Fightback after Rudd cops flak for travel

Politicians from left and right have leaped to the defence of Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd amid criticism he is travelling too much.

News Ltd newspapers have taken aim at Rudd, who they say has clocked up 384,000km of overseas travel since he was appointed in September.

Sydney's Daily Telegraph ran a digitally altered image of him in an astronaut's suit to illustrate that he has done enough kilometres to reach the moon.

The reports take particular exception to Rudd's destinations, charging that he spends too much time in distant locales such as the Middle East and not enough time closer to home.

Rudd has declined to comment on the report but Greens leader Bob Brown quickly dismissed them as nonsense. "We have a Foreign Minister who is doing a great job for this country. I don't agree with him on everything but he's out there, he's full of vigour and he has Australia on the map as Foreign Minister.

"What's the Telegraph want him to do? Go offshore on a rowing boat or a yacht? What nonsense."

Regional independent MP Bob Katter - a former National who backed Tony Abbott after the 2010 election - said: "To punish a Foreign Minister for travelling - that really gets the award ...

for the most stupid comment of the year."

- AAP

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