation building and encouraging business as well on the way through, but not just shred the great
Australian social contract on the way through.

Mr Howard and WorkChoices took out the shredder, diced it once and diced it again. And if Mr
Costello takes over from him, he will dice that a third time and take WorkChoices further.

The fair go means something. It means a decency and a safety net for people. It means decency and
fairness in the industrial relations laws. It also means providing a platform for kids from, you
know, working families like you and me growing up in rural Queensland to get a decent start in life
through the best education system that not only this country can provide but what I would like to
build into being the best education system in the world. That's the Labor mission.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But does it really end up being any more really than a party driven by the
principals of meritocracy? And that is applied with a question that says how do you guarantee that
that compassion remains built into it as a political party? That you don't simply become a dry
party that rules on the basis of meritocracy?

KEVIN RUDD: The Labor Party always has a heart.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Has had at times.

KEVIN RUDD: It's always had a heart. Even through the hard times when we were reforming the
economy, that was really tough back in the '80s and '90s. Labor's always got a heart out there
trying to extend a helping hand to people who need to be assisted on the way through.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But there are people from the '80s who feel, who certainly would say they didn't
feel any evidence of the heart.

KEVIN RUDD: Yeah, but sure. Adjustment to changing global circumstances is really tough. But what
are the two alternative scripts here?

Mr Howard's script is basically you're on your own, you're out there to fends for yourself. There's
all these international economic adjustments coming. You are on your own.

The Labor Party is not like that. The party that that I lead says let's accept the challenges of
the global economy and at the same time assist this economy and working families within it to
adjust on the way through. And you say where's compassion? Compassion lies in ensuring that you
have a decent and humane safety net. This Government at the end of the day doesn't believe in
safety nets. And compassion means that when you hit one of life's brick walls, it could happen to
you tomorrow and me the day after, but you have someone out there through the agency of government
who is prepared to come and help you through. That's where compassion lies.

KERRY O'BRIEN: When you say this Government doesn't believe in safety nets, they now have got a
fairness test within WorkChoices. They do have a safety net in welfare. They do have tax policies
that... where the tax threshold for those on lower incomes is... has been shifting higher and
higher. There are a number of ways in which if John Howard was here he would point out where
they've built safety nets into their policies.

KEVIN RUDD: Let's look at their so-called fairness test in WorkChoices. You could drive a Mac truck
through that safety net. I mean, have you looked at the conditional exclusion clauses like business
under financial duress, regions under financial duress, what happens to your redundancy payments
under Mr Howard's safety net? Out the back door.

I mean, that is a piece of political camouflage constructed in a panic a few months before an
election because they got some bad polling research on WorkChoices. That is the core point. In the
last few weeks, Kerry, I've been rolling around talking to people running homeless shelters in the
country in Brissie or some time ago in Brissie, and in Sydney and Melbourne. And when I looked
there at the sort of help that people need to provide these services to the homeless, I don't see
great evidence of compassion writ large from this Government in assisting people who are frankly in
need of great help.

KERRY O'BRIEN: It wouldn't just be Federal Government, either. it would be state governments in a
lot of those areas. State Labor governments.

KEVIN RUDD: Sure. I am not in the business of saying that State Labor governments are pure as the
driven snow. They're not. But when you say and infer that this Government somehow has some
suppressed compassion gene which occasionally sort of rebirths itself, I see evidence of that very

KERRY O'BRIEN: The Government says you will be told what to do by the trade union movement and a
Rudd government would have in its ranks two former ACTU presidents, the immediate past secretary
who ran the ACTU and a senior Vice-President. Don't you find it odd that at a time when unions are
in almost terminal decline there are more people with a union background in your shadow cabinet
than there were in either the Whitlam, Hawke or Keating ministries, when unions represented
millions more workers?

KEVIN RUDD: Kerry, if am elected to become the next Prime Minister of the country, I will govern in
the national interest, not in anybody's sectional interest.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But don't you find that odd, that balance?

KEVIN RUDD: Can I say, what I find odd is that the Treasurer of this country was a co-founder of
the HR Nichols Society. The HR Nichols Society has one credo in life - how to axe all forms of
industrial relations protections from working families. Twenty-one years, Peter Costello stood for
that. John Howard has handed in the prime ministership without the Australian people being asked
and off he goes and then we will see another round of WorkChoices.

What I find really odd is that people with such an extreme ideological view of the needs of working
families could stand up there and preach to others who are concerned about protecting working
families. I was in the streets of Campbelltown yesterday, just having a cup of coffee because I was
a few minutes early for the function I was attending. Two people walked up and started telling me
how WorkChoices had affected them personally. Now this is the human face of John Howard's
industrial relations revolution.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Yes, but I was asking you about the balance and diversity within your Cabinet if you
form government. And, again, you have more people from a trade union background in your shadow
Cabinet who would quite potentially be in your Cabinet in government than any of those previous
Labor ministries I've named. And I will say again, don't you find that imbalance odd?

KEVIN RUDD: People have done a range of...

KERRY O'BRIEN: ...given the decline of trade unions?

KEVIN RUDD: People have done a range of things in life. We have university lecturers, we have got
people who worked for a while in industrial organisations, we have people who have run small
businesses. Joel Fitzgibbon who is the shadow defence minister used to run an automotive workshop.
And the last time I looked I was a Chinese speaking diplomat working periodically for a state

KERRY O'BRIEN: But there is still - and you can't get away from it - a disproportionate number of
people who are not just members of trade unions but from an active trade union background.

KEVIN RUDD: Well 77 per cent of Mr Howard's frontbench are either lawyers or former Liberal Party
staffers. Guess who I'd pick as the alternative Cabinet of the country?

People have been out there working hard on behalf of working families for part of their lives and
often doing other things for the rest of their lives, their working lives before they went into
politics. Or a bunch of ex-lawyers and a bunch of Liberal Party apparatchiks.

Let me tell you, whatever our faults are - and they are many, the Labor Party - we do have a heart.
We have a bit of compassion and we would actually like to get out there and help people while still
keeping the economy strong.

KERRY O'BRIEN: You promised that there would be no return to pattern bargaining under a Rudd
government where a union attempts to enforce essentially the same enterprise agreement across a
range of enterprises, even a sector. Now, how exactly can you prevent and would you prevent pattern

KEVIN RUDD: Through the industrial relations laws of the country, which Julia Gillard has
foreshadowed. You see, the whole genesis of Labor's industrial relations changes of starting from
the early 1990s was this - how do you bring about productivity-based wage increases? If you look at
the productive growth yield of those reforms of the early '90s, as they washed through by the late
'90s, for us, the results speak for themselves. High productivity growth by Australian historical

So when we introduce the replacement laws for this country - the replacement industrial relations
laws - we will ensure that we have in place arrangements which prevent any form of pattern
bargaining because the genesis of our industrial relations system and its conclusion and
implementation will have as its core component productivity based wage increases - whether people
are enterprise bargaining, whether they're out there on individual common law agreements or whether
they are engaged by other industrial instruments.

KERRY O'BRIEN: On refugee policy, Mr Rudd, there are 82 Sri Lankans and seven Burmese being held on
Nauru as we speak, part of Mr Howard's Pacific Solution. If you win on Saturday, how quickly will
you move to shut down the Nauru and Manus Island options and where would the detainees go?

KEVIN RUDD: We haven't taken advice on that. What we have said that for us, we have an appropriate
offshore detention facility, though it's part of Australia on Christmas Island. Christmas Island, I
understand, has the capacity of some 800 beds. The so-called Pacific Solution has cost the taxpayer
hundreds of millions of dollars. Why not use Christmas Island instead? It strikes me as pretty well

KERRY O'BRIEN: But how quickly would you move to close down the Manus Island and Nauru option?

KEVIN RUDD: Not privy to the specific contractual and administrative arrangements which were
associated with each of those deals...

KERRY O'BRIEN: But I think it's policy. I think Mr Burke your shadow Minister says you will.

KEVIN RUDD: It's policy. We will but your question was how soon.

KERRY O'BRIEN: I think his statement is that you would do it immediately.

KEVIN RUDD: That's true.

KERRY O'BRIEN: And I am asking in terms of your immediate priorities in government, your immediate
priorities, will you move as an immediate priority to deal with that?

KEVIN RUDD: At a very early stage. The Pacific Solution is just wrong. It's a waste of taxpayers'
money. It's not the right way to in fact handle asylum seekers or others and therefore we think the
best way ahead is to use Christmas Island instead. It's a facility which is part of the
Commonwealth of Australia. The other thing is this. You think I'm somehow quibbling about this. If
you're a responsible alternative government you need to actually look at the advice entirely in its
detail on whatever contractual arrangements now exist with those...

KERRY O'BRIEN: Would the contractual arrangements overrule the humanity of the situation?

KEVIN RUDD: No, but you need to be mindful of how do you lawfully extract yourself. And on the
humanity of the situation we will exit those arrangements as quickly as possible. There will be no
continuation of the Pacific Solution under a Federal Labor government.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Seventy-two of the Sri Lankans have been granted refugee status but still have no
country to go to despite Australia's efforts to persuade other countries to take them. Will you
absorb those refugees who have been granted that status into Australia or will you too seek to have
other countries take at least some of them?

KEVIN RUDD: Firstly, on refugee's policy in general I believe that Australia, together with the
other signatories to the convention need to shoulder and to continue to shoulder its share of the
global case load.

Last time I looked it was somewhere between 12 and 16,000 places per annum. I am not sure exactly
where it stands as we speak. And the other resettlement countries, I think there are 15 or 16 of
them, share their own national loads.

The first principle is to make sure that that sharing arrangement other countries continue.
Secondly, when it comes to this case load of 72, I don't have any advice in front of me in terms of
individual circumstances in each of those cases.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But they do now have refugee status and I suppose the issue in principle is whether
since they have come here and since we've put them in Nauru, would you as Prime Minister take it as
your responsibility and this nation's responsibility as refugees to absorb them... as recognised
refugees to absorb them to into Australia?

KEVIN RUDD: We would take advice of the department as against all the other claims on the refugee
places which exist at the moment. We are sympathetically minded to accommodating people in that
situation but I am also cautious.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Do you accept that this will be an test of your compassion as a government? An early

KEVIN RUDD: I am cautious about accepting departmental advice also about who others... which others
around the world from the multiple refugee camps run by the United Nations High Commission for
Refugees are currently waiting to come to this country as well.

KERRY O'BRIEN: This is also a department whose culture has been seriously criticised by inquiries
and whose actions have suggested a department that was certainly in the recent past dysfunctional.
Can you really trust advice from that department?

KEVIN RUDD: On the specific question as to who is now ready to come here and who has been processed
to come here from the multiple - and in some cases intolerable - conditions within which refugees
live around the world, I would want to take advice of how that fits with the overall program.

You know, I am a great believer in the convention. If you look at the history of the convention, it
came about because after Worlds War II we resolved that we will never stand idly by and allow
something like the Holocaust unfold. It's where the refugee convention came from.

I'm a passionate defender of the convention. It's an incorporation of a global humanitarian spirit
as we looked with grief and despair and guilt and responsibility at what happened to the Jewish
people of Europe in the '30s when they pleaded with so many governments to be taken elsewhere and
the doors were closed. I will not stand idly by and allow that sort of thing to happen again. But
on the case load and the 72 cases we will take specific advice.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Very briefly, the chief UN climate negotiator has said one third of all investment
in energy in the world must be shifted to clean coal, renewable technology, hydro and nuclear

Can you responsibly continue to ignore nuclear power - or reject nuclear power - as Parliament of
the climate change solution for Australia and isn't that hypocritical on the one hand to expand
Australian uranium exports for use in nuclear reactors abroad, taking no responsibility for the
waste that Australian uranium creates and some how remain environmentally pure at home?

KEVIN RUDD: Five questions in that, Kerry, well done. Let me try to take them in sequence. On the
question of how do you deal with the country's energy future given our global greenhouse gas
reduction obligations nationally and prospectively internationally because we will proceed to
ratify Kyoto. What hasn't had a decent run around the race course is any attempt to back renewable

I think one of the standing, I think, disgraces of this Howard Government which has had no real
plan for the future in this area and so many other areas is the absence of any real plan to boost
renewable energy.

If you look at, for example, the solar technologies which have gone offshore because there's been
no decent renewable energy target. We have one - 20 per cent by 2020.

Let me tell you that's a big start compared with where we are. And we would therefore use that to
leverage solar, wind, geothermal and other forms of renewable energy into a much more significant
profile for the future of Australia's energy production.

As far as nuclear is concerned, our position is clear cut - Australia has a rich array of other
energy options which many countries around the world do not. We are blessed with sunlight. We don't
have sufficiently developed solar energy. We have multiple options with wind energy and most of
those are starting to pack up and go overseas because of lack of support. On clean coal technology,
we have a half a billion dollar clean coal technology fund allocated for the purposes of
encouraging carbon sequestration. I see no such parallel fund from this government and in the
program it has put forward for the future.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But you are comfortable about Australian uranium creating waste in other countries.

KEVIN RUDD: Other countries do not have the same range of energy alternatives as we do. That's why
Australian exports to those countries would be appropriate. Domestically, we have a range of energy
options available to us which have never been properly pursued by a government led by Mr Howard,
which has had its head buried firmly in the sand on climate change and renewable energy for 11

KERRY O'BRIEN: Since you've became leader you've developed a bit of a reputation for having a glass
jaw particularly in regard to your dealings with the media. Not a good look for a prime minister, I
would suggest. No matter what you say about John Howard, he certainly has a thick skin. Do you
think you've been too sensitive at times? And have you taken advice on that?

KEVIN RUDD: You've chipped me a number of times off air about it. Look, early this year of course
there were some lessons to be learned in dealing with the rough and tumble of the relationship
between the media and politicians which I am sure you would agree has been a smooth one in the
history of this country.

It's full of conflicts and tensions, you know that as well as I do. And I think I've learned from
that as the year's unfolded. And will I be therefore a perfect interlocutor for your and your
colleagues in the media if I end up becoming the prime minister of the country? Of course not. We
are going to have Barneys in the future whether I win this election.

KERRY O'BRIEN: As long as you don't go a way and sulk.

KEVIN RUDD: Who has assumed I do that. And by the way, have you ever noticed a journalist going
away and sulking about anything?

KERRY O'BRIEN: I won't talk about that. You've already been written about as being presidential.
Bob Hawke's success as Prime Minister is credited substantially to his consensus style in Cabinet,
giving considerable autonomy to ministers to get on with their jobs. Would you be a consensus Prime
Minister because you have a reputation of being a one-man band?

KEVIN RUDD: I believe very much in taking advice. I want the best quality advice both from within
government, from your colleagues and from beyond government as well. I am interested in one core
thing - evidence-based policy. What works.

We talked before about homelessness. What works in bringing down that number which the census data
says we have 100,000 people homeless in Australia today. What works in closing the gap between
Indigenous and non-indigenous Australian life expectancies.

So my interest is not sort of the grand rhetorical flourish of a Gettysburg address, I am
interested in what works.

Therefore, I will consult and take advice from wherever I can get it, including from my Cabinet
colleagues, if we are elected. But, at the end of the day, you have got to take a decision. I am
very much into consultation, taking advice then taking a decision and getting on with the
implementation so that it's measurable.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Kevin Rudd, we're out of time, thanks for talking with it us.

KEVIN RUDD: Thanks for having me on the program, Kerry.

KERRY O'BRIEN: And that's the program for tonight. We will be back at the same time tomorrow but
for now goodnight.