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Rudd, Gillard plan meet and greet tour -

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Rudd, Gillard plan meet and greet tour

Broadcast: 05/12/2006

Reporter: Jim Middleton

Newly-elected Labor leader Kevin Rudd and his deputy Julia Gillard are planning a 10-day tour
around Australia to introduce themselves to the electorate.

Transcript

TONY JONES: Well they've talked a lot about the fork in the road. Now Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard
are going on the road, to sell their new leadership style directly to the people. On the weekend
they'll begin a 10-day dash around the country to introduce themselves and their policy priorities
to the voters. But the opposition leader's first job is to come up with a new front bench. Jim
Middleton reports.

JIM MIDDLETON, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's Labor's new look but Kevin Rudd's joke about Julia
Gillard's hair was pretty old-fashioned.

KEVIN RUDD, OPPOSITION LEADER: How long's your hair been dyed?

JULIA GILLARD, DEPUTY OPPOSITION LEADER: All my adult life. I've just actually revealed that on
radio.

JIM MIDDLETON: Like Mark Latham before him, Mr Rudd plans to hit the road next week, dashing around
all states in just 10 days.

KEVIN RUDD: Not just a battle for ideas but a battle on the ground as well.

JIM MIDDLETON: But his first test was be revamping his frontbench and he spent much of the day
cajoling and consulting his colleagues.

KEVIN RUDD: I'm leading this party and if I want some new talent on the front bench of the party, I
intend to get it.

JIM MIDDLETON: Already there are three vacancies. Peter Garrett's earmarked for one. Bob McMullan
looks set to make a return. Other possibilities are New South Wales' Chris Bowen and Queensland's
Craig Emerson, but only if Mr Rudd insists on him. There's talk of Simon Crean slotting into
foreign affairs, a prospect which had Alexander Downer scoffing.

ALEXANDER DOWNER, FOREIGN MINISTER: The Labor Party's attacks are just, you know, rubber bullets
off a Sherman tank.

JIM MIDDLETON: Mr Crean's made it clear to the man he backed he'd prefer a domestic economic
portfolio, involving trade or perhaps industry, a Rudd priority.

KEVIN RUDD: I don't want Australia's future just to be China's quarry and Japan's beach.

JIM MIDDLETON: Peter Costello's still cackling at the expense of the Beazley roosters.

PETER COSTELLO, TREASURER: A coup in the coop Mr Speaker, what they call a coop d'état.

JIM MIDDLETON: But less than 24 hours after his coup, Kevin Rudd's moving to repair the damage,
initiating peace talks with shadow treasurer Wayne Swan -his one-time close ally - a relationship
ripped apart by ambition and leadership disagreement.

KEVIN RUDD: He's a good bloke, he's got tonnes of ability.

JIM MIDDLETON: Julia Gillard could demand shadow treasury if he wants, but there are signs she may
opt for industrial relations instead. Mr Tanner would dearly love Mr Swan's job but Rudd backers
acknowledge he may stay put. Jim Middleton, Lateline.