Abbott clarifies election comments


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23-06-2010 08:06 AM


ABC Canberra 666

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ABC Canberra 666


23-06-2010 08:06 AM



23-06-2010 08:46 AM

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2010-06-23 08:06:26

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JOYCE, Sen Barnaby



RUDD, Kevin, (Former Prime Mini


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Abbott clarifies election comments -

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TONY EASTLEY: Mixed messages in politics can be dangerous and the Opposition leader, Tony Abbott
has moved quickly to hose down some information that was given to the media yesterday.

Initially reporters were briefed by a senior party member that Mr Abbott had told his colleagues at
a party room meeting that a famous victory was within their grasp.

But the Opposition leader has refuted that assessment given to journalists and now taken a more
modest approach to the Coalition's chances at the next election.

From Canberra Samantha Hawley reports.

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: Yesterday a senior spokesman for the Opposition held a briefing for the media.

He told the gathering during the Coalition's party room meeting, Tony Abbott told his colleagues
that an election win is within their ready grasp and they're in reach of a famous victory.

TONY ABBOTT: No. Ah, that's not what I said.

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: After the comments had been widely reported for many hours, last night Tony Abbott
was doing all he could to distance himself from them.

TONY ABBOTT: What I said was that the next election is certainly winnable, but there's an enormous
long way to go.

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: Governments and oppositions have always talked down their election winning
prospects. Before the 2007 election, even though Labor was enjoying a surge in the opinion polls,
Kevin Rudd consistently used a Mount Everest analogy when asked if he'd thought he could win.

KEVIN RUDD: We're above the snow line and there's a peak up there somewhere and there's still some
fog and some mist around.

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: Mr Abbott thinks that's a better message.

TONY ABBOTT: We're really only at the base camp. We've successfully got to the base camp, but we've
still got the summit to climb.

BARNABY JOYCE: I don't have recollections of the Gettysburg address or some Churchillian speech.

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: Senator Barnaby Joyce was at the joint party room meeting.

BARNABY JOYCE: Tony is always very, a sombre realist.

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: So nothing like, we're on the grasp of a famous victory?

BARNABY JOYCE: I didn't hear it, but I wasn't expecting to hear it either.

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: Another MP has told AM he remembers Mr Abbott saying the potential to win is
within our grasp.

TONY ABBOTT: The briefing is inevitably an interpretation of what I've said and I guess
occasionally a construction is put on it, which is a personal construction.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well this is an extraordinary distancing by Tony Abbott of his own spokesperson.

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: Anthony Albanese is a Government Minister and the Leader of the House.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: It's quite clear that the job of the spokesperson at these briefings is to report
officially what has been said at caucus meetings. Tony Abbott thinks that he has a right to the
prime ministership. What he needs to understand that he's got to earn that right by presenting a
vision for the nation.

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: This week's Newspoll shows Mr Abbott's not quite there. He's ahead on the primary
vote, but based on 2007 preferences Labor would win.

TONY EASTLEY: Samantha Hawley reporting.