Defence of cuts 'defies imagination'

Kevin Rudd
Kevin Rudd John Gass

KEVIN Rudd has attacked former Australian Medical Association president Bill Glasson for defending the Newman government's deep health cuts.

Dr Glasson was last week pre-selected by the Liberal National Party to take on Mr Rudd in the seat of Griffith at the next election.

Mr Rudd, who holds Griffith by a margin of 8.46%, told ABC radio listeners on Tuesday he had always taken his LNP opponents seriously, reminding them he lost at his first attempt to win the seat.

But he said the cuts to Queensland Health, revealed in the September 11 budget, would make Dr Glasson's task difficult.

On Friday Dr Glasson said during a radio interview "tough decisions" were needed to get the state's debt under control.

"As a former head of the Australian Medical Association, I think he's going to find it very difficult to explain the massive cutbacks to health in Queensland by his Liberal National Party Newman government, the cutbacks that he himself, that is the Liberal National Party candidate, has supported," Mr Rudd said.

"I've got to say that this is disappointing, how a former head of the AMA can get out there and defend these slash-and-burn attacks, on public health in Queensland and in Brisbane's Southside, defies my imagination."

Mr Rudd vowed to help Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the Labor Party stop Tony Abbott from "sliding into office through the back door".

He said his promise not to challenge Ms Gillard's leadership, made after his failed attempt in February, still stood.

"My job now, is to get out there ... to ensure that we do everything physically possible to prevent Mr Abbott from becoming the next prime minister of Australia," he said.

"That's what I've been doing, that's why I've been engaging in a public debate, as appropriate around the country and in my own community, particularly in Queensland, where as I have just said, the Liberal National Party have really revealed the colours, in their slash-and-burn approach to the state."

Topics:  australian medical association bill glasson kevin rudd

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