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Transcript of doorstop: Victorian State ALP Conference, Melbourne: 3 March 2007: Kevin Rudd; Brian Burke; hypocrisy of the Howard Govt.

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Deputy Labor Leader

Shadow Minister for Employment & Industrial Relations Shadow Minister for Social Inclusion



JULIA GILLARD: I just want to make a few comments about this Brian Burke matter. Can I say that over the last few days Kevin Rudd has copped this on the chin and I think Australians respect that. But what Australians can’t stand and

shouldn’t have to put up with is hypocrisy. Mr Howard is running around holier than though about this matter at a time he would have known one of his Cabinet Ministers had been involved in negotiating deals with Mr Burke.

There is no way Mr Howard would have launched this attack on Kevin Rudd, without knowing who in his government had had contact with Mr Burke. He would have known all about Mr Campbell even when he was launching this attack on Kevin Rudd.

Today Mr Howard, Mr Costello and Mr Abbott are all sinking in a mud storm of their own creation. My call on them today is to abandon these cheap and dirty politics and get back to what they should be doing which is being prepared to debate the issues which will define this nation.

JOURNALIST: inaudible

JULIA GILLARD: Mr Howard, Mr Costello and Mr Abbott have created this muddy mess and it’s now up to them to fix it. I’ll leave that to Mr Howard. He needs to work out now he has created this muddy mess, how he is going to get himself out of it.

JOURNALIST: Was Mr Rudd the keynote speaker at this dinner…inaudible.

JULIA GILLARD: Look Mr Rudd has made extensive statements about these matters. He has answered every question. He gave a press conference of record length of 45 minutes. He stood there and took every question the national press gallery asked him. He has since appeared on national TV he has answered these matters in detail, fully and that from Mr Rudd’s point of view should be the end of it. He has answered the allegations, he copped it on the chin, he has acknowledged he made a mistake. Mr Rudd has been full and frank about this, it’s Mr Howard who now needs to answer some questions.

JOURNALIST: Can you answer the question, was Mr Rudd the guest speaker at the August 1 dinner?

JULIA GILLARD: Mr Rudd has answered all of those questions.

JOURNALIST: inaudible.

JULIA GILLARD: Mr Rudd will be here at State Conference.

JOURNALIST: inaudible

JULIA GILLARD: That is a matter to direct to Mr Rudd’s media people but my understanding is he will be here shortly.

JOURNALIST: Do you think he was foolish to meet with Mr Burke?

JULIA GILLARD: Mr Rudd has acknowledged he has made a mistake. He is a big enough man to know when he has made an error. I think there is a sharp contrast with Mr Howard who never says he has got anything wrong. He sends troops to war on the basis of a lie and he never says he got that wrong. He makes false allegations about kids being thrown overboard in the middle of an election campaign, and he doesn’t admit he got that wrong. Mr Howard is not big enough or courageous enough to acknowledge he made an error. Mr Rudd is big enough to acknowledge he made a mistake.

JOURNALIST: inaudible

JULIA GILLARD: That is a hypothetical. I don’t think any Australian politicians will be taking calls from Mr Burke. This issues we are dealing with are issues that Mr Rudd has fully explained, but the central thing here is the hypocrisy of the Howard Government, it’s drowning in mud and how is Mr Howard going to get his government cleaned up. The hypocrisy of attacking Mr Rudd when he would have known one of his Cabinet Ministers was involved in a deal with Mr Burke is truly breathtaking.

JOURNALIST: inaudible

JULIA GILLARD: I’ll say it again. Mr Rudd has answered all of these matters. He gave an extensive press conference. He answered these allegations fully on Thursday, he has appeared on national TV since. He will be here today at State Conference; he has copped it on the chin. He has acknowledged he made an error. It’s Mr Howard, Mr Abbott and Mr Costello who have got explaining to do today.


JULIA GILLARD: What I would like to see is: Mr Howard, Mr Abbott and Mr Costello abandon the politics of cheap and dirty politics and get on with the job of debating the issues that are important for the next ten years for this nation.

What matters to the Australian people is how is the economy going to perform over the next ten years? How are we going to fix climate change over the next ten years? How are we going to fix the Commonwealth/State divide? What are we going to do about infrastructure in our cities? How are we going to have fairness at work? These are the issues that the Australian people care about. These are the issue we should be debating. Instead we have Mr Howard, Mr Abbott and Mr Costello mired in dirty politics.