Kevin Rudd’s brother Greg claims that the former prime minister is ‘‘rattling the cage’’ for another tilt at the Labor leadership.
Greg Rudd - who has plans to run as an independent Senate candidate in the next federal election - said that Kevin Rudd’s interview on the ABC’s 7.30 program last night was ‘‘letting his colleagues know that he’s still there willing to serve if they so wish.’’
Greg Rudd, a lobbyist, told Fairfax Radio in Brisbane this morning that he would not ‘‘spin’’ around the issue. ‘‘It’s basic Kevin rattling the cage,’’ he said.
In July, Greg Rudd, told Fairfax his brother would not challenge for the Labor leadership again, but observed: ‘‘he’ll definitely take it if they ask’’.
He also said of Kevin Rudd: ’’A leopard doesn’t change his spots.’’
This comes as the member for Griffith’s caucus colleagues have shot down claims he is lining up for a second shot at his old job, declaring his comments are being overanalysed and dramatised.
Mr Rudd’s appearance on 7.30 , in which he lambasted Queensland Premier Campbell Newman’s first budget, was hailed by Doug Cameron - a powerful figure in Labor’s Left faction and Rudd supporter - as a ‘‘fantastic’’ performance.
Senator Cameron said Mr Rudd was ‘‘running a strong Labor line’’ as a team player.
‘‘I think everyone in the Labor party needs to be out there, fighting the team game, as Kevin Rudd is doing.’’
Mr Rudd said during the wide-ranging interview that he has ‘‘a responsibility’’ to get out and argue the case against Tony Abbott.
Asked whether Labor could win under Ms Gillard’s leadership, Mr Rudd said, ‘‘Of course the government can prevail,’’ but it took four questions before he used her name, saying ’’under Prime Minister Gillard’s leadership’’.
‘‘My voice won’t be silenced in the public debate because the issues at stake for Australia are so stark,’’ he said.
Finance Minister Penny Wong said it was ‘‘absolutely right’’ for Mr Rudd to lend his voice to criticism of the Coalition.
Questions over Mr Rudd’s perceived leadership positioning were due to ‘‘people [who] watch every move a little too much and tend to dramatise things’’.
Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr rejected suggestions Mr Rudd was ‘‘encroaching’’ on his ministerial turf by attending international events such as the World Economic Forum in China, where the former prime minister was interviewed.
Mr Rudd was ‘‘perfectly entitled, in fact duty bound’’ as a former prime minister to use his experience for the greater good of Australia, Senator Carr said.
Environment Minister Tony Burke - who was a key player in the 2010 leadership coup - said there was no evidence Mr Rudd was actively seeking the leadership again.
‘‘I’ve seen no evidence at all that he is,’’ he said. ‘‘I really think this is overanalysing it.’’
But Australian Greens leader Christine Milne said it was clear Mr Rudd wanted his job back.
‘‘It certainly appears as if he has never gone away actually in terms of his leadership aspirations,’’ she told ABC radio. ‘‘But he is going to fail in doing that because he doesn’t have the support in the Labor Party, from what I can see.’’
Senior Minister Simon Crean said Mr Rudd had demonstrated he was ’’prepared to play in the team’’.
Mr Crean said it was reasonable that backbenchers gave interviews on TV, adding if they were banned from doing so there would be public and media outcry.
With Richard Willingham and AAP