News National Rudd refuses to swear on oath at royal commission

Rudd refuses to swear on oath at royal commission

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Former prime minister Kevin Rudd is refusing to swear on oath at a royal commission into Labor’s botched home insulation program.

His lawyer, Bret Walker SC, argues Mr Rudd will not be able to give his evidence “faithfully and truly” under cabinet confidentially rules, which will censor large parts of his statement and testimony.

Mr Walker says the former Labor leader wants to give a full and frank account of his involvement, including what happened in the cabinet room.

The lawyer also attacked the coalition government for publicly accusing Mr Rudd of operating a disastrously failed insulation scheme and said the censored statement denied his client a full right of reply.  

But commonwealth lawyer Tom Howe, QC, says unredacting the statement and allowing Mr Rudd to give uninhibited evidence would deteriorate the confidence of current and future cabinets.

He requested if Mr Rudd be allowed to give a full account, it be heard in a closed court and the transcript be reviewed before being released publicly.

However, Mr Walker says it would be impossible for Commissioner Ian Hanger, QC, to hand down his findings if Mr Rudd’s evidence is censored.

Mr Hanger has ordered that Mr Rudd’s full and unredacted statement not be released for the time being.