As the federal election looms, we look at the top five quotes that have shaped the political careers of the two leaders who will go head to head in a bid to lead the nation: Kevin Rudd and his challenger Tony Abbott.
“To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.”
13 Feb 2008. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologises on behalf of the Australian parliament to the stolen generations and commits the nation to efforts which will close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous life expectancy, educational opportunities and economic prosperity.
“Our policy is very clear; you will not be settled in Australia.”
28 Jul 2013. Newly returned to the top job, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd instigates a hard line plan to banish asylum seekers arriving by boat to Papua New Guinea for processing and possible resettlement.
“I deeply believe that if the Australian Labor Party, a party of which I have been a proud member for more than 30 years, is to have the best future for our nation, then it must change fundamentally its culture and to end the power of faceless men. Australia must be governed by the people, not by the factions.”
23 Feb 2012. Weeks of speculation about a rift between Kevin Rudd, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Prime Minister Julia Gillard come to a head when Rudd resigns from the portfolio. In his speech he claims to have lost the support of Gillard and names Simon Crean, Minister for Regional Development, as having publicly attacked his integrity and fitness to serve in the government.
“The Australian people are yearning to make a choice. The Australian people are well and truly over this low and dishonourable parliament.”
26 Jun 2013. During a press conference following his resurrection as Leader of the Labor Party and Prime Minister, Rudd hints that he will bring forward the 14 September election date. Rudd defeated Julia Gillard 57 votes to 45 to become the first ousted Australian PM returned to the top job.
“The Australian Labor Party is committed to turning the country into a republic. We’ve not stipulated a timeline for doing that.”
12 June 2011. On a visit to London as Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kevin Rudd is questioned by the BBC’s Andrew Marr about the republican movement in Australia.
“I am not being negative, I am simply being factual when I say Kevin Rudd is the best friend the people smugglers have ever had.”
28 June 2013. After Labor’s announcement of its new border protection policies that would see asylum seekers processed in PNG, Abbott declares that Rudd was failing to dismantle the people smuggler’s business model. Abbott continues to favor turning the boats back.
“We do not want educated women, at the higher degree level, to deny them a career. If we want women of that calibre to have families – and we should – well we’ve got to give them a fair dinkum chance to do so.”
7 May 2013. Having unveiled a generous $4.2 billion paid parental leave scheme, Abbott was forced to defend its economic responsibility. Following this comment he again came under fire for his views on women, accused of being patronising and offensive by Labor MPs and commentators.
“Gillard won’t lie down and die and where there’s life, there’s fight.”
29 May 2009. As polls indicate Julia Gillard remains the preferred Prime Minister, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott attempts to rally his party room to reclaim ground before the next election.
“My challenge now is to ensure that I’m not the best Opposition Leader never to have become prime minister.”
8 Sep 2010. After the election produced a hung parliament, Abbott and Gillard entered negotiations with crossbencher MPs in a bid to form government. Conceding defeat, Abbott vowed to lead his party to an eventual victory.
“I am giving you the most definite commitment any politician can give that this tax will go. This is a pledge in blood this tax will go.
12 Oct 2011. As Labor’s carbon tax legislation is passed by parliament, Abbott remained vigilant that it would be repealed under a Coalition Government. He takes this pledge to the 2013 election.