Australian political party leaders to meet voters in public forum

10:42, August 09, 2010      

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Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott on Monday set to take part in a town hall-style public forum on Wednesday.

News Ltd newspaper The Daily Telegraph on Monday said it will host the event at the Rooty Hill RSL on Wednesday after both leaders agreed to take part.

Two hundred undecided voters, chosen by the Galaxy polling company, will be given an hour to question Gillard and Abbott separately on their policies and vision for the country.

It will be televised live around the country by Sky News from 6 p.m. (AEST) and hosted by Sky's political editor, David Speers.

Daily Telegraph editor Garry Linnell on Monday said he believed the event could signal a turning point in the election campaign.

"Several key marginal seats are in NSW, and it is those swinging voters who are about to become the ultimate powerbrokers in this country," Linnell said in a statement.

"This debate is about bringing politics back to the people."

Last week Gillard challenged Abbott to a debate on the economy, but Abbott refused.

The Opposition Leader accused Gillard of "flip-flopping", saying she had already knocked back his challenge of two more debates.

Abbott said he failed to see why he should disrupt his campaign plans for Gillard's proposed second debate.

According to ABC News, Wednesday's event is not a debate, and is instead being billed as a town hall-style meeting.

Meanwhile, Treasurer Wayne Swan will face his opposite number Joe Hockey at a debate at the National Press Club in Canberra on Monday.

Source: Xinhua


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