Abbott says Rudd should be worried about Beattie threat

Peter Beattie.
Peter Beattie. Kerry Thomas

FORMER Queensland Premier Peter Beattie's surprise return to politics is more of a concern for Kevin Rudd than the Coalition, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says.

Mr Beattie will contest the marginal seat of Forde, south of Brisbane, with Mr Rudd expected to officially announce the move in Beenleigh later today.

Campaigning in Tasmania Mr Abbott laughed off suggestions Mr Beattie would boost Labor's fortunes in Queensland - arguably the most important state in the September 7 election.

"He's another flimflam man who hit people with record debt and deficit who's just going to add to the leadership instability inside the Labor Party," Mr Abbott said.

"You might say to me am I worried about Peter Beattie? Of course not, but I bet Kevin Rudd is."

Opposition education spokesman Christopher Pyne agreed.

In an interview on Sky News he claimed Mr Rudd and Mr Beattie "despise each other".

"You've got one narcissistic egomaniac from Queensland in the federal Parliament in Kevin Rudd, we hardly need two," Mr Pyne said.

"The only reason Peter Beattie wants to come to Canberra ... is because he wants to be leader of the Labor Party."

Indeed Mr Beattie has been less than complimentary about Mr Rudd in the past.

In 2010 he questioned Mr Rudd's political judgment in the way he handled the implementation of the mining tax.

He was also highly critical of Mr Rudd's destabilisation of former PM Julia Gillard's leadership.

Malcolm Turnbull, who dealt with Mr Beattie as the federal water minister, was equally scathing.

He told reporters in Sydney, South-east Queensland would have to be suffering from a "collective case of amnesia" to support a Premier who almost let Brisbane run out of water.

Back in 2007, it was Mr Beattie, however, who blasted Mr Turnbull, then the federal environment minister, over delays to the northern water pipeline and the Traveston dam.

Mr Turnbull decided to conduct a review of the project following an outcry over the dam near Gympie.

At the time, Mr Beattie said there was no time for political games given the severe shortage of water in Queensland.

LATEST: Beattie buries hatchet with Rudd for 'good of Qld'

Beattie cops a beating in old house over federal bid

FORMER Queensland Premier and Federal MP hopeful Peter Beattie has copped a beating in his old Parliament since announcing he would contest the upcoming election.

LNP MPs jumped at the opportunity to recall Mr Beattie's time as the Sunshine State leader.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said the man who never wanted to be in politics again was now going to be the savior of the federal Labor party by running for the Brisbane-based seat of Forde.

He labelled Mr Beattie the king of bulldust  who was now going to support his long-loving friend Kevin Rudd.

LNP MPs threw questions at one another during parliamentary question time this morning, asking for a reminder on Mr Beattie's record, and receiving answers that drew boisterous laughter.

Mr Seeney said Mr Beattie oversaw a children in state care, infrastructure and electricity crisis.
"...crisis after crisis that was at the heart of the financial problems that Queensland suffers today and will suffer for years to come," he said.

Disgraced former minister Gordon Nuttall, currently serving jail time for corruption, will be asking for day leave to hand out how to vote cards, Mr Seeney joked.

Treasurer Tim Nicholls sang a similar tune, comparing Mr Beattie comback to a Weekend at Bernie's.


Peter Beattie set to make a comeback to politics

FORMER Queensland premier Peter Beattie will is set to make a shock return to politics to contest the Queensland seat of Forde for Labor.

Mr Beattie will replace Des Hardman, the pre-selected candidate for the marginal seat south of Brisbane.

Forde is held by the Liberal National Party's Bert van Manen with a margin of less than 2%.

Labor will be hoping Mr Beattie will increase its chances of winning key Queensland seats as it faces the loss of seats in NSW.

Mr Beattie served as Queensland premier for nine years.

The charismatic leader headed the Labor Party in the state for eleven-and-a-half years.

When he quit the Queensland parliament six years ago, he vowed never to return to politics, instead working as a trade ambassador in the US.

His wife Heather has repeatedly threatened to 'kill him'' if he returns to politics.

But on the weekend, Mr Beattie wrote a column talking about the need for Labor to win key seats to keep Tony Abbott out.

Trade Minister Richard Marles said Mr Beattie's return could be a game changer for Labor across the country.

"Peter Beattie did the very unique thing in politics of leaving at the top of his game," he told Sky News.

"If you look at Peter Beattie's record in politics it is unparalleled."

But critics of Mr Beattie will point to the deregulation of electricity prices in Queensland - and the failed Traveston Crossing Dam project as examples of Labor blunders.



Mr Beattie was a self-described 'media tart', appearing on television and radio frequently on a daily basis.

Then state Liberal director Dr David Watson told the ABC: "One of the problems I think Mr Beattie has is that he keeps talking about jobs, jobs, jobs.

"Remember, you go back when he first came into government, he said his Ministers were going to go to bed every night and wake up every morning with jobs, jobs, jobs. Well, I tell you what Mr Beattie does, he goes to bed every night and wakes up every morning with media, media, media.

Mr Beattie responded by saying: "It's like two prostitutes standing on the corner talking about virginity. I plead guilty. I plead guilty for using every opportunity I can to get into the media to sell my Government.''

"I'm a media tart. You tell me one politician that's not a media tart, tell me one that's not.''


Do you think Peter Beattie will improve Labor's federal chances?

This poll ended on 15 August 2013.

Current Results

Yes. He was a popular Queenslander


No. Electricity prices, failed dams


As long as he replaces Kevin Rudd


Nice bloke but still voting LNP


This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.


The news on Mr Beattie comes as Kevin Rudd launched a salvo against Tony Abbott, demanding he answer questions about his talks with Rupert Murdoch over the National Broadband Network.

Mr Murdoch's papers, particularly Sydney's Daily Telegraph, have taken a strong stance already against Kevin Rudd and Labor in the election campaign.


Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott to go head to head on Sunday

KEVIN Rudd and Tony Abbott are likely to square off in the first debate of the election campaign on Sunday, but just where it takes place remains a bone of contention.

Australian Labor Party national secretary George Wright wrote to Coalition federal campaign director Brian Loughnane on Wednesday accepting an invitation for a leaders' debate this Sunday.

But while the Coalition wants a debate at the National Press Club in Canberra, with press gallery journalists asking the questions, Labor has suggested Channel Seven host a debate in Sydney with social media giant Facebook also playing a role.

In his reply, Mr Loughnane welcomed Mr Rudd's agreement for a Sunday debate but insisted on it being held in Canberra with the leaders also "taking questions from ordinary Australians through social media".

Mr Loughnane also sought confirmation regarding his request for two public forum-style debates, to be held in Rooty Hill and Brisbane respectively.

"I note that Mr Rudd has not responded to Mr Abbott's proposal for leaders forums in western Sydney and Brisbane," Mr Loughnane wrote.

"I look forward to your confirmation that Mr Rudd will agree to these important forums in the formats proposed in my previous letter."

The traditional squabble over the timing and format of election debates would have become a thing of the past had plans to establish a Leaders Debate Commission come to fruition.


Creating the commission formed part of the parliamentary agreement - or the "group hug document" - independents Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor struck with the major parties in the wake of the 2010 election.

Mr Oakeshott, who is not recontesting the seat of Lyne at this election, told APN Newsdesk the motivation to establish the commission was to avoid the types of debates Australians have witnessed this week.

He was also eager to create some independence around the process.

"So it's not up to two political party head offices to choose the terms and conditions on what should be a people's debate," Mr Oakeshott said.

Under the agreement the commission would have been responsible for setting out the timing, location and format of the debates

Despite his best efforts, including raising the issue during question time, Mr Oakeshott said there simply wasn't enough "momentum" to get the reforms through the 43rd Parliament.

"Something went wrong between the key stakeholders of Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott and Christine Milne and as best as I can see the three couldn't reach an agreement that worked for all of them," he said.

He said it was important voters had the opportunity to engage in the debate.

"There's a real danger if we do end up getting the two head offices to agree on leader debates, that they will have 100 terms and conditions attached to them that almost make them not debates at all," he said.

"They're like mini advertisements for both sides all at once."

Topics:  federal election 2013 kevin rudd peter beattie tony abbott

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