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Today, Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott prepare for their first live debate after a colourful and controversial week on the campaign trail. This Program is Captioned Live.Also News 24, holiday carnage in Iraq. More than 60 people killed after bombs target the end of Ramadhan celebrations. Englishman Ben Moreau beats 85,000 other runners to take line honours in Sydney's City to Surf. The Australian still on top in the fourth test with a maiden test century from Chris Rogers. Hello, you're watching ABC News 24. I'm Andrew Geoghegan. Thanks for your company. A quick look the
first at today's weather around the Capitals:

The Federal Opposition leader Tony Abbott says he's looking forward to tonight's debate against the PM. The two leaders will hold their first face to face debate of the election campaign at 6.30 this evening eastern time. The economy is set to dominate proceedings and set the tone for week two. The Treasury's pre- e election fiscal and economic outlook is Jutanugarn due on Tuesday. PM's Kevin Rudd dumped Geoff Lake, the candidate for seat of Hotham over his failure to disclose a verbal altercation with a colleague 11 years old. Queensland seat
Labor's candidate for the Queensland seat of Kennedy, Ken Robertson, has resigned after calling Opposition leader Tony Abbott a bigot and attacking Higgs religious beliefs. We're Nick
joined by political reporter Nick Dole at Parliament House in Canberra. It has been a difficult week for Labor, particularly these two candidates that I mentioned? Certainly. These two candidates, in particular, and I suppose probably the most controversial you would say is the disendorsement of Geoff Lake, who was done late last night at the PM's request. He was asked about it earlier yesterday. He said he was getting briefings and in the meantime, he spoke to the national executive and determined it would be inappropriate for Geoff Lake to continue. This is over a verbal altercation, a verbal abuse that they directed towards another councillor more than a decade ago. But Kevin to
Rudd says that it really goes to the matter of character. Now the search begins for a new candidate and it is understood that search is already well advanced. A number of names have been put forward, but one that is firming up to some extent is the name of Clare O'Neill. She's a candidate in her early 30s. She also served on local council in Melbourne as well. Her name is one that's certainly been put forward as a very likely possibility for the seat of Hotham, formerly held by Simon Crean. This is not the sort of start to an election campaign Chris
that the PM would hope for, but Chris Bowen, the Treasurer was asked about it this morning. He says he's not too phased because during campaign there are always problems with candidates. Usually from both sides. He says the way the PM responded is the only thing that really matters. There is suggestions emerged, he ordered an immediate inquiry, got the report back, consulted with senior colleagues and insisted on the highest standards not only of behaviour and accountability of his candidates and took the difficult decision to ask the national executive to remove them as candidates. I think that's how a leader, a PM, or have emerged in relation to a candidate for either political party.That's been bone talking on Insiders earlier this morning. Chris Bowen. You mentioned the search is under way for pre- replacement candidates. The ALP doesn't have long to get their house in order. The nominations for these positions close mid-week.Yes, a matter of days. The party will be moving very quickly and Chris Bowen said while they're obviously was a preference for rank and file, and certainly the selection of Geoff Lake did go to rank and file preselection, someone someone is going to have to make's decision very quickly. I would expect to see a candidate appointed very soon because there's a lot of work for them to do, only a matter of weeks to get their name out there, to get a bit I've reputation in the area. Having said that Hotham say pretty healthy margin for Labor. Whoever that candidate is will have a head start.The first debate of the campaign gets under way tonight at about 6.30 eastern time. This is a chance, obviously, for voters to see both Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd head-to-head. The economy is expected to dominate the debate? Yes, it certainly will, from both sides. They have been talking about the need to talk about the economy, Kevin Rudd for a long time has been asking for a debate on the economy, but you can expect the Government to be taking the says
Opposition to task for what it says is basically a lack of trust in Treasury forecasts and also the Government is accusing the Opposition of basically failing to the Opposition of failing to properly cost its election policies. Tony Abbott, for that election policies. Abbott, for that matter, says
that he's not going to be given a lecture by Kevin Rudd on that because he says Government because he says itself hasn't costed a lot of things and he says that the Government's figures have been wrong before. Tony Abbott was asked about the debate a short time ago. He has been running the City to Surf today. While Kevin Rudd went to church, we saw some pictures there, Tony Abbott was actually running 14 kilometres from the city to Bondi Beach, an unusual way perhaps to prepare for the debate, but he says it's all part of his mental health and he says that he's looking forward to the opportunity, but certainly the economy will be a key issue and, as I say, he's not too worried about some of the attacks being levelled at his costings. Well before polling day every Australian will know exactly what we're spending and exactly what we're saving. They'll know how the fiscal position will different under the coalition, but overall, the budget bottomline will always be stronger under the coalition. I've got to say to Mr Rudd, I'm not going to take lectures from a government which has of its figures wrong. It's never got a of never got a figure right. It of its figures wrong. It's hasn't released any of its own costings and so far this Government has given costings and so far Government has given us the five biggest budget deficits in Australia's history.That's Tony Abbott, the leader, speaking after completing Sydney's City to Surf fun run. Nick, another poll out today, I think it is the third of the campaign so far. What's it showing? Essentially, it's basically confirming some of the data we've seen in recent days. One, that it is very tight race but perhaps the coalition is a little bit ahead. This is a Galaxy Poll published by News Limited today. It shows that the primary vote is down two points to 38 for Labor and translating to a two-party preferred, basis, that's 49-51 that the Labor Party is huge
trailing the coalition. Not a Galaxy
huge change there from the last Galaxy Poll, within the margin of error. Certainly confirming that the contest is still very tight and it really just emphasises how important set piece events like tonight might be. It is a very good opportunity for both candidates to have their say to try to articulate their policies and with the election potentially so close, it will be Parliament House in Canberra,
thanks very much.Thanks Andrew.Let's move to other news now. Police in South Australia say a man seryusly assaulted the grandmother of his child before snatching the 10 month old and fleeing in the early hours of this morning. The baby was suffered missing in
from a house in Mount Gambier in the State's south-east just after 3 o'clock this morning. The injured woman was flown to Adelaide with serious head wounds. The man is said to have left the property in a 2 to #4u silver Mitsubishi sedan with the licence plate number XF C5 71. Police say they are concerned for the child's welfare. A man has been killed in a house fire south east of Melbourne. Emergency crews were last night. Crews found the
man's body inside the house. Explosives
Members of the Arson and Explosives Squad are investigating the cause of the blaze. In Sydney, a large water main burst in the inner city overnight trapping a man in his car and causing business
disruptions for hundreds of business and residents. Authorities say the gushing water caused extensive damage to hundreds of meters of roads in Ultimo. Sydney Water has restored water supply to its customers in the area and crews are working to restore death
electricity. Overseas, and the death toll in a series of bombings and shootings in Iraq has risen to more than 60. The apparently coordinated wave of attacks mainly around Baghdad has come during celebrations to mark the end of Ramadhan.The streets were packed with Iraqis marking the Eid festival. The celebrations would end in bloodshed. A strong of car bombs killing dozens of people across the country. One took place kilometres North of the place here, a town some kilometres North of the capital
when when a suicide bomber drove a car packed with explosives into a residential area. The capital Baghdad saw the worst of them. 12 separate boppings in total. Most were not within an hour of each other, suggesting some degree of coordination. Bombings. (Shouting). Although many neighbourhoods were targeted, it was mainly Shia areas that bore the brunt. Explosions went off in the cities of TRANSLATION: I
Kirkuk, Nasiriya and Karbala. TRANSLATION: I was walking to but before I
the market to meet my friend but before I could get there, I was knocked down.TRANSLATION: I was driving and suddenly the car was hit. We were sitting in a pool of blood. The blasts went off nearby.Monthly death tolls not seen in nearly five years, according to UN dr data. This time around there appears to be a change in tactic. Crowded mosques, markets and cafes are coming under attack which means higher casualty numbers. The security situation in Iraq took a turn following a government crackdown on a Sunni protest in April.Then last month of inmates escaped after gunmen stormed two gaols outside Baghdad. Day to day attacks are on the rise again and much of them have involved Sunni groups targeting Shia districts, adding to fears that Iraq may be slipping to the pattern of is sectarian fighting that has already killed thousands of people.A Syrian Opposition watchdog group says at least 20 people have been killed in airstrikes in the north-western province of Latakia. The British based Syrian Observatory For Human Rights says at least 10 of those killed were civilians. Analysts say the attack are part of an effort by President Bashar Al-Assad to prevent rebels from advancing into the stronghold of hissal we sect. Recovery workers in the United States state of Connecticut have killed four bodies from States state the ruins of two houses hit by a the ruins a light aircraft on Friday. The twin engine plane came down in the town of East Haven killing the two people on board. The bodies of killing the two one-year-old and a 13-year-old have also been recovered believe the pilot was retired Microsoft executive Bill Henningsgaard. Police in Northern Ireland's provincial capital Belfast are fearing more violence after 56 officers were injured during a night of up rest. The clash broke pout when loyalist Protestants tried to block a parade by Republicans.Northern Ireland's marching season has become known as a time of tension and trouble. Today loyalists have been taking part in parades but last night they were trying to stop a march by Republicans. What started as an evening of peaceful protest ends in in
several hours of violence right in the heart of Belfast. Images of destruction and disorder once again exposing divisions that still run deep in some parts of this city. Loyalists had blocked the road and
ahead of the Republican parade and when police tried to move them, there were angry clashes. Bottles and bricks were used as makeshift weapons and rioters attacked the police and there were many injured in the running battles, including There is no
dozens of police officers. There is no excuse for the violence that we saw on the streets of Belfast last night. To have the TV screens filled with street disorder again today it's a real step backwards.This is where last night's trouble took place, a busy shopping street in the middle of Belfast. While the debris from last night's violence has been cleared away, concerns about parades remain. Tomorrow there is another Republican parade in County Tyrone. The commemoration has been held to remember two IRA men killed by their own bomb. Unionists say it is offensive and should be banned. I'm confident that everybody that's organising tomorrow, both parade and protest, want the event to pass off quickly and peacefully. We'll work as hard as we can to make sure that takes place.Northern Ireland's past still haunts its present, a history of violence feeding current conflicts. The process
undoubted success of the peace process has changed life here but old problems continue to cause trouble.Police in France and Spain have broken a human trafficking ring suspecteds of smuggling Chinese migrant into Europe and the United States. 51 people have been detained in Spain and another 24 in France, including the bosses of the organisation. Authorities seized 81 fake passports. Spanish police launch the investigation two years ago. Authorities believe some of the immigrants were also exposed to sexual exploitation. The bodies of six asylum seekers have been found on a beach in southern Italy. They're thought to have been killed in a help wreck off the coast of Sicily. Officials say another 100 migrants reportedly Syrians have been rescued. Around 7,800 illegal migrantses and asylum seekers have arrived in eight Italy in the first-half of this year. Back home, nine bush walk verse been rescued from Heathcote National Park in Sydney's South. Police were called to the National Park after concerns were raised about the group which didn't return at the expected time yesterday afternoon. A large-scale search followed. The group aged were found 10 o'clock The group aged in their sixties night. They were treated at were found 10 the scene by paramedics. night. They were person suffered a knee the scene by person suffered a knee injury, person suffered a and another had mild hypothermia. The group were winched from the bushland and winched from the bushland taken to a nearby oval.We're going to cross to the PM Kevin Rudd who is speaking in Queanbeyan.I'm here in Queanbeyan with my good friend Mike Kelly who is the local member for Eden-Monaro. On top Defence
of that is the Minister For Defence Material. I also said recently if the government is returned I wouldn't think of a better man to become the next Defence Minister of Australia. He's a bloke who has had an extraordinary background in the Australian military. He's studied widely and when you were in the military service you were a full colonel, is that right? That's right, yesHe's the kind of guy who understands the military. Useful to have around, I think. We're here in Queanbeyan today in a regional centre in NSW to talk about young people, to talk about jobs, and to talk about training for jobs. When I look around Australia, this is a challenge for us all. We placed top priority in this election campaign on economic management, on growing the economy, to making sure we are generating enough jobs, and to manage the cost of living pressures for Australian families. When you look carefully at the jobs data around the relatively well by global standards, unemployment rate is still 5.7 nationally, but as would you have seen from the would you have economic statement, absent policy change in the economic statement, policy change in the future, we will see that rise and, therefore, that's why we have indicated that we need to diversify the economy, to make sure all our eggs are not in one basket and growing sure all our eggs are one basket and growing new industries and to make sure those new industries include manufacturing, agri business, and the service industries. In the service industries ones like this hospital adolescent, tourism is a huge employer and you need to make sure the young people going into hospitality are getting the proper training on the way through. We already have through the Government a national training entitlement. That's been an important initiative in the formation of young people across the country. That's an entitlement of a training place to take you up to certificate level 3 in whatever area you choose to work once you leave school. We've discovered something over the years which is there is a group of young folk who often fall between the cracks. That is, those who come out of the school system but are not ready in terms of their skills set to head into formal vocational training. There is a group there which I think represent a real problem for the future and we want to make sure they can realise their potential as well. If you look at the data, as I said, nationally we have an unemployment rate of about 5.7. We start to look, however, at the unemployment rate for 15 to 24-year-olds, it rises to 12% and 15 to 19 bracket it gets above 20%. This is a core group we need to keep targeting in the future to make a difference for them and their families. That's why today re we're announcing a new $35 million step into skills program with the object of reaching out to about 9,000 young people aged between 16 and 24 who have not yet finished high school or gained a trade or other qualifications. The program is designed to take them from unemployment to being qualified, ready and trained for work. As we know, all kids want, all parents want to have their kids have the best start in life and even if some of our kids struggle a bit at high school, we want to know they won't be stuck in unemployment queues for the rest of their lives. They need to have pathways from school into employment. This is part of those stepping stones that we're constructing here through this new step into skills program. This will help make sure that all Australians in fact are skilled and work ready. Of course, this is one part of what we're doing to keep the economy strong and to grow jobs and to make sure grow jobs and to make sure that
there are jobs for young people in the future as well, as well as managing cost of living pressure for families. That's why it is also important as we build the industries of tomorrow invest in the National Broadband Network. It is a huge add on to productivity in the future, huge add on to business productivity in the future, a productivity in the regional and remote areas well. I had
huge add on to employment in regional and remote yesterday well. I yesterday with various mayors well. I had discussions from Northern Tasmania who were telling me that very same from Northern Tasmania who story. People going to Tasmania to live there for the lifestyle but they want to able
lifestyle but they want to be able to connect with business opportunities on mainland Australia but elsewhere in the world as well. That's a key investment. We want to make sure that those sort of investments are growing the industries of the future, adding the jobs of the future, making sure we don't have all our regulars in one basket, growing a much more diversified economy in the future. For all that to work we need to ensure that we are investing in the skills and training needs of every group of Australians. This builds on our $19 billion worth of investment in training over the past five years. The national training began tea which I just mentioned which provides a guaranteed training place to certificate level 3, as well as vocational education and uncapped under gratits university place under the Bradley reforms. It is important to note again for young people today we have 190,000 more kids at university than was the case in 2006-7. On top of that again, trading training centre servicing hundreds and hundreds of secretary schools right across Australia. There's step in skills happen in a vacuum. It happens
on the backbone we are early childhood education, investing in building and new national curriculum which is being rolled out through the country which he can sizing literacy and numeracy, vesting also in the knew library facilities thousands of which we built right across the country in our primary schools, ensuring we're adding new language and science centres in our secretary schools, through the Better Schools plan investing $10 billion into the one-on-one attention killeds need to help those falling behind or held back. Investments in trades hand vocational education through hundreds of trade well
centres around the country as well as our national training guarantee and un capping of university places to provide 190,000 extra places. What this measure does is help fill one of those gaps. It is an important gap. To make sure that that 15 to 19-year-old there's
bracket in particular if there's a slippage and kids come out of school not right ready to take up a session in TAFE and get their certificate 3, that I'm announcing today, the step into skills program, helps bridge that gap with key additional training. Over to you folks. What key message are you hoping to get across in feelinger
tonight's debate. Are you feelinger in crust S vus about it? I'm delighted about the opportunity to debate Australia's future and the reason I am is because I'm so passionate about the country and where we can take Australia into the future with a strong economy, a robust place in Asia with the best education system that we can possibly build anywhere in the world, and on investments in
top of that, strong vest investments in health and looking after the environment. With really good plans for the future. Your question about the debate tonight, I think, focuses for me on one particular thing and that is based on today's polls f Mr Abbott was PM, then he can no longer be evasive about where his $70 billion of cuts to jobs, health and education would fall or what his real plans are for the future of the goods and adolescent tax. You can be evasive up to a certain point, I suppose, in politics, which is what we've seen through a refusal to participate in debates up until now but let's put it altogether here. Based on today's polls, if there was an election yesterday, Mr Abbott would be PM today and therefore he can't be evasive tonight about where his $70 billion of cuts in health, education and jobs will fall. I think it is a pretty basic expectation in tonight's debate.Will you be having any direct say in the selection of new candidates in hoongt Kennedy? It through the national executive
of the Kennedy? It will be done
through the of the Australian Labor Party - of Hotham - of course of the Australian Labor Party Hotham - of course we're into
an election Hotham - of course an I'll depend on their good wisdom. They'll inform me what they're doing and I'm sure we'll put the best candidate forward. The decision forward. The decision taken yesterday were hard but right decisions. When I talk about a new way in politics I mean a by those decisionsWhat exactly did Geoff Lake for you to lose confidence in him? This was an investigation by the national secretary. The national secretary reported not just to myself but to the other members of the leadership team, of the Government, and we took a collective decision that he did not meet the standards that we expected of future members of the Parliament try Labor Party. Those are outlined in my statement last night.Why weren't they identified during the preselection process? I think it is fair to say if you look back at the history of pre- preselections going back to previous re elections you'll find there are problems which occurs. There's a shake down that occurs. That's what happened in this case. I think the right process is, one, fy identify there is a problem, due process, number three, accept his recommendation as the leadership group of the Government, and then four to act and to act decisively. As I said, film's going to go out there and talk about a new way in Australian politics, this is absolutely the right decision based on the recommendations of our National Secretary.Malcolm Turnbull says he's not Kevin Rudd will turn up to this debate on. Cut Kevin and spend Kevin. I'm positive about the country's future. I want to see our plans to strengthen the economy, to build new jobs, build new industries and could manage cost of living pressures for families is the core of what I'll say to the Australian people tonight.When it comes to those who would want to be the Government of Australia, I would say to Mr Abbott, it is absolutely fundamental that you stop being evasive about where your $70 billion worth of cuts to jobs, education and health will fall. This is not an unreasonable question. The pre-election fiscal outlook is due in 48 hours time. The clock is ticking. Mr Abbott has an opportunity tonight to stop being evasive about what he'll do with $70 billion of cuts to jobs, education and health and what he will do with the future of the goods and adolescent tax. That will be the focus I believe of the debate this evening.Tony Abbott prepared for the debate by running City to Surf in Sydney. How are you preparing? A bit of divine solace this morning. That's getting up as a family, as we always do, delightful to have Jessica and Josephine home and so we've been having a great time this morning. As we normally do, we have Sundays off and go to church and catch up, have a cup of coffee. I think you've studied my form for a few years now. Nothing much different there. And then I started the day with quite a long walk with my son, Nicholas, which thankfully your television crews didn't find out about. That was good. I had peace.You did have some sense with the infamous interview of Jaymes Diaz. In hindsight, was that that a bit of a stone hurled from the Glasshouse? You recall carefully what I said back then, I think you will, I said problems always emerge on all sides of politics during a campaign. That's just based on having been around this business for quite a while. People will form their own judgment about Jaymes Diaz who is Ndileka still the candidate. If you're going to talk about a new way for Australian politics, which is positive, not negative, brings people together, doesn't divide people, but also is respectful of people, including their gender, then I believe you've got to take some hard decisions from time to time. That's what we've done and I stand by them. Thanks.Only for you will we have one further question.Thank you. I noticed spending the work on your campaign trail this week there hasn't been the obvious or at least visible presence of a in the
Labor Elder like John Faulkner in the last you have him accompanying you
on the campaign or is interest there some other Labor Elder giving you some advice? Latika, you've dropped your guard. John was with me all day yesterday. I'm sure he'll of
be in and out during the core of the week with a few others as well. It's good to have colleagues around because you're always attentive to their advice, John is very experienced. You learn a lot from him.Is he a permanent presence? It defends what John has got it on. He'll be on and off the plain. That's as it should be. The key thing, though, throughout campaign, is just to be absolutely clear about what we intend to do positively for the country's future, be clear about our policies by how we would seek to improve the country, its economy, its education system, its health system, our further action on the environment and climate change as well as indigenous policy and our national and border security. Be clear and upfront with people. Then be very clear where the differences lie between our
approach and differences lie