Kevin Rudd... says sorry over Kokoda Track comments.
Kevin Rudd... says sorry over Kokoda Track comments.

Kevin Rudd says sorry for Kokoda Track survivor quip

PRIME Minister Kevin Rudd has apologised after his comments describing himself as a 'survivor of the Kokoda Track' were labelled stupid by veterans.

Mr Rudd on Monday acknowledged that more than 3000 Australians a year followed in the footsteps of the 30,000 diggers who fought a pitched campaign along the Track in 1942 under appalling conditions.

Mr Rudd walked the Track in 2006 with Liberal heavyweight Joe Hockey as part of a TV stunt.

"I was one of them way back then and I am a survivor of the Kokoda Track," Mr Rudd said at his Moresby press conference, conducted with a portrait of himself in the background. reported that Mr Rudd on Tuesday apologised for "any misinterpretation" that followed his claim.

"I think, in my speech I said that 3000 Australians walked the Kokoda Track every year and that I had done the same and had survived," he said as he left for a walk in Townsville shortly after 6am.

"That's actually what I meant. If people have taken that a different way, then of course I'm sorry about any misinterpretation."

Bede Tongs, 93, was awarded the Military Medal for single-handedly taking out a Japanese machine gun post at Templeton's Crossing in September 1942.

He told News: "It was a stupid thing to say, he wasn't there. Instead of saying stupid things he should spend more money on health and education for our friends in PNG.''