Kevin Rudd on the campaign trail.
Kevin Rudd on the campaign trail. Sharyn O'Neill ROK160713srudd9

Abbott's daggy 'sex appeal' moment pretty odd, says Rudd

TONY Abbott's comments about the "sex appeal" of a Liberal Party candidate were "pretty odd", Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said.

Mr Abbott raised eyebrows on Tuesday, including his daughter's, with his candid description of Fiona Scott, the Liberal candidate in the marginal western Sydney seat of Lindsay.

Speaking to reporters in Cairns, Mr Rudd said it was "important to reflect" on Mr Abbott's remarks.

"It's pretty odd, to be blunt," Mr Rudd said.

"Let me put it in these terms - if any male employer stood up in a workplace anywhere in Australia and pointing to a female staff member said this person is a good staff member because they've got sex appeal, I think people would scratch their heads, at least, and I think the employer would be finding themselves in serious strife.

"My policy is pretty simple: in modern Australian, neither sexism, nor racism, not homophobia has any place whatsoever and I believe people look to their national leaders to set that sort of example."

Mr Abbott's daughter Frances could be seen cringing in the background after he compared Ms Scott with former Lindsay MP Jackie Kelly.

"They are young, they are feisty. I think I can probably say have a bit of sex appeal and they're just very connected with the local area," Mr Abbott said on Tuesday.

Campaigning in Brisbane on Wednesday Mr Abbott said his daughters had provided the most accurate assessment of his gaffe.

"Look, as the kids suggested to me, I had a dad moment. A daggy dad moment," Mr Abbott said.