Rudd slams Abbott on diplomacy


Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Wednesday attacked election rival Tony Abbott’s suitability to be a world leader handling complex international crises, 10 days ahead of national elections.

Labor’s Rudd, a former foreign minister who is trailing his conservative opponent in the runup to Sept. 7 polls, gave a scathing assessment of Abbott’s ability to deal with difficult diplomatic issues such as Syria.

Australia assumes the presidency of the United Nations Security Council in September and Rudd has had telephone conversations with the leaders of the United States, Britain and France in recent days on what action needs to be taken against the regime of Bashar Assad.

“I really do question, having known Mr. Abbott for a long, long time, if he really has the temperament for that sort of thing,” he said. “You’ve got to sit back, think calmly, reflect and then work through what the best decision is. And temperament, judgment and experience are quite important. He doesn’t have a background in this field.”