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Transcript of doorstop interview of the Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Security: Jakarta, Indonesia: 18 January 2005: Subjects: Mark Latham; Labor leadership.



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KEVIN RUDD MP Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs And International Security

DOORSTOP INTERVIEW- JAKARTA

18 January 2005

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Subjects: Mark Latham; Labor leadership ________________________________________________________________________

Rudd: I’ve been advised by my office in Australia that Mark Latham, the leader of the Parliamentary Labor Party, has today made a statement of resignation. For Mark, a young man in politics, this is a very difficult day. If you’re a young man in political life and you’ve spent all your life engaged in politics, this is a doubly difficult day. We wish him well in terms of his future life and we also wish him well in terms of his recovery from what has plainly been an awful period.

This is an important time for the Australian Labor Party. In the period ahead, I’ll be consulting with my colleagues about the future. Today here in Jakarta, I’ve just come from meetings with the National Planning and Development Agency which is responsible for the joint administration of the billion dollar aid package announced by Prime Minister Howard in recent weeks. I met with the Minister of the agency and had long discussions about how that will be implemented on the ground in the weeks ahead. Obviously you may have other questions to ask me.

Reporter: Are you open to running for either the Leadership or the Deputy Leadership of the Party?

Rudd: Today it’s important that we send Mark Latham our good wishes. It’s been a really horrible day for Mark. We wish him well for the future. As for myself, I will be consulting with my colleagues.

Reporter Two Premiers have indicated that Kim Beazley is the best person for the job, will that affect your consideration?

Rudd: As I said the important thing for me to do here in Indonesia is to do the job that I’ve come to do; that is to express bipartisan support to the Indonesian Government and the Indonesian people for the aid program which

Australia has got behind with Prime Minister Howard. I’ve got to say I think that in the days ahead that’s the important thing for me to be doing, not entering into any detailed public discussion about which person in Australia thinks what about who should lead the Labor Party. These are things to be thought about in the days ahead which is why I’ve said I’ll be consulting with my colleagues.

Reporter: You’re not ruling yourself out though?

Rudd: Well, as I said, the important thing for me to do is to consult with my colleagues in the party - that’s why you have colleagues in the party. But I also have official duties to do here in Indonesia. I will be proceeding with my visit to Aceh tomorrow and I think that’s the right thing to do. As I return to Australia on the weekend I will have something further to say.

Reporter: Have you been speaking to your colleagues this morning?

Rudd: My colleagues in Australia have been keeping me informed of developments in recent days. As you’d expect it’s my responsibility here in Indonesia, in Jakarta today to go on with my rounds of official engagements and meetings with Indonesian Government Ministers in a time of great need for our nearest neighbour. I think that’s appropriate, as I think it’s appropriate to proceed with my visit to Aceh in the days ahead. As I said I plan to be back in Australia on the weekend, at that stage having consulted with colleagues further.

Ends.