Page last updated at 14:12 GMT, Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Rudd survives Bush 'leak' censure

Mr Rudd speaks in Sydney on 17 October
A parliament vote defeated the censure motion against Mr Rudd

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has escaped censure over accusations he leaked phone call details to make US President George W Bush look foolish.

It follows a newspaper report that Mr Bush did not know what the G20 group of rich nations was.

The Australian parliament voted down the censure motion, which the White House and Mr Rudd had both dismissed.

Leaders of the Group of 20 nations are due to meet in Washington this weekend to discuss the global financial crisis.

Australia's opposition Liberal Party tabled the censure motion against the prime minister, who has denied making the leak.

"The prime minister's fingerprints are all over this. Every letter, every paragraph, is dripping with his DNA," Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull told lawmakers.

The alleged telephone conversation between Mr Rudd and Mr Bush took place last month, as world leaders discussed their response to the financial crisis, according to The Australian newspaper.

It said Mr Rudd called for Asian countries to be included in any talks, and therefore suggested a summit of the G20, an expanded version of the better known G7 that includes the world's biggest economies, including China and Brazil.

At that point, Mr Bush allegedly asked: "What's the G20?"

The telephone call reportedly occurred on a night when Mr Rudd was having dinner with The Australian's editor.

In its censure motion, the federal opposition says the prime minister's aim was to make Mr Bush look like a fool.

"[It was] an account so self-serving that it presented him as a diplomatic encyclopaedia, a font of all knowledge, and the president of the United States, the chief executive of our greatest ally, as a fool," Mr Turnbull was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

Mr Rudd has refused to agree to a police investigation into the alleged security breach and has rejected all accounts of the alleged conversation.

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