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PM stands by his claim the Coalition's costin -

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EMMA ALBERICI, PRESENTER: Kevin Rudd is brushing aside an unprecedented rebuke from senior public servants about his use of costings figures to attack the Coalition.

The Prime Minister is standing by his claim the Coalition is engaged in a fraud and a costings shortfall of $10 billion.

Tony Abbott, meanwhile, has confirmed he'll wait until the closing hours of the campaign to release his full policy costings.

Political correspondent Tom Iggulden has more from Canberra.



TOM IGGULDEN, REPORTER: With just a week to go in the campaign, facts are getting blurry even for these protesters confronting the deputy Liberal leader.

PROTESTER: You're a very good friend of ours Mrs Bishop, we think you're awfully marvellous.


TOM IGGULDEN: The government was called out by senior civil servants over its "inappropriate" use of costings numbers.

KEVIN RUDD, PRIME MINISTER: As for statements by bureaucrats, these things are from time to time made.

TOM IGGULDEN: Statements in the closing stages of an election campaign though are virtually unprecedented. But the Prime Minister's standing by his actions.

KEVIN RUDD: And our position does not change one jot from what we put yesterday because the burden of proof lies with Mr Abbott.

TOM IGGULDEN: Mr Rudd says he had good reason to accuse the Opposition of committing a $10 billion fraud on voters.

KEVIN RUDD: Our responsibility as the government in the context of the contest of this election is to make sure that the spotlight is on that quantum and therefore the elements contained within it and in the absence of them providing full details what therefore constitute logical conclusions based on the basis.

TONY ABBOTT, OPPOSITION LEADER: Mr Rudd's claims that there was some problem with our costings, some problems with our figures, have exploded in his face.

TOM IGGULDEN: The Opposition leader's accusing the Prime Minister of lying.

TONY ABBOTT: What we've seen over the last couple of days in increasingly hysterical statements from Mr Rudd and his ministers, they've got their own figures wrong and now they've got the Coalition's figures wrong as well.

TOM IGGULDEN: The controversy over the costings issue boiled over on Melbourne morning radio.

BILL SHORTEN, MINISTER FOR EDUCATION: Our costings were based on the information we had before the election. The easiest way Neil to cut through all of this...

NEIL MITCHELL, 3AW: That's not what the Prime Minister pretended yesterday.

BILL SHORTEN: Neil, you and I know and...

NEIL MITCHELL: Oh, wait... serious.

BILL SHORTEN: You and I both know and Joe knows, this can all be cleared up if the Opposition...

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

BILL SHORTEN: Well you can lose your temper, but I'm not going to.

NEIL MITCHELL: Yeah well I am bloody losing my temper...

BILL SHORTEN: 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, there's no need for you to swear at me.

TOM IGGULDEN: The Prime Minister's accusing the media of double standards on the costings issue.

KEVIN RUDD: 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.

TOM IGGULDEN: Under questioning on that subject today the Opposition leader did offer slightly more detail.

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.

TOM IGGULDEN: The Prime Minister's outraged there's not more outrage about that answer in the media.

KEVIN RUDD: And everyone seems to collectively shrug their shoulders and say well that's just what the Liberal party do, that's just what a political party does.

PENNY WONG: A lot of people are tired of this costings debate, I'd quite like to be able to talk about something else.

TOM IGGULDEN: The internationally-respected British magazine The Economist has its say this weekend, turning its back on its conservative leanings it's going to support Kevin Rudd.

"The choice between a man with a defective manifesto and one with a defective personality is not appealing", it says in an editorial to be published on the weekend "but Mr Rudd gets our vote, largely because of Labor's decent record" adding "his numbers are more likely to add up than Mr Abbott's."

Tom Iggulden, Lateline.