Rudd and Turnbull to face off

Old foes ... Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull.
Old foes ... Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull.

They are the leaders opinion polls suggest we wish we still had.

In a flashback to a different political time, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and former opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull will face each other again on ABC TV’s Q&A tonight.

The pair were direct opponents for more than 14 months in 2009 and 2010 when they both held their respective parties’ top jobs.

Both were brought down by their own parties rather than the electorate. Mr Turnbull lost the Liberal leadership to Tony Abbott in December 2009, while Mr Rudd did not stand in the caucus ballot against Julia Gillard for the Labor leadership in June 2010 after his personal support collapsed.

A Nielsen poll in September showed more than twice as many voters would like Mr Turnbull to lead the Liberal Party than Tony Abbott. The poll showed Mr Turnbull was preferred by 63 per cent of voters, while 30 per cent opted for Mr Abbott. The same poll suggested Labor’s primary vote would be ten points higher with Mr Rudd as Prime Minister than with Ms Gillard as leader.

Another poll conducted for News Limited earlier this month showed Mr Turnbull leading Mr Abbott as preferred Liberal Leader 60 per cent to 29 per cent. That poll showed 49 per cent wanted Mr Rudd to lead Labor, while 34 per cent preferred Ms Gillard.

The pair will share the Q&A desk tonight with economist and businesswoman Judith Sloan and Reserve Bank of Australia board member Heather Ridout.

This story Rudd and Turnbull to face off first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.