High-profile Rudd at pains to deny comeback talk

Chinese whispers: Kevin Rudd with cabinet supporter Martin Ferguson.
Chinese whispers: Kevin Rudd with cabinet supporter Martin Ferguson.

Kevin Rudd has ruled out running for the prime ministership again and insisted he is not trying to make his role more public, despite a recent spate of public appearances.

In an interview with Fairfax Radio on Tuesday, Mr Rudd repeatedly declared "I'm not a candidate".

"I couldn't be plainer about it," Mr Rudd said.

When asked if he could be "drafted" into the role should his party ask him to take up the leadership reins again, Mr Rudd replied: "I'm not a candidate ... and furthermore, really enjoying what I'm doing.

"The truth is, we had a leadership ballot in February, I lost, the Prime Minister won."

When asked if he would like to come back to the frontbench, Mr Rudd repeatedly answered: "I'm very happy where I am."

During the interview, Mr Rudd was surprised to learn that the biggest news story, according to media research so far this year, was not the Olympics or the US elections but the Australian February leadership challenge.

"That didn't turn out too well, did it?" he said with a laugh.

Mr Rudd has been particularly visible in recent weeks, making numerous public and media appearances, but told Fairfax Radio he was not trying to make his role more public.

"I pride myself on being a local member of parliament," he said, adding that he made "no bones about the fact" that if he felt he had a contribution to make on national policy, he would speak up.

The former prime minister and former foreign minister also largely backed Prime Minister Julia Gillard in the recent "misogyny" debate.

Mr Rudd conceded that the debate had probably spiralled out of control but said that it had been legitimate to question the views of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.

"It's a fair conversation nationally to have," he said.

Mr Rudd added that Mr Abbott's statements about women "do sort of form a bit of a pattern".

The member for Griffith also likened the opposition's grilling of Ms Gillard over her 1990s dealings with the Australian Workers Union to the "Utegate" scandal in 2009, in which the Coalition grilled Mr Rudd over alleged corruption that ultimately proved to be false.

"I believe the Prime Minister has responded effectively to the questions so far," he said.

This story High-profile Rudd at pains to deny comeback talk first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.