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Rudd says sorry for mid-air outburst -

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Rudd says sorry for mid-air outburst

Broadcast: 03/04/2009

Reporter: Greg Jennett

The Prime Minister is tonight heading home from London at the end of a two-week round-the-world
trip. But the journey that culminated at the G20 ended on a note Kevin Rudd could not have
expected. He had to publicly apologise to an air force flight attendant he reportedly reduced to
tears earlier this year.

Transcript

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: The Prime Minister is tonight heading home from London at the end of a
two-week round-the-world trip.

But the journey that culminated in the G20 has ended on a note Kevin Rudd couldn't have expected.
He had to publicly apologise to an air force flight attendant he reportedly reduced to tears
earlier this year.

At home, the incident triggered frenzied discussion on the internet and the airwaves about Mr
Rudd's personality, and oddly, his dietary preferences.

Political correspondent Greg Jennett reports.

GREG JENNETT, REPORTER: Limos, red carpet and VIP aircraft - they're all meant to make for
fuss-free travel for modern world leaders. But not always.

KEVIN RUDD, PRIME MINISTER: There was a flight I think from Port Moresby and I had a discussion
with, I think, one of the attendants about the provision of food. Didn't last very long.

GREG JENNETT: It's reported as "Rudd rage", the moment in January between Papua New Guinea and
Canberra, when a normally composed Kevin Rudd cut loose on a 23-year-old RAF flight attendant. She
was reportedly reduced to tears. The problem: no special white meat dish for the man who's given up
on red.

So, when two weeks abroad was supposed to culminate in a high point of statesmanship, there was
this:

JOURNALIST: Do you have a bad temper?

KEVIN RUDD: Oh, right.

GREG JENNETT: And more of it, along with regret and humility.

KEVIN RUDD: All of us are human. I'm human. I'm not perfect, you know. And as I said before: if I
upset anybody on that particular flight, I'm really sorry. I apologise for it.

MALCOLM TURNBULL, OPPOSITION LEADER: It certainly deserved an apology, merited an apology. I think
what is also disappointing, however, was the fact that when this was initially raised with his
office, they denied that the incident had occurred.

JOE HOCKEY, SHADOW TREASURER: He should be better than that. We know he can be better than that.

GREG JENNETT: Talkback radio, internet blogs - the story took off. Even amateur medics pushing red
meat consumption were springing up with dire warnings of the dangers of low iron leaders.

JOHN COBB, OPPOSITION AGRICULTURE SPOKESMAN: You can become a wilted cabbage, you can become pale,
distraught. We don't want our Prime Minister pale, distraught or anaemic. We don't want him with
anger issues.

GREG JENNETT: The story got oxygen because it supports a view held by the Opposition and others who
watch the Prime Minister closely that the public image he projects is not the real Kevin Rudd; that
he is more volatile and harder to get along with than most might imagine.

KEVIN RUDD: We're all - we're all human. We all make mistakes, your Prime Minister included. See
ya.

GREG JENNETT: Off for the long flight home, where the domestic economy is again his preoccupation.
And there's better news there: the High Court has cleared the way for the delivery of $8 billion
worth of Government stimulus payments. Lawyer Bryan Pape had challenged the handouts, arguing
they're a gift rather than a payment under tax law.

BRYAN PAPE, LEGAL ACADEMIC: This is a really important case that, until you see the reasons, you
will not know the full implications for it.

ROBERT MCCLELLAND, ATTORNEY-GENERAL: We're very pleased of course that the stimulus package has
been upheld as a valid appropriation of the Commonwealth. And this means that the payments can go
out to about eight million Australians.

GREG JENNETT: The first will start arriving in bank accounts next week. Greg Jennett, Lateline.