PRIME Minister Kevin Rudd has booked the National Press Club for a debate with Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, daring him to turn up and face him on the economy.
And he says former Prime Minister John Howard would be welcome to attend in Mr Abbott’s absence.
Mr Rudd says the Australian people face big choices on the economy, environmental policy and jobs.
“I cannot understand why Mr Abbott does not seem to have the ticker to want to come forward and participate in a national debate,” he told reporters in Canberra.
“So in consultation with the National Press Club, we have set aside next Thursday for a debate.”
Mr Rudd says between now and then he will be hounding Mr Abbott “up hill and down dale” to ensure he turns up.
He says Mr Howard is welcome to come and help Mr Abbott, or take part in the debate in Mr Abbott’s absence.
In the week since his return as PM, Mr Rudd has persistently goaded Mr Abbott to participate in a series of debates.
But Mr Abbott has said he’ll debate Mr Rudd once he names the election date.
Mr Rudd said the first debate could be about debt and deficit and future debates about immigration policy and carbon pricing.
“It’s time to fess up to the Australian people about what you really stand for and what your real policies are for the future or are they all just soundbites and slogans,” he said. – AAP