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Beazley asserts leadership

Broadcast: 20/11/2006

Reporter: Greg Jennett

Kim Beazley has told critics he is the only person to take Labor to the next election, an indirect
shot at Kevin Rudd who is touted by some as a leadership contender.

Transcript

MAXINE McKEW: Kim Beazley has moved to assert his authority, telling his critics he's the only
person with the experience that voters will be looking for at the next election. It's an indirect
shot at Kevin Rudd who's been touted by a small group within Caucus as an alternative leader. But
Mr Beazley's stated intention to take Labor to the next election has not silenced one backbencher.
Retiring Tasmanian Harry Quick says Mr Beazley has to go and the sooner the better. From Canberra,
Greg Jennett reports.

GREG JENNETT: Harry Quick never wanted Kim Beazley as his leader and two years on he says many
others have come around to his view.

HARRY QUICK: Everyone I speak to are saying, "You've got to get rid of Kim Beazley. We are not
going to vote for Labor".

GREG JENNETT: The outspoken Tasmanian who retires at the next election wants Kevin Rudd and Julia
Gillard to replace the Beazley-McLann leadership team and he wants Caucus to consider the
leadership question when it meets next Tuesday.

HARRY QUICK: It's like a sore. It will fester and fester and fester and like poor old Simon and
Mark, it'll just burst. And the sooner it happens, the better.

KIM BEAZLEY: I'm about leading the Labor Party to the next election, and I will be.

GREG JENNETT: Kim Beazley's gaffe on Friday confusing grieving comedian Rove McManus with White
House adviser Karl Rove has aroused renewed frustrations within Caucus and not only with Harry
Quick.

HARRY QUICK: Politically I think it was very damaging.

GREG JENNETT: In his first media appearance since then Mr Beazley has sought to make amends.

KIM BEAZLEY: I made a slip-up on Friday, as you're all very well aware. I'm very sorry for that.

GREG JENNETT: Taking on the small band of sniping MPs behind the push for Kevin Rudd and appealing
to lingering fears from the Latham experiment, Kim Beazley asserts his record in office as his main
claim to the leadership.

KIM BEAZLEY: The Australian people will be looking for experience in leadership. They always do.
When an election campaign comes around, I'm the best bloke for that.

GREG JENNETT: And to emphasise the point.

KIM BEAZLEY: I'm going to make Kevin Rudd a very fine foreign minister for this country and Julia
Gillard an excellent health minister.

GREG JENNETT: Kevin Rudd is out of the country on a visit to China. Talk about the Labor leadership
is rife, but no-one's counting the numbers for Kevin Rudd and there's been no shift in the
factional groupings that underpin Mr Beazley, which is not to say some don't plan to give him a
wake-up call when Parliament returns next week. Greg Jennett, Lateline. Search Lateline

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