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Rudd stands by $10 billion costings black hol -

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DAVID MARK: The Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has defended his claim that there's a $10 billion black hole in the Opposition's costings.

Mr Rudd's also attacked the media's coverage of the debate, accusing it of not properly examining the Coalition's policies.

Yesterday the Prime Minister, the Treasurer and the Finance Minister made the black hole claim, citing policies they'd presented to Treasury, Finance and the Parliamentary Budget Office for analysis.

Late yesterday, the heads of those departments distanced themselves from the process, saying the figures weren't reliable, because they weren’t the Coalition's actual policies. One even said it was 'inappropriate'.

The shadow treasurer, Joe Hockey, says the Prime Minister should apologise to public servants.

Chief political correspondent Sabra Lane.

SABRA LANE: It’s a case of a pox on both your houses.

For all the Prime Ministerial fury over the fact the Opposition hasn't submitted polices to Treasury for costing, back in 2007, Labor submitted most of its policies after Treasury's nominated deadline. It meant they weren't costed in time for that election.

And the 2013 campaign, the Opposition has submitted its policies to the newly created Parliamentary Budget Office. It was done before the caretaker period, and means there's no obligation to publish the results, including the methodology and assumptions.

It's within the legislative framework that the current Parliament approved.

The Opposition leader Tony Abbott confirmed to the ABC's Jon Faine this morning that all of the details of his policies won't be out until late next week.

JON FAINE: When does the last piece of the puzzle get released?

TONY ABBOTT: Next week.

JON FAINE: Which date?

TONY ABBOTT: Oh, it will… it will be when we're finished releasing policies and I suspect that will be towards the end of the week but I can guarantee you this, we will release our costings before the Labor Party.

SABRA LANE: And late next week means it'll probably happen during the electronic media blackout period, which means Labor won't be able to fund any attack ads in response.

And that's what prompted the Government to submit its own version of Coalition policy ideas to Treasury and the Parliamentary Budget Office for costing, with its own assumptions and conclusions, which led to yesterday's press conference and claims of a $10 billion black hole by the Prime Minister.

KEVIN RUDD: And the reason we are in this debate at all, at all - notwithstanding the headline in your paper today - is because Mr Abbott as of today has not faced one element of scrutiny by a range of newspaper outlets on when he will deliver his full costings, his full cuts prior to this election.

SABRA LANE: It's rare for departmental secretaries to issue statements, rarer still in the midst of a campaign, and that's what made yesterday's intervention extraordinary. The Parliamentary Budget Office even said the policy comparison was inappropriate.

The Prime Minister's played down their intervention.

KEVIN RUDD: As for statements by bureaucrats, these things are from time to time made but the bottom line remains is that the fraud being committed here is a failure to come up-front and direct with the Australian people about where these costings and cuts ultimately lie.

SABRA LANE: Mr Rudd is standing by his decision and the $10 billion claim. He's blaming the media for not examining the Coalition's policies.

KEVIN RUDD: There is one fraud being committed on the Australian people here and that is being I think collectively supported by a range of people not providing any scrutiny on this core question.

BILL SHORTEN: Why doesn't the Opposition just reveal their costings?

SABRA LANE: Fairfax Radio host Neil Mitchell had no tolerance during an interview with Education Minister Bill Shorten this morning.

BILL SHORTEN: This all can be cleared up if the Opposition provides costings…

NEIL MITCHELL: No it goes to credibility, it goes to trust.

BILL SHORTEN: No well you can lose your temper but I'm…

NEIL MITCHELL: Yeah I am bloody losing my temper!

BILL SHORTEN: Well that's your call.

NEIL MITCHELL: Because the people of this country are very sick of the bullshit they're getting fed and what I'm saying is they were fed crap yesterday.

BILL SHORTEN: Alright Neil, no need for you to swear at me.

SABRA LANE: The Opposition Leader too is equally unapologetic that voters will be kept in the dark until late next week, preferring instead to talk about Mr Rudd.

TONY ABBOTT: It was a slap in the face for the Government.

SABRA LANE: The shadow treasurer Joe Hockey.

JOE HOCKEY: So I'd say to Mr Rudd and Mr Bowen it's time to start telling the truth, start being honest with the Australian people, enough is enough, please apologise for engaging this talk of fraud and please apologise to the Treasury and Finance and the Parliamentary Budget Office.

SABRA LANE: The Greens want an end to the costings saga and are proposing to change the rules, by putting legislation to the next parliament to compel the Parliamentary Budget Office to release costings as policies are released.

The Greens Leader Christine Milne.

CHRISTINE MILNE: And that would put pressure on the political parties to actually put in the assumptions and the aspirations themselves or risk the Parliamentary Budget Office costing them maybe on a different premise than that party intended. So it would actually put some pressure on for the political parties to do the right thing themselves.

SABRA LANE: The tactics by both major sides no doubt will just feed voter cynicism and indications are voters are getting to the polls early, to get it done.

By the close of business yesterday more than half a million Australians had already lodged their votes - that's 200,000 more than the same period in the 2010 campaign.

DAVID MARK: Chief political correspondent Sabra Lane.