Leaders to take part in forum, as debate stand-off continues

6:48 am on 17 August 2010

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard says she will take part in a town hall-style forum with Tony Abbott on Wednesday night, even if he will not debate her.

Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott have been locked in a stand-off about whether there will be more debates or forums squabbling over the subject matter, format and timing, the ABC reports.

Labor has insisted there should be a debate, and, in a in statement released on Tuesday night, Ms Gillard said she will take part in a either a debate or a forum.

Asked whether he would meet Ms Gillard halfway and agree to hold both a debate and a forum, Mr Abbott said that if she was serious about an economic debate she would have agreed to his proposal for a half-hour debate.

The Greens say Labor and the coalition are displaying a lack of maturity over whether to have a debate and the situation has become a farce.

The forum will be similar to the one in which both leaders were grilled by voters in western Sydney last week, the ABC says. Mr Abbott was crowned people's choice at the event.

Opinion polls indicate the 21 August election will be close.