Kevin Rudd has launched an extraordinary attack on Tony Abbott, accusing him of lacking the "temperament" and experience to handle complex international situations such as the worsening crisis engulfing Syria.
Facing internal doubts over his confidence as his election campaign is perceived as bogging down, Mr Rudd sought to contrast his reputation as a foreign affairs expert with Mr Abbott's notoriety as a political hard man.
Adapting a tactic from the play-book of John Howard, who once claimed then opposition leader Kim Beazley lacked the ticker to be a prime minister, the unusually direct language appeared to be a calculated move to erode confidence in his opponent's ability to stride the world stage and represent Australia in the councils of the world.
Mr Rudd spoke of his telephone discussion with US President Barack Obama on Tuesday morning, regarding the security emergency in the Middle East, more or less asking voters if they could imagine putting Mr Abbott in the same role.
Describing Mr Obama as "a good man", Mr Rudd reflected on the dangers of military action and claimed Mr Abbott was unsuited because he is inclined to be impulsive and to "rush ahead" when caution was needed.
Asked about the growing likelihood of armed conflict, Mr Rudd depicted the Liberal leader as a "pugilist" who was suppressing his combative nature and could therefore not be trusted to handle diplomacy where "words are bullets".
"You've got to sit back, think and calmly reflect, and then work through what the best decision is, and temperament and judgment and experience are quite important," he told the Seven network's Mark Riley.
"He doesn't have a background in this field and sometimes I find in him a bit of an impulsive nature, that is rushing ahead to judgment.
"You know what his background is ... he's been in Parliament for 20 years, 19 of which he was the great pugilist, you know and the last 12 months he's suddenly become the statesman, so the Tony Abbott that I know, having served 15 years in the Parliament with him, is of a different nature."
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Rudd on temperament
Kevin Rudd reckons that Coalition leader Tony Abbott doesn't have the right temperament to lead Australia; the Sydney Morning Herald reports: