David K has coffee with Kev
The Northern Star's editor, David Kirkpatrick, has been invited to have coffee this afternoon with none other than Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (KRudd is in town to announce a new health initiative).
Follow David's thoughts about the day here:
3:40pm: Back from my coffee with PM Kevin Rudd at Cafe Cappello where he was button holed on a few issues including CSG, asylum seekers, roads and mental health.
No sooner had Rudd sat down at the cafe when a patron approached to him to talk about his approach to asylum seekers.
She said that both he and Tony Abbott had "demonised" asylum seekers, a claim Rudd refuted.
Rudd said there was "nothing humane" about letting asylum seekers drown at sea and that the government was attempting to dismantle the people smuggler's business model.
He also gave his opinion on whether CSG was a good or bad thing for the Northern Rivers.
Rudd said that while gas operations were operating successfully in Queensland it was a different story on the Northern Rivers.
He said that putting CSG wells in such a densely populated area was not a good idea.
On roads, Rudd said he was proud of the government's spending on infrastructure in this region.
On the issue of mental health, he mentioned the Headspace facility that will be established in Lismore, as announced by Janelle Saffin last year.
2:05pm: Some lucky Trinity students grabbing a photo with KRudd
1:40pm: Rudd: A strong tea puts hair on your chest
1:30pm: He's here
1:25pm: I'm at the cafe - Where's Kevin?
Running late I'm told.
Suppose he is the PM.
12:40pm: And it is not the first time I have had coffee with Kevin Rudd.
He came up here in, I think 2009 or 2010, for a visit and invited me and chief political reporter Alex Easton for a cup of java.
It was all off the record and off the cuff.
He likes to meet with newspaper editors to gauge and insight into what the main issues in Page are.
He even hopped behind the coffee machine and got a lesson in how to make a brew.
All this was unscripted and not for the cameras.
12:30pm: The first thing I thought when I was asked to have coffee with the PM was: Am I dressed up enough?
My second thought was: I'm really busy today, I don't have time.
Given the polls at the moment, Kevin is going to be a whole lot busier than me if he is going to make up ground between now and Sept 7.
12pm: As an editor of a newspaper you get a few strange calls, but nothing stranger than a call asking if you'd like to have coffee with the Prime Minister.
Rudd is in town to shore up support for Janelle Saffin in the marginal seat of Page.
Kevin, Janelle and myself are going to sit down in about half an hour at a downtown cafe.
Any suggestions of what you'd like me to say to him?