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March 30th, 2019 by admin

Rudd denies any Burke deal

Prime Minister John Howard has attacked Mr Rudd over three meetings the federal opposition leader had with the former Labor premier in 2005.

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The prime minister has accused Mr Rudd of courting Mr Burke's support in preparation for a leadership challenge on former ALP leader Kim Beazley.

Mr Rudd told Southern Cross Broadcasting today that that was completely untrue.

"That is an absolute untruth and Mr Howard should hang his head in shame for saying that sort of thing," Mr Rudd said.

During one trip to Perth in August 2005 Mr Rudd attended a dinner organised by Mr Burke and his discredited business partner Julian Grill.

An email circulated to politicians and business figures by Mr Burke ahead of the dinner promoted Mr Rudd as the main drawcard.

Mr Rudd said again that he had been invited to the dinner by Labor backbencher Graham Edwards, who then told Mr Burke that Mr Rudd was coming.

Mr Burke had then circulated the email without his knowing, Mr Rudd said.

"But when I went along to this dinner I was completely unaware of the email or its contents," Mr Rudd said.

"I knew that I was going to a dinner which Mr Burke would be at and where business people would be at and that's the beginning and the end of it."

Mr Rudd denied ever asking Mr Burke for his support in winning the Labor leadership.

"On the question of the Labor leadership can I be absolutely clear cut about this: at no time had I ever asked Mr Burke to support me to remove Kim Beazley and be replaced by me.

"Never ever, ever, ever.

"It's just an absurd allegation for Mr Howard to make," Mr Rudd said.

Mr Rudd said it was important to remember that both Mr Burke and Mr Edwards were long-time supporters of Mr Beazley, and would be unlikely to help Mr Rudd topple him.

He pointed out that, in any event, the WA caucus had voted against Mr Rudd when he successfully won the Labor leadership.

Asked what he had spoken to Mr Burke about during his three Perth meetings, Mr Rudd said the pair had basic discussions about state and federal politics.

"Well Mr Burke has, obviously, a big interest in politics and as I said in my statement the other day in Canberra there was a general discussion about national politics, a general discussion about state politics and I have no recollection whatsoever myself of any discussion of Mr Beazley's leadership," Mr Rudd said.

Mr Rudd denied he had any debt of obligation to Mr Burke.

He said Mr Howard was running a negative smear campaign against him.