PM rejects cooking show claims

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is rejecting reports he delayed a national security briefing on the crisis in Syria to shoot an episode of ABC TV cooking show Kitchen Cabinet.


Mr Rudd’s campaign headquarters issued a statement late on Saturday denying he put the briefing on hold to take part in the program, ahead of the claim being reported in News Corporation Australia newspapers including Sydney’s Sunday Telegraph.

“We understand that The Sunday Telegraph is intending to report that the Prime Minister delayed a national security briefing on Syria in Canberra today because of a previously arranged media commitment in Brisbane,” it read.

“This is wrong.”

ABC host Annabel Crabb confirmed on Saturday night that Mr Rudd filmed a pre-arranged episode of her show from 12.30pm to 2.30pm that afternoon.

According to the News Corp report, he took “a taxpayer funded VIP jet to fly home to Brisbane” to appear on the program.

Mr Rudd’s statement explained that after he was briefed by his own department on Saturday morning, it was recommended that a second full national security briefing take place involving himself, Foreign Minister Bob Carr and other officials either later on Saturday or Sunday.

“This was to ensure all officials and full briefing papers were ready following discussions with [international] allies during the course of the day.

“Had a full national security briefing on Syria been possible earlier, Mr Rudd would have made arrangements to be in Canberra earlier.”

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott yesterday said Mr Rudd had his full support after the prime minister initially announced he would suspend election campaigning to return to Canberra.

“No, it’s entirely appropriate when a serious international issue is unfolding for the prime minister to seek a briefing,” Mr Abbott told reporters in Adelaide.

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