Australian PM says he is far from 'dead and buried'

Australian PM says he is far from 'dead and buried'
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd talks with conservative opposition leader Tony Abbott at the National Press Club in Canberra before a debate on August 11, 2013

SYDNEY - Embattled Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd warned Thursday he was nowhere near being "dead and buried" after a debate in which election rival Tony Abbott asked: "Does this guy ever shut up?"

Labor's Rudd and his conservative opponent went head-to-head in an often fiery televised confrontation on Wednesday evening with Sky News, which hosted the forum, saying Abbott won with 37 audience members voting for him compared to 35 for the prime minister.

The remaining 33 people in the audience were undecided.

While a more confrontational Rudd, who is trailing in opinion polls, managed to breathe new life into his flagging campaign by attacking Abbott's failure to make public his policy costings, his opponent scored the most memorable moment in their second face-off.

When pressed by Rudd on how he would fund his signature paid parental leave policy, Abbott turned to the audience to ask: "Does this guy ever shut up?".

Media seized on the comment as the highlight of the campaign so far.

Rudd, who has a reputation for enjoying the limelight, replied: "We are having a discussion, mate."

Abbott made the most of getting the upper hand in the debate, telling reporters Thursday: "One contest I can never win against Mr Rudd is a talkathon. I just never can.

"I'm not against talk," he said. "My problem with Mr Rudd is that he is all talk and no action, and when he does take action it's invariably action that damages people."

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