Monday, 27 February 2012

Transcript of Statement

I congratulate Julia on her strong win today. The Caucus has spoken, I accept the Caucus' verdict without qualification and without rancour. To each and every one of my supporters who together delivered nearly one third of the Caucus, I thank them, I thank them from the bottom of my heart.

To those who did not vote for me but with whom I have had some truly great conversations in recent days, can I thank them for their friendship and for their civility.

To those who have been a little more willing in their public character analysis of me in recent times, could I say the following - I bear no grudges, I bear no-one any malice, and if I've done wrong to anyone in what I have said, or in what I have done to them, I apologise.

It's time - in fact it's well past time - that these wounds were healed. Because what we in this Government and this party and this movement are wedded to is a high purpose.

Our purpose is to serve the nation, not ourselves.

Our purpose is to serve the people of Australia, not ourselves.

Our purpose is also to serve those who need the direct agency of government, everyday, in order to live, and to live with decency.

The unemployed, those who depend on our disability services system, those who can't afford a flash school, those who rely entirely - entirely - on the public health system of Australia. And of course our Indigenous brothers and sisters as well.

And to do this we must serve the people, not ourselves.

And that is what I dedicate myself to doing.

To Julia I would say the following as I have said just now in the Caucus - I accept fully the verdict of the Caucus, and I dedicate myself to working fully for her re-election as the Prime Minister of Australia.

And I will do so with my absolute ability dedicated to that task.

To the good people of Australia let me say a few things as well.

Firstly, thank you. Thank you on behalf of Therese and myself and the family for the extraordinary wave of public support that we have had, not just in recent days, but in recent years. You have been an enormous encouragement to the journey we have walked so far in public life. And from the bottom of our hearts and as a family a huge thank you from us.

I believe that when I nominated for the position of leader of the Labor Party, that this was doing exactly the right thing. I resigned as Foreign Minister because it was the right thing to do. I stood for the leadership because I believed it was the right thing to do. I knew it would be tough but I was not about to go and squib it. We Queenslanders are made of different stuff to that.

To thank some folks - firstly, the great institution of state, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. To the Secretary, Dennis Richardson; to the Deputy Secretaries; and to all of our ambassadors and high commissioners abroad and all our staff - you are a marvellous team of professionals. Each and every one of you, I'm proud of you.

You serve Australia well. You do so in ways which are rarely seen by the public at home.

We as a nation are blessed by their professionalism, and together we've achieved great things.

We've established and consolidated the G20 as the continuing global institution of global economic governance where Australia for the first time in our history has a seat at the table. Together we've helped establish a single institution in Asia for the first time in Asia's history which has all the principal powers of the region including the United States round the one table, hopefully to negotiate a peaceful future for our country and for the region rather than defaulting into conflict or war.

I'm proud of the fact also that through Australian foreign policy we have led the way in global initiatives in support of the end of tyranny in Libya.

We are leading the global debate on Syria, and the fact that we have been in the forefront of our support for people who this day will lose their lives through starvation in the horn of Africa.

I'm proud of all these things. I'm proud of the fact that we have consolidated our principal relationships right across this region. We now have defence and foreign ministers’ dialogues with all the principal countries of our region.

We didn't have that before. We have it now with Japan. We have it now with Korea. We have it with Indonesia. We have it prospectively with India.

These are important steps forward.

Together we have re-birthed our relationship with Europe. We have established now high-level strategic dialogues with Germany, with France, and taken it further in its consolidation with United Kingdom and with the European Union. We've also opened new chapters in our relationships with Africa, and Latin America.

Why do I emphasise these things?

Sometimes we get caught in a static frame. I've never been like that. Roll the clock ahead 10, 15 years and you will see the billion people of Africa and the 600 people of Latin America becoming the huge engine-drivers of the next wave of global growth, following those of China, and following those of India.

I'm proud of these things.

We are a middle power with global interests and with regional interests. I've sought to deliver on both.

I believe we have.

It's been the right thing to do.

I'm also proud of the fact of some little things - the fact that we've been able to appoint Australia's first Ambassador for Women and Girls, to take the challenge of dealing with the appalling exploitation of women and girls that we see across so many parts of the world.

And to announce - but not yet deliver - the fact that in this term we will have our first Indigenous Australian appointed as an Australian ambassador abroad from within the ranks of the Australian foreign service.

I also want to thank AusAID, a brilliant agency. We are now, I believe, the seventh largest aid donor in the world. We are now respected by all the other principal aid donors in the world, across Europe and the United States and in Canada. We work together in dealing with the great challenges of global poverty. And through AusAID's director, Peter Baxter, I say to each and every one of my team there, well done; you are a terrific group of people and you this day are saving lives in Australia's name and all Australians are indebted to you for doing that.

To a little-known institution called ACIAR - the Australian Council for International Agricultural Research. I'll ask Matthew Franklin to explain its precise functions now.


Thank you.

This is a great bunch of folks; they are probably amongst the foremost experts in agricultural science and seed productivity in dealing with poor and developing countries anywhere in the world; so when I go somewhere - East Timor or to the north of Africa - and they can't get enough out of seed yield, we get those folks to go and do the work. A brilliant bunch.

I also would like to thank ASIS and its Director Nick Warner; and that's about all I can say about that.


Can I thank also members of the Diplomatic Corps here in Canberra, to my colleagues and through the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps for their extraordinary support for me as Minister.

To my foreign ministerial colleagues around the world; we have worked together as great teams in dealing with some of the world's current challenges. I don't wish to name them all, but I count William Hague as a personal friend - we have worked very closely together; I count John Baird, the - a new Foreign Minister of Canada - or newish Foreign Minister of Canada in the same category; Marty Natalegawa, next door in Indonesia; Alain Juppe in France; Westerwelle in Germany; and the fact that right across the region, including my good friend Foreign Minister Kim in Korea, we have done enormous things together.

It's been a great team effort, often completely invisible to you good folks in the media, as it should be. But the team work has been great.

Now to my staff; this is where you start to gum up. The staff - where are they?

Oh, good. My staff; Philip Green, from the Department of Foreign Affairs, my Chief of Staff - formerly Australia's High Commissioner in South Africa and formerly high commissioner also in a number of other African countries prior to that - a first-class diplomat, a first-class professional. Philip, thank you so much for your work. I didn't expect to land you in all of this when you came into my employ.

To the deputy, Kate Sieper - who many of you know because she deals with you, ladies and gentlemen of the press - I thank her as well; she is terrific. Be gentle to Kate, she's having a baby soon, okay? And I'm going to hold you responsible for that, Dennis Shanahan; you're one of the senior ones in the gallery.

Can I also thank Patrick Gorman. Where are you, Patrick? Okay, Patrick, who has come to me from the far reaches of WA to work for this curious Queenslander, he's done a terrific job as well.

I also see Ranya Alkadamani up there. Ranya, terrific; a woman who comes to Australia, the daughter of Syrian parents who at a personal level has followed what has happened to her home communities back home and the ravages of what's unfolded in recent times.

My fantastic staff; what can I say about you all? You're just terrific. As are my electorate office staff in Brisbane.

To my family; Therese, to the kids, Jessica, Albert - my son in law, and the bubby, whenever the bub comes; the baby's due in May, be kind. To my son Nick and his fiancée Zara - they're getting married in April; Marcus, who's currently in the tender care of the Chinese Government at Peking University. Family for me is everything and I could do nothing in public life were it not for their support.
And darling, you have been a rock in recent days, an absolute rock in what is always one of the tough times in politics which are days like this.

Finally to the good burghers of Griffith themselves; my local community which Therese and I and our family love to bits. It's a wonderful part of Brissie for those of you who come from Queensland. It's where we live and have our being. To them I thank them for all their support as well as through them to my local and many branch members of the Griffith Federal Electorate Council of the Australian Labor Party.

Ladies and gentlemen, I will continue as the federal Member for Griffith. I will continue, as I've stated before, with the support of my local community to continue as the federal Member for Griffith into the future and beyond the next election.

Having said those remarks, let me just say, these are difficult times for the Australian Labor Party and the Australian Labor movement. If you look on the wall in this room - which people watching television won't see - it bears the photograph of each previous Labor leader back to the days of Federation when John Christian Watson formed the first Australian Labor government in 1904.

We've been around for a bit; we've done a few things. We got most of them right and we got a few things wrong. We, however, are on the side - the progressive side of Australian politics; we intend to stick there as well.

Over the years we've had a few internal problems as well, but we've got over them and we've written the history of this nation; the other mob have just reacted to it.

My task as a member of this parliament and a 30-year long member of the Australian Labor Party, as its former leader, as its former foreign minister and as its former prime minister, is to now throw my every effort in securing Julia Gillard's re-election as Labor Prime Minister at the next election.

We will now take our leave.

Thank you.

Statement to the Parliamentary Labor Party following the Re-Election of the Leader

I accept the will of the Caucus without qualification and without rancour. And I congratulate Julia on her strong win.

To each and every one of my supporters - I say thank you – it’s never easy being part of the minority.

And I have one simple request for you all, and that is to unite under Julia’s leadership to do everything we possibly can to prevent Abbott from prevailing.

To paraphrase the new poet of our age, Albo, we’re here to fight Tories, not ourselves.

To those of you who didn’t vote for me and with whom I’ve had great conversations in recent days, I thank you for your friendship and your civility.

To those of you who have been pretty free and willing in your character analysis of me in recent weeks, I say this:

I bear you no grudges.

I bear you no malice.

And if I have wronged any of you in what I have done and in what I have said, please accept my apology.

To Julia I would say this: leadership is hard – harder in this Parliament than in the last.

You will have my absolute support in your efforts to bring us to victory.

I will not under any circumstances mount a challenge against your leadership.

I go one step further. If anyone turns on Julia in the 18 months ahead, of the type I have seen reported in much of the press, Julia – you will find me in your corner against them.

And I am ready to help in anyway whatsoever in my capacity as Member for Griffith, as a former Labor Leader, as a former Labor Prime Minister, as a former Labor Foreign Minister, or in any other capacity.

I will continue as the Member for Griffith and with the support of my local community, through the next election as well.

And my final request of the leader – no retribution against my supporters.

They are good Labor people, every one of them.

They all have good Labor values.

As do I.

I’m proud of the Party I joined 30 years ago.

The great Neville Wran once said, we have our brawls, our bare knuckled fights, our squabbles (probably never as spectacular as this) then we take out the industrial hose and wash the blood off the walls, and go out together as a team.

Neville comes from that lesser known school of poetry called the ‘New South Wales Right’ school.

But he’s right. So I’d just say to my harshest critics, I’d suggest we have a cup of tea, a cup of coffee, or something harder (and I don’t mean an Iced Vovo) as we seek to put all of this behind us.

The acrimony of recent weeks cannot continue.

Not one bit.

Not for a moment longer.

Let’s go together to defeat Abbott and deliver Labor the victory.

I thank the Caucus.

Statement to the Parliamentary Labor Party


I have reflected carefully on my remarks to this Caucus today.

When I left Australia a week ago as Foreign Minister, I did not anticipate that I’d be standing before you a week later in this leadership ballot.

It’s been a great honour to serve the nation and the Party as Foreign Minister.

It is a privilege to be elected to this place.

To have served you as Leader, as Prime Minister, and as Foreign Minister.

Together I believe we’ve delivered lasting foreign policy achievements in the best traditions of Labor foreign policy.

* The establishment and consolidation of Australia’s membership of the G20;
* The creation for the first time in the history of Asia, a single regional institution with all the principal players of our region;
* Our leadership on Libya, Syria and Somalia;
* The fact that we are now the 7th largest aid donor in the world.

These are great Labor foreign policy achievements and whoever becomes the next Foreign Minister, should own all these achievements with pride.

We are at our best when we own our Labor legacy.

We are at our worst when we don’t.

The reasons for my resigning as Foreign Minister are now part of the record.

It was a decision I took with a heavy heart.

But given the sustained and uncontested public attacks on my integrity by colleagues, I believe I had no choice and that it was the honourable thing to do. Nick Champion reminded us of that principle back in 2010.

My reasons for contesting the leadership are different.

I decided to recontest the leadership once Julia said that she would declare the position open.

My core reason for doing so is this: for the last 12 months, not the last two months, or two weeks, we have been on track to suffer the worst electoral defeat in our history.

And I refuse to stand idly by while the next generation of Labor leaders is wiped out.

I don’t want to see hard working local members wiped out. People like:

* Mike in Eden Monaro
* Laura in La Trobe
* Darren in Corangamite
* Janelle in Page
* Steve in Hindmarsh

I believe I am the best placed to defeat Abbott at the next election: the people trust me. They don't really trust Abbott.

I have experience – experience in negotiating us through the GFC. Abbott has none. Nor does he have the temperament for high office.

In my one major national policy debate against Abbott, at the National Press Club on health and hospitals reform, Abbot was exposed for the hollow man that he is.

The truth is, unless we turn the tide against Abbott, this caucus will be reduced to a rump, and we will be out for a generation.

And everything we have built up these last 4 years, will be torn down:

* the NBN;
* a Carbon Price;
* Hospital Reform;
* Paid Parental Leave;
* the lot.

Now to the charges against me.

First, it is true that I swear, and now there is documentary evidence to that effect, it is hard to deny.

I doubt, however, that I’m exactly Robinson Crusoe on that score.
Second, leadership style, and the need for greater focus on the core challenges of the government - delegating more, greater reliance on the team, greater consultation.

You'd be a mug not to learn from the events of June 2010, and I have.

I’d recall though Simon Crean’s comments straight after the events of June 2010. Simon said then I was a good Chair of Cabinet. That I listened carefully to each contribution, then summarised.

I’d also note the recent comments of Richard Marles, the Parliamentary Secretary in my own portfolio. Richard is voting for Julia for understandable, long term loyalties. Richard with whom I’ve worked intimately for one and a half years now has stated in recent days he has had a first class working relationship with me. Richard is right.

On leadership style, there is one further thing I’d like to add. Managing the GFC, keeping the economy afloat, preventing mass unemployment, was really hard. It was 24/7.

But we succeeded. Even with a PM who got grumpy some time.

Then there is the third accusation, that I undermined the 2010 election campaign. That is untrue.

Those responsible know the truth. And history will reveal that truth over time. We have had a full report into the events of the 2010 election. It’s been selectively leaked. It’s time for it all to be released. Given the amount of blood on the carpet in recent days, I can see no reason for this report into what really went wrong in the 2010 election not to be released.

Finally, today gives us an opportunity to deal with the events of June 2010. As Albo said on Saturday what was done in 2010 was wrong. That’s the people’s view. That’s the view of the overwhelming majority of our supporters and our branch members. Not just what was done, but how it was done.

The question is how we now put it right.

This has been a difficult, almost violent, ballot.

It shouldn't be like that.

Whatever happens here, we have to heal the show.

Not rhetorically.

But in reality.

Genuine reconciliation.

Otherwise we are all dead, and the hopes of working people everywhere die with us.

And there must be no retribution against anybody in this room.

If I succeed, or, if I fail, I respectfully ask the Caucus for its support.

And, I will respect the decision of the Caucus.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Interview with Laurie Oakes

LAURIE OAKES: I’ve brought the battered old clipboard out of retirement for the occasion. Mr Rudd, welcome to the program.

KEVIN RUDD: Good morning Laurie, you don’t look as battered as your clip board.

LAURIE OAKES: I’m glad about that.

Look can we start with your allegation that it’s again the faceless men who are trying to do you in.

Aren’t the people who are leading the pro-Gillard charge actually the most senior ministers, some of the best known political faces in the country?

KEVIN RUDD: Look I go back to the events of 2010 Laurie where factions and faceless men were fundamental to what unfolded at that time, and I’ve got to say those factions have remained very powerful and they’ve continued in their determination in relation to myself.

Obviously when people vote on Monday they’ll vote for a range of different reasons but I’ve got to say there is a strong factional dimension to this as well.
And it is no secret to anybody out there that I’ve never been a creature of the factions, having said that I’m of course - people have legitimate criticisms of aspects of my past performance and I accept responsibility for that.

LAURIE OAKES: You say you’ve never been a creature of the factions but the factions put you there. The factions put the Rudd Gillard team together they made you the leadership team, so you owed your Prime Ministership to the factions. Isn’t it fair that he who lives by the factions dies by factions?

KEVIN RUDD: Actually Laurie that is not true.

I mean for example the AWU faction which Mr Swan belongs to vigorously and viciously campaigned against my elevation to the leadership in 2006.

The SDA faction, known affectionately as the ‘shoppies’ did exactly the same.

Other particular unions did exactly the same.

I’ve just got to say, I mean the fact that I was able to emerge as leader at that time was because of broad-based support from many, many groups within the parliamentary party, and many individuals.

But I've got to say, the factional hierarchy has never been pleased with me, and that's because I've consistently refused to bend a knee to them, because I regard my responsibility as ultimately to the broader party, and to the Australian people.

LAURIE OAKES: As I said, though, it's senior ministers who are leading the charge against you, whereas on your part, it's Bruce Hawker, a lobbyist, who's out there every day leading your campaign. Isn't he the ultimate faceless man, the unelected faceless man?

KEVIN RUDD: Well, can I say on that core accusation, Laurie, I would not regard Chris Bowen as a junior minister. I don't regard Anthony Albanese as a junior minister. I don't regard Martin Ferguson as a junior minister. I don't regard the former attorney-general, and still Cabinet minister, Robert McClelland, as a junior minister. Nor would I regard Kim Carr, the hero of Australian manufacturing, as some minor afterthought in the scheme of things.

The truth is that there are different views within the Cabinet. I accept that and I respect that; just as there are different views within the Caucus. But whatever happens on Monday, we respect the Caucus's views.

LAURIE OAKES: But you're dodging the question about Bruce Hawker, aren't you?

KR: Not at all.

LAURIE OAKES: Are you paying him?

KR: Of course not. That is an absurd accusation, Laurie.

Can I just say, many of us in politics have longstanding friends, and remain loyal.

I’ve been a friend of Bruce’s for twenty years, that’s the bottom line and the fact that you’ve got other friends and supporters of other people in politics who pop up from time to time that I presume is all par for the course. I think it is quite wrong to focus on Bruce. I think you would probably agree with me Laurie that Graham Richardson is not exactly a big, big supporter of mine. He seems to have been out there in support of others though, so let’s just be very, very clear about this.

LAURIE OAKES: OK, but it’s Bruce Hawker who was out there calling on the Prime Minister to resign, and stand aside on your behalf.
I know that that annoyed people in Caucus, didn’t they tell you that that was a bad idea, it went over like a lead balloon?

KEVIN RUDD: Look, when you're in the midst of a campaign for the leadership of the Parliamentary Labor Party, people are going to say a whole lot of things out there in the heat of a campaign, and I think there's a whole lot of things that have been said against yours truly which perhaps should not have been said.

Of course the question arises as to why I'm running as a candidate for the leadership of the Labor Party at all right now - and the reason for that is that you had senior ministers, led by Minister Crean, who, day after day, week after week, launched public attacks on one of his parliamentary colleagues and ministerial colleagues - that's me - and in fact suggesting the resignation was an appropriate course of action. And of course when the Prime Minister refused to repudiate Simon Crean when I was in the United States, the only honourable thing for me to do, Laurie, was to resign and I did so. And having resigned I took the further decision to challenge and the reason for doing that was so that this matter could be settled between now and the next election, which we have to face federally, and on top of that, for the benefit of Anna Bligh and the Queensland election as well.

LAURIE OAKES: If you win tomorrow, it’s not going to happen I think, but if you were to win tomorrow, how could you then win an election given the way your reputation has been trashed by your colleagues, and as Martin Ferguson says, the Labor party itself has written the Liberals advertising scripts.

KEVIN RUDD: Well Laurie can I just strongly suggest you might put that question to a couple of the ministerial colleagues.

The onslaught of public attacks regrettably lead by Mr Swan and Minister Burke, and Minister Conroy, and Minister Crean, I think are virtually unprecedented in Australian political history.

I think though in the full wash up of events what the Australian public will also conclude is that when leadership contests are on, whether they are in the Liberal Party or the Labor Party, a lot of things are said in the heat of those campaigns which are seen as being within the heat of those campaigns. We then dust ourselves off and get onto the core business of governing the country.

If Julia is returned on Monday, then she will have my unequivocal support between now and the next election, because we have interests way beyond individuals here, and they are the millions of Australians who depend on us to form a Labor Government and to prevent Mr Abbott from inflicting on Australia the ravages of the most extreme right-wing government the country will have ever seen.

LAURIE OAKES: You say that if you lose, Julia Gillard will have your support. But Paul Keating, of course, when he lost the first time 'round against Bob Hawke, said he only had one shot in the locker. Now he was telling porkies. Why should anyone believe that you won't have another go?

KEVIN RUDD: I've been very explicit about what I've said, and I will adhere to what I have said. And the reason is we've got far bigger fish to fry here.
It goes way beyond the individual standing of people like myself, or for that matter, Julia Gillard or anybody else.

What I'd say, though, to other people within the parliamentary party, Laurie, is this - if Julia is returned, or if I'm elected, then I think it's time for various of the faceless men to lay down the cudgels. Because there is a fear, on the part of many, that other folk will line up and have a go at whoever the leader is who emerges from Monday, now be it myself or Julia, and I would be very concerned if that were to happen.

We're 18 months out from an election. It's important that the party unify and have a clear message to the Australian people.

Remember, I think one of the great contributions of Albo to the public debate yesterday, in his comments about what grieved him most about the current debate, was when you step back from it all, the things that unite us as a Labor party and a Labor movement are far, far greater from those that divide us.

And you have a whole bunch of people out there in the community who often cannot speak for themselves who depend on us alone, the Australian Labor movement and the Australian Labor Party, the organised trade unions of this country, and the political party, which is the ALP, to lift their interests - pensioners otherwise do not have a voice; the unemployed otherwise do not have a voice; those suffering from disabilities do not otherwise have a voice.

We have been, for more than 100 years, their proud voice, and I believe we must maintain ourselves in government credibly in order to make sure their interests are guaranteed in the future.

LAURIE OAKES: You talk about putting down the cudgels, but it's pretty clear now that if you did become Prime Minister again tomorrow, half a dozen of the top ministers would not serve with you. They've said as much, including Health Minister Nicola Roxon. Now how do you put a Cabinet together when such prominent people would turn their backs on you?

KEVIN RUDD: Well what I've learned from the Australian Labor Party, Laurie, is that there is a whole bunch of talented people there, whose individual talents and collective talents rise above any individual, including yours truly, by the way.

You mentioned just before, Nicola. One of the sad things about Nicola's intervention in this debate - and I've got a lot of time for her - is that just after the leadership coup in 2010, I remember Therese and I sitting in the airport lounge at Canberra Airport where Nicola made a point of coming up and saying the following to both of us, "You know, a lot of people have said that they couldn't work with Kevin - that's what they're saying now. That has never been my experience," said Nicola. "He always supported me through the health policy reforms."

I think we need to take a bit of a wider view of some of the things which have been said, somewhat outrageously, in recent times. And I think everyone needs to step back, calm down, and listen carefully, I think, to what Labor's new elder statesman, Anthony Albanese, had to say yesterday.

LAURIE OAKES: But Nicola Roxon has said that she has now found it impossible to work for you.

She talked about your cynical approach, wanting a referendum to take over all health powers from the states even though you knew that would fail that referendum, and she said she never knew what you were going to say about health.

Now, does that indicate that the accusations you ran a chaotic government were true?

KEVIN RUDD: Let me go to the specific and then the general if that's OK.

I've just said to you what Nicola said to Therese's face two days after the coup last time, and had never been anything which Nicola had ever raised with me.
On the question specifically of a referendum on health and taking the matter to the people through plebiscite or referendum, can I ask that you have a very close look at what the health policy document released in both Nicola's name and my name had to say about that way back when? In fact, we canvassed there the possibility of a plebiscite.

Can I just say, it's very important that people take a long, hard look at what underpins some of the more impassioned statements which have been said recently.

On your general question, Laurie, about the Cabinet, as I've said, I think to you or to other journalists who've asked me about this in recent times – the bottom line is this - we can always all do better.

I'd be a mug if I didn't learn from the experiences of having served as Prime Minister of this country for going on three years.

And I think our predecessors, for example, who have been Prime Minister and then come back or Liberal leaders and then come back - you know, Menzies, Howard, they've all learnt from these experiences and built on them.

But on the question about what I got wrong, plainly, I think as Prime Minister of the country, you need to be focused on four or five core issues, and second, you need to delegate to the others, and I probably could have done that a whole lot better.

In my defence I’d say at that time we were running two major, frankly, government challenges.

One was to keep the economy afloat through the global financial crisis, which was a full-time job in itself, and virtually unprecedented in modern Labor history - the last government who had to confront that was the Scullin government in 1929.

Then the second was newly elected Labor government had to implement all our pre-election commitments. It was a very tough time.

But yes, could I have been more focused on core challenges facing the government, yes. Could I have delegated more? Yes. And could I have also made sure that for example I got a decent night's sleep in order to be fully charged up and energy levels running to handle the process of government better? Well of course. But these were very challenging times when my number one objective was to prevent this country going into recession and mass unemployment.

LAURIE OAKES: But there was more than that involved - we now have quite a lot of allegations of you putting staff and advisors in the freezer, as it was put, because you didn't like their advice. You didn't talk to the head of your own government department for the last few months of your government. Wayne Swan says you treated people in a demeaning way.

I mean, it is quite clear from the way people are responding in the Caucus to the possibility of your return, that there's widespread dislike, almost loathing.

How do you overcome that? How do you turn that perception around?

KEVIN RUDD: Can I say, Laurie, there's a couple of elements to that.

As I've just said before, I don't claim to have got all of these things right, and I've been through fairly clearly some of the things that I've got wrong.

On a few of the facts that you've just gone through, I think you'll find the turnover in my own office as Prime Minister has probably been far less than it has been in Julia's office, or somewhat less anyway. But these are highly pressured jobs and people come and go quite rapidly.

I've had virtually no turnover in my office as the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Very few people have left at all, even though it's an office where people often go on postings for the department.

Speak to my secretary of my department now, Denis Richardson, about how I have interacted with the department and the senior executive - they're a fine professional bunch of people.

But you know something - we all learn from past mistakes and I certainly could improve, but part of the business, Laurie, of actually binding this party and binding therefore the Government back together, is as follows - for folks like me to recognise what I've got wrong, pretty clearly, but also for other folks to recognise – you know - that they might have got a few things wrong as well. It takes two to tango with these things, and I think the underlying…

LAURIE OAKES: No. So well should the Cabinet have knocked on your door and said "Kevin, you're running a paralysed, chaotic government. You have got to do something about it or you're out"? Did any ministers say that to you?

KEVIN RUDD: Well that is the core point, Laurie.

I was doing my absolute best to run the country and to bring us through the global recession, totally focused on that.

None of my colleagues in Cabinet meetings or privately, including Mr Swan, who is now most vocal in his opposition, ever said that to me.
I had very long and direct conversations with Mr Swan in the lead-up to the events of the coup on the 23rd and 24th of June that year. And at no time - at no time - did he reflect to me that there was any fundamental concern or any significant problem that would cause me or require me to change course, do something radically different, in order to retain the position of Prime Minister.

In fact, the only time I found out that Mr Swan had changed his position on this was when I rang him after the coup had been launched, where he said to me simply, "Oh. I'm backing change." That was it. No prior warning. No nothing.

LAURIE OAKES: On that kind of subject, Maxine McKew, in an article in 'The Age' today - she is the former member - she says that Julia Gillard wanted to stop you having an emissions trading system and, in the end, that turned to a threat. Did Julia Gillard threaten you over that issue?

KEVIN RUDD: Oh, look, I'm not going to go to the absolute specifics of that, Laurie. I don't think it's going to help the future of the Government all that much. I've been on the record already to say that she – that is Julia - and Wayne, argued very strongly, very strongly to me in multiple discussions way outside the Cabinet room, I've got to say, as to why we could not continue in the emissions trading scheme.

They were very strong in their arguments, Julia particularly so, saying that she could not support the continuation of that policy. Now she advocated an alternative policy which she called ‘the bipartisan solution’. The bipartisan solution was along these lines, that the government should wait until Mr Abbot returned to traditional Liberal Party policy of embracing a price on carbon through an emissions trading scheme.

I wasn't prepared to accept that.

These are the facts of what happened.

The more important thing now is that we focus on the fact that we have a price on carbon and we need to see that transition to an emissions trading scheme as early as possible. That has been made possible, by the way, by an election which delivered a new Senate.

LAURIE OAKES: Time is getting away from us unfortunately. There are a couple of things I really need to cover quickly.


LAURIE OAKES: Firstly, there are allegations in today's News Limited tabloids that at Adelaide Stag Hotel in February last year, in front of witnesses, you referred to the Prime Minister as a "childless, atheist ex-communist." True?

KEVIN RUDD: That's not true, Laurie.

On that particular occasion, which you somewhat evocatively describe as the Stag Hotel as if it's a place of ill repute - it was the place…

LAURIE OAKES: That’s its name.

KEVIN RUDD: Hang on. You know what you're talking about here. It sounds as if it's a terrible place. It's the place in Adelaide where the Premier and his wife invite guests to review a parade for the Adelaide Fringe Festival.
I was there as a guest of Mr and Mrs Rann. I was there with my media advisor, Dan Street, who used to work for you, mate. And they were with me the whole time.

Neither of them, nor do I, have any recollection of having said anything of the sort. That is not my style.

Other people have said that about the Prime Minister. I've made a point of not focusing on anyone's religious beliefs or otherwise. What other people may choose to reflect on in those conversations is a matter for them.

LAURIE OAKES: Julia Gillard says she's pulled this ballot on because you were disloyal to her.

Can I ask you - isn't it true that, during the ALP National Conference on the night of the Prime Minister's speech, you went to a bar and spoke to six or eight journalists mocking the Prime Minister's speech, including the phrase, the memorable phrase, "We are us"? You called it I think ‘the Toys 'R' Us speech’. Is that true, and was that disloyal?

KEVIN RUDD: I think what you'll find Laurie on that occasion when I walked, I think along the concourse there not far from the Entertainment Centre, or the Convention Centre in Sydney, is that a whole bunch of your colleagues - journalists - waved at me and beckoned me over to their table as I walked by.
I think if they were to honestly reflect on what occurred that evening, it was not of that nature.

A number of them - in fact, one of them said "We've just been talking about the 'We are Us' speech’, the ‘We are Us’ speech, and then they were highly critical of it.

Now I'm not going to say that I necessarily would have given the speech a huge, ringing endorsement, but can I just say that, as described - including other more colourful descriptions of that encounter with journalists - it's somewhat more complex than that, I've got to say.

Can I add one thing to that, Laurie, given that you said our time is short - I've answered a lot of the charges which you've put to me this morning, and you're entirely right to ask me any question you like, but if I do not prevail tomorrow in this leadership ballot, what I already sense is the emergence of round two of a campaign, of the process of character assassination of yours truly which hopped into full gear straight after the coup of 2010 in order to retrospectively justify what occurred.

I'm concerned that that will start again if I was to lose on Monday.

I would be concerned that they would start running an argument up the public flag pole which says, "Well look, the only reason the Labor Party continues to do badly in the polls is because of Kevin Rudd." That's been a convenient excuse for 12 months, by the way.
Or furthermore, that whatever the outcome in the Queensland election is because of Kevin Rudd.

I think it's time people actually accepted responsibility for their own actions.

By the way, I didn't draft that speech to the National Conference. I didn't go out there and make a promise to Andrew Wilkie. I didn't do a whole lot of those things which were done by others, but I seem to be blamed for the consequence fairly consistently.

But to echo Albo's spirit yesterday - let me just finish this because you've rightly asked a whole series of questions which are out there in the public debate, but I want to conclude by echoing what Albo had to say yesterday - there's things bigger than all of us.

If I get mown down by a bus tomorrow, then - political or physical - the bottom line is this - the party and the Government and the country is much bigger than me, because we're defending the interests and wellbeing of working people right across the country, and we've done so through history and we need to do so into the future.

It's time for us to unite rather than to divide.

And whatever the outcome tomorrow, and I'd say to all my supporters, we unite behind a Government because our key objective is to prevent all that we've achieved being shredded by Mr Abbott.

LAURIE OAKES: Let me finish on this note - if, as you claim, the electorate won't vote for Julia Gillard, and if tomorrow demonstrates that the Caucus won't vote for you, hadn't Labor better find a third candidate pretty damn quickly?

KEVIN RUDD: Well, I go back to what I said earlier in this interview, Laurie - I think this ballot is at a timing not of my choosing at all.
It was brought on because of sustained public political attacks by Minister Crean and others on me, which the Prime Minister did not repudiate, leaving me in a position where I had to resign.

And one thing followed another from those dramatic events of several days ago.

My view is very clear though - having come to this, it should be resolved and the business of Government should return to normality.
And I’d say to all others who are carrying leadership batons in their backpack, real or imagined, that it would then be time to unite behind the Prime Minister should I lose.

Similarly, if the result goes the other way, I would expect the same unity as well - the country is bigger than the Australian Labor Party. The nation is bigger than the Australian Labor Party. And the people watching this program making sure their businesses have a bottom line, that they can pay the pay cheques tomorrow, employ people, find a hospital bed, or a school with decent facilities - they depend on us putting all this to bed.

LAURIE OAKES: Mr Rudd, we're out of time. We thank you.

KEVIN RUDD: Thanks very much, Laurie.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Doorstop - Queen Street Mall, Brisbane

KEVIN RUDD: I just watched Albo's speech. I am really humbled by what he had to say. I am really humbled about what he had to say not just about me because I'm his friend but really humbled about what he had to say about the future of the Australian Labor Party.

QUESTION: He did say that this leadership tussle is tearing the party apart and he did concede that he doesn't think you will win on Monday. If you don't think you can win on Monday…

KEVIN RUDD: Let me just go to the speech a bit more.

I think - I don't know if you saw Albo's speech but it's worth reflecting on for a bit.

Look, what Albo's talking about is fundamental. It's about what unites us rather than what divides us, and I am saying to you that having sat there and watched it there were a very few dry eyes in the Rudd household this morning - not about what he had to say about yours truly but what he had to say about us as a movement and the importance of owning all the good stuff we've done together - myself, Julia, the whole team - and also where we need to go for the future.

I think it's really important when you look at that just to - everyone to take a deep breath, step back a bit and think for a moment about what's really important, which is the future and whether we can defeat Mr Abbott, which means protecting basic stuff like hospitals, investments in our schools, the national broadband network and preventing the restoration of Work Choices.

QUESTION: Mr Rudd, Bruce Hawker said that the Prime Minister should consider not standing on Monday because she can't win; only you can. Do you agree?

KEVIN RUDD: Well Bruce is entitled to his point of view. What I'm concerned about is simply the attitude of my parliamentary colleagues as we head into what's an important contest.

And I go back to what Bruce said before in terms of his other remarks about the important things that we have done together as a government and I go back to what Albo said.

Look I've heard a lot of speeches in politics. I've given a few as well. I've inflicted some on you over time. Don't nod so enthusiastically.

This is a standout from Albo because it's from the heart; it's from the head; it's from both.

You know if you're in this hardened business of politics, when someone gets it absolutely right, and he got it right because he was talking about how the things that unite us are much bigger always than the things that divide us.

QUESTION: Recently you said that you wouldn't challenge Julia [indistinct]. Does that mean that you have given up your ambitions of being Prime Minister again or [indistinct]?

KEVIN RUDD: You know, people go into complex parsing of sentences and statements. I stand exactly by what I said yesterday. I couldn't have been clearer and that remains my position.

QUESTION: How much of a boost do you think Albo's statement today gives to your numbers and also just on Laura's question, he did make the point that it is tearing the party apart and you might not win. So what is the point of this if you want to build Labor?

KEVIN RUDD: I think on the question of the party's future, what Albo's talking about today is binding hearts together and binding minds together for the future.

Sure, as I think I said when I got back here, it's a tough old contest, it's a tough old race. I have never been in one which is not and that's just political reality, from day one. From day one when I was preselected for the Australian Labor Party, back when you were in short pants, it was tough. I then lost the next election.

Coming back and being re-elected again was tough. Every contest is tough. This one's tough as well.

QUESTION: How is about unity though? How is about unity if it is tearing the party apart?

KEVIN RUDD: Well, it's not just a clever line, it's what I actually think and feel about watching Albo this morning.

You're all hard-bitten political journalists; you've all been around for a while; you've seen people as I said, make some good speeches and some utterly appalling speeches and points in between, but you know Albo hit the nail on the head. What we have done together these last four years has been fantastic for the country. What we've done together under my leadership and Julia's has been fantastic for the country.

The fact that together as a team this whole country of ours was able to come through the global financial crisis without these people losing their jobs - that's what it's all about and we did it as a team.

And so his call to us all I think is to bind the hearts together.

SPEAKER: Last question.

KEVIN RUDD: I think there was someone who hadn't…

QUESTION: [Indistinct] bit of a truce before Monday might stop some of the infighting in some of the big groups.

KEVIN RUDD: Well there's been a fair bit of incoming. I think that's fair to say. It's been a bit rich from time to time and I think everyone needs to take a long hard long at themselves and reflect on what he had to say.

Albo's not Leader of the House for nothing. The reason I made him Leader of the House four years ago was because I thought he'd be damned good at it and he has been. But in being damned good at it, you've got to bring together a bunch of skills - one's having a heart for what we stand for, and a head and a hard head about the reality of politics in the House of Representatives.

But , but he's in that position to say I think what underneath it all, we, all - all of us on our side of politics, the great Australian Labor Party - really feel about the future.

So I think taking his call to heart is to detox some of this debate and I really hope that's what happens.

Last question.

QUESTION: The polls today - what's your reaction to them and what message to local members [indistinct] to take action?

KEVIN RUDD: Look everyone will look at the opinion polls today, draw their own conclusions.

They are out there in black and white for everyone to look at, up to them in terms of what conclusions they make.

The key thing for me is how do we, as an Australian government, prevent Mr Abbott from becoming Prime Minister given he is not Captain Negative, he's Field Marshal Negative.

This guy is right out there on the negative side of politics. Our job is to stop him from destroying what we built for these communities.

I've talked to a lot of kids this morning who've had new buildings put up in their schools. That's because of us; he opposed it.

I've met some folk this morning also who've had a bit to do with the hospitals on Brisbane's north side - the huge investment of funds because of us - the last mob took funding out.

When I look at the fact that here in Brisbane's CBD the broadband's probably not too bad, but get out to the burbs, let me tell you, Tony Walker, it's not and as a result we want to make that available to everyone in Australia and what Mr Abbott says - he's going to rip it up.

So can I say what causes me to get out of bed of a morning is how do we defeat him and how do we build a better Australia for all these good folk here, while never throwing the fair go out the back door.

That's what we are on about and having said that folks I'm going to talk to some other people here.


Friday, 24 February 2012

Transcript of Press Conference - Waterfront Place, Brisbane

Throughout my time in public life I've been motivated by two core goals - how to build a better Australia and how to build a stronger Australian Labor Party.

Today as a nation we face some serious challenges; a new global economic crisis that threatens jobs, our manufacturing industry and people in small business.

Today as a party, we also face serious challenges and if we're honest to ourselves all indications are that we're heading for the rocks at the next election, leaving the country to the ravages of Mr Abbott, the most conservative government, the most right-wing government in prospect in Australia's political history.
That's why I'm here today.

Because I believe that to do the best for the Australian - for Australia and Labor - things have to change.

It's no secret that our Government has a lot of work to do if it is to regain the confidence of the Australian people.
Rightly or wrongly, Julia has lost the trust of the Australian people and starting on Monday I want to start restoring that trust.
That's why I've decided to contest the leadership of the Australian Labor Party at the ballot in the caucus of the Australian Labor Party on Monday.  I want to finish the job the Australian people elected me to do when I was elected by them to become Prime Minister.
I believe that with the right Labor team we can meet the challenges of another global crisis and see off the threat of an Abbott Government.

Many of my Cabinet colleagues including Chris and Kim and Robert and Martin and many others in the Parliamentary Labor Party have encouraged me to do just that and I've spoken with many of them this morning.
I was elected in 2007 to govern for all Australians, to govern for working families and that's what we did.

The record is a good record.

Protecting the jobs of Australians through the global financial crisis; the only major developed economy not to go into recession because of the global financial crisis.

Increasing pensions for the aged, for people with disabilities and for carers.

Increasing the child care rebate.

Introducing paid maternity leave.

Abolishing WorkChoices; protecting the rights of working people.

Acting on climate change through Australia's first mandatory renewable energy target at 20 per cent.

Also, massively investing in education, radically increasing that investment including in new libraries and other facilities in schools right across Australia.

I'm proud of each and every one of them. Each and every one of them.

Building the National Broadband Network; a massive new investment in the public hospitals of Australia.

Apologising to the first Australians.

Closing the gap.

Membership of the G20; something which previous Australian Governments thought about, worked on, they never got very far on for decades. We achieved that. Australia for the first time in its history has a place at the world's top decision making table on the global economy.

And beyond that, establishing for the first time a single institution in East Asia which brings together all the great powers - United States, China, Japan, India, as well as Indonesia, ourselves and other countries. A table now capable of dealing with the great security challenges and political challenges we face in this, our Asian hemisphere in the 21st century.

This is a good record of achievement.
We haven't got everything right but let me tell you, this is a good record of achievement of which we should all be proud.

I want to finish the work we started and to build on these achievements.

We can help our small businesses by reducing the tax burden on them.

We can reduce the cost of living for families doing it tough.

We can strengthen our manufacturing.

These are just some of the improvements to our society and our economy that a Labor Government can make. And at the end of the day, it's all about jobs, about creating jobs not exporting jobs.

We also need to do more to strengthen party reform.

We need to build the Australian Labor Party of the future. I've spoken up for democracy everywhere in the world but it's most important that we have a thriving democracy within the Australian Labor Party itself - my own political party. And democracy is a process of continuing renewal.

Australians are sick and tired of outside forces calling the shots. Members of our parliamentary party should have the freedom to vote as they choose. Australia's greatest gift to democracy, our greatest gift to democracy has been the secret ballot known around the world as the Australian ballot.

Members of our parliamentary party should have exactly the same right.

Members of our parliamentary party should have absolute freedom from intimidation, including intimidation from factions. Their pre-selections must not be threatened on the basis of how they vote in a ballot for the leadership of the Australian Labor Party.

I call again on the Prime Minister to make absolutely clear that no Australian Labor Party Member of the House of Representatives or the Senate will have their pre-selection changed as a result of how they vote in the ballot. In other words, to confirm each and every one of those pre-selections. No one should have to live in fear.

I also call for there to be a secret ballot, a truly secret ballot, rather than people peering over one another's shoulders in a time-honoured tradition in certain parts of the Australian Labor Party.
And beyond that again, I would call on the Prime Minister to ensure that both candidates, and perhaps there might be more, for the ballot next Monday have the opportunity to speak and to address the parliamentary party before the ballot is taken. That's what normally happens. It rarely has happened in our party in the past. Let people make an informed choice there and then.
Let me tell you about something I think I got wrong and - one of a number of things.

During my term as Prime Minister we removed the right of the parliamentary party to elect the Ministry. On reflection, I think that might have been the wrong call because it did add to a sense of powerless on the part of various members of the parliamentary party and, as I've reflected on this and discussed it with ministers, a lack a sense of independence on the part of ministers as well.
If elected as Prime Minister, I will return that power to the parliamentary party as part of a broader policy of party reform. A policy aimed at reducing the power of the factions. I outlined that policy in an address I made just prior to the Australian Labor Party national conference at the end of last year.
The result, in essence what we want, is the power of the factions to be transferred to its rightful position to each and every individual member of the parliamentary party. That's the Australian way - people having their free and independent say - elected to Parliament on the basis of the common principles of the Labor Party but not dictated to in their vote because of the organisation of the factions. That is not the Australian way.
I'm not prepared to stand idly by and see our great nation's future wasted by an Abbott-led Government. If things don't change on Monday, I'm convinced that will be a certainty.
So let me be clear, if we don't change, the Labor Party is going to end up in Opposition.

We will all end up on the backbench not just one and the Opposition backbench at that. That's the cold, hard, stark reality that we face. It's time for a reality check for everybody. This hasn't just happened in the last week, the last month, it's being going on for the last year.
Mr Abbott is a man who has proved that he has neither the temperament nor the vision nor the experience to hold the high office of Prime Minister of Australia. He is a man with both feet firmly planted in the past. His view on the National Broadband Network is from the 1990s and by his own admission he believes the NBN is just a new way of sending emails and downloading movies more quickly. That's what Mr Abbott, not only thinks, that's what he said.
His view of the climate change is not from the 1990s it's from the 1960s where he simply denies that climate change is a problem. In fact he says, to quote his immortal phrase, it's absolute crap.
And then there's his attitude to women which doesn't go back to 1960s it goes back to 1950s. We have a man whose feet are firmly planted in the past.

The only idea Mr Abbott had about the future of the health system was to cut $1 billion from the health budget. And his only idea in foreign policy that I have read is his outdated notion of an Anglo-sphere.
He is not, as they say in The Castle, exactly an ideas man. That's Mr Abbott. No, Mr Abbott is not the answer.

He is philosophically opposed to using government to build a nation.

His values are always cast in negative terms and his positions on so many matters before the nation are just plain extreme, from his attitude to women as well as his attitude to climate change.

Australia can do better than Mr Abbott. Australia will turn its back on the Liberal Party's defeatist depiction of our future provided Labor in government presents a vision and a path that leads towards prosperity, growth, full and fair employment and strong environmental policies.
Beating Mr Abbott is vital and beating Mr Abbott is achievable.  He's entirely beatable.

One final reason - I have never met a more negative man in Australian politics as Mr Abbott. 

If I went through all of his Liberal predecessors right back through Liberal Party history this is the single most negative force in Australian politics that we have ever seen, and also a person whose views lie right at the extreme.

He is the single most Conservative leader that the Liberal Party have ever had.

The importance therefore of beating him is paramount, for so much of what we've achieved is at risk and so much of what we need to achieve for the future is at risk as well.
I believe that Labor in Government must renew our commitment to the values which have been our light on the hill now for more than a century. As we face the possibility of a second global financial crisis we need to send a message to Australians that we have a government that can protect jobs including those in manufacturing.  We need to let Australians know that we haven't forgotten what we stand for and who we stand up for.
We need to rediscover and promote those policies which are unmistakably, unambiguously Labor.

Great Labor Governments have introduced universal health care; they've made tertiary education available to everybody regardless of their means or their station.

My commitment to the Australian people is that I'll provide the balance that only a Labor Government can provide.

A Labor Government with Labor values doesn't need a Green Party to tell it how to protect the environment. A good Labor Government provides the proper balance between protecting the environment and protecting jobs.
We can offer growth, the Greens cannot. We can offer a fair workplace where employees are respected and paid properly, the Coalition cannot.
If we respect and reflect the hopes and aspirations of the Australian people wherever they live, wherever they work, they will reward us with their trust.
Next Monday will be a tough ballot, a tough contest, really tough when you're up against the combined forces of the combined factions of the Labor Party, and theirs can be a pretty ruthless operation.
Many of you have asked this morning what I would do if I did not succeed on Monday - I would go to the back bench and would not challenge Julia a second time.

I would continue to work for my community as the Federal Member for Griffith, work for that community into the future, a community that I deeply love.

I thank you.

QUESTION:       Mr Rudd how many confirmed backers do you have on your count?

KEVIN RUDD:     Well, you know something, I'm not going to get into numbers, you wouldn't expect me to, people don't do that sort of thing because I have many supporters in the Cabinet, many supporters in the parliamentary party, and guess what, while I'm here, they're working on that and I'm glad they are.

QUESTION:       Mr Rudd you said before that you wanted to get back to do the job that the Australian people elected you for. You believe that Julia Gillard cannot win.

Is Julia Gillard's problem legitimacy? Does she not have legitimacy in the eyes of the electorate?

And secondly, if you were Prime Minister again would you proceed with the current timing of the introduction of the carbon tax?

KEVIN RUDD:     Two questions in one - well done, Matthew.

On the first, on the question of legitimacy. I think, as I said this morning, trust is fundamental in politics. Questions of trust arose at the time of the coup in June of 2010; questions of trust arose on other policy commitments that were made prior to the last election; and other questions of trust and confidence have arisen since then.

And, as I said, in politics trust is everything, and I think that is underpinning fundamentally our political and policy challenges today.

The second point, to answer the question that's been put to me, is on the question of action on climate change.  You know, Matthew I've always supported a price on carbon. My position has never changed. I support a price on carbon and I'd be working for the earliest possible transition to an emissions trading scheme and a floating price.

QUESTION:       Was it Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan that convinced you to shelve the ETS or the CPRS in the first place? And you talk about trust as being the most important thing in politics…

KEVIN RUDD:     This sounds like two questions.

QUESTION:       …could Julia Gillard trust you as Foreign Minister, and can you say hand on heart that you haven't been backgrounding against her in the last six months?

KEVIN RUDD:     Well on the first part of your question, which I got lost in the second, what was the first part?

QUESTION:       The first part. Did Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan convince you to shelve the CPRS?

KEVIN RUDD:     Yes. But I accept full responsibility for the decision.

They took a view, very bluntly and very directly, that we should not proceed with the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, and furthermore, in the case of Julia, that we should instead adopt what is called - or what she called a bipartisan solution. What was that? That the Labor Party should not put a price on carbon until Mr Abbott changed his position and returned to the Liberal Party's previous position. That's the unvarnished record of what occurred.

On the question of trust can I just say a few things about trust in politics. You know, a lot of trust was extended prior to the events of June 2010.

On the question of discussions with journalists can I just say this; you all know, each and every one of you here, that every member of parliament and cabinet minister talks to you on a regular or irregular basis, you know that - and so I'm no different, but on the key question of support for the Government and support for the Prime Minister, I have maintained that throughout.

Next question. I think was over here. Yeah.

QUESTION:       Mr Rudd there are many criticisms of your time as Prime Minister and not all of them are from people that are in the Labor Party.

John Mendoza, who was the chairman of the National Advisory Council on Mental Health, says your style was erratic, unpredictable and chaotic when you were Prime Minister. You say you've changed, but how can everybody be sure that you have?

KEVIN RUDD:     Well on that particular question I think my dealings with that individual were not extensive at all, he primarily dealt with the Health Minister. So I'll just leave that - no, hang on, I'm going to answer your question in the broadest terms if you would allow me to.

And that is, take for a simple example the question of one of my greatest detractors these days, Simon Crean. What did Simon Crean say immediately after the change in leadership in 2010? He said Kevin Rudd was a great chair of cabinet, he said he listened to people, he took their positions into account, then summed up and made decisions.

Now that's what Mr Crean said back then.

I simply draw your attention to what various others of my Cabinet colleagues have said, including the Attorney General Robin McClelland as he was over the last two to three years, he was interviewed I believe on the 7.30 Report last night.

I refer to the example that I touched on this morning upon arrival here in Brisbane which is the response to the global financial crisis, a systematic careful response to one of the greatest challenges to this country's economic survival in its history. And we did it through Cabinet processes, we did it through Cabinet working groups which I chaired or ministers chaired on my behalf. We arrived at a solution which is now regarded by the IMF and by the World Bank and others as the copy book response to the global financial crisis. And you say that's a failure of management style - I somehow doubt that.

But I will just go on to talk about other things like the National Broadband Network. For three months we internally within the Government, through the Cabinet committee processes worked our way through that in a very far reaching way, and we had submission after submission after submission on how this should be approached before a final position was taken. This is a systematic way of doing things.
I think what it's important to do is to look back and not simply, not simply have a view that the post facto recollections of some are necessarily the norm. I'm the first - I'm about to go to another question because you've had a couple of goes already, mate - I'm the first to admit that I wasn't some perfect creation of public administration. But guess what, I don't think that would be the reflection of any Australian Prime Minister in their first term if we have a proper perspective on history.
Mate over the back.

QUESTION:       Mr Rudd the Prime Minister has released journalists of off the record confidentiality restrictions in relation to their discussions with her, and urges any journalist to come forward who has evidence of her either undermining or plotting against you. Will you do the same?

KEVIN RUDD:     Can I say that my attitude to the ethics of journalists is that they should answer to their own - well first of all I haven't seen her statement to that effect so I'm always cautious about anyone's paraphrase. And the second is journalists should adhere to their own code of conduct which you as a profession repeatedly say to me you are fundamentally about upholding rather than being in it and out of it at your selective convenience.

Over to you.

QUESTION:       If you win who will you name as your deputy? And if you lose what number of caucus votes would you consider as a victory in defeat?

KEVIN RUDD:     On the first question that would be entirely a matter for the parliamentary party.

QUESTION:       So you can't name a running candidate?

KEVIN RUDD:     Can I say that would be entirely a matter for the parliamentary party, because the parliamentary party normally under these processes would then ask for nominations for that position.

I would be supportive of the outcome of the parliamentary party in such a ballot. And in terms of minimum or maximum outcomes, in terms of a vote next Monday, mate, I've never been in that business in the past and I don't intend to get into it now.

QUESTION:       You said this morning, though…

KEVIN RUDD:     Over here.

QUESTION:       Mr Rudd if you lose on Monday, how will you channel your passion for policy from the backbench?

KEVIN RUDD:     Well, there's a great tradition in politics in many countries for this being done.

If you look at the older history of this country, and various individuals who have served as Prime Minister, in one position or another they have continued to contribute in the public policy debate. Similarly in the United Kingdom they've done the same as well. From the backbench or other positions on the front bench, over time.

I'm quite relaxed about that. What are my passions? Australia's future in the world, and how we carve out a future for a country such as ours in a very uncertain environment - plenty of opportunities to shape the national debate on that.
I'd also say I'm pretty passionate about my local community. My local community is something which means a lot to me. It's where we have all had our being, and it's our place that we call home and we intend to stay there. Now, I just want to get other folk who haven't had a go.


QUESTION:       I have a quick double banger. If you…

KEVIN RUDD:     Why not just continue the pattern?

QUESTION:       If you go to the backbench, would you rule out being drafted at some future date as opposed to challenging?

KEVIN RUDD:     I will go back to exactly what I said before. I think it's very clear cut what I've said. I don't propose to add to it. I'll come back to you in a second, Michael.

QUESTION:       You've already said you're committed to an emissions trading scheme as quickly as possible. Does that mean you'd consider actually shortening the period of a fixed price if you win the ballot on Monday?

KEVIN RUDD:     I said I'm committed to an emissions trading scheme and the transition to it as rapidly as possible. I think that it's important to look carefully at how the implementation of the current tax goes in its first six months. Michael you had the second part, and then here.

QUESTION:       Just are there any policy differences, in particular on gay marriage or asylum seekers? Would you take a different approach to the Prime Minister?

KEVIN RUDD:     Well on the question of asylum seekers, let me just say this - I think one of the current gaps in the way in which we approach the thing is the adequacy of the national security resources that we dedicate to this.

It's been a longstanding debate in the general community. I believe we can do a lot, lot more. That's my position.

I also have always had a view that something called the East Timor solution wouldn't work, and can I say those sorts of things tend to be looked through very carefully before you simply take a walk on the policy wild side, and find that other governments may not necessarily concur. I think you sir had the last question.

QUESTION:       Thank you sir. Can I just take you back to Laura's question?

KEVIN RUDD:     Which is Laura's? Okay.

QUESTION:       Can you categorically deny that in the last sitting week of parliament, you did not personally brief senior Press Gallery reporters that you were planning to launch a challenge against Ms Gillard, lose, go to the backbench, and seek a second challenge?

KEVIN RUDD:     My discussions with journalists remain confidential, but can I say my position with all those journalists has been one that I have supported the leadership of the current Prime Minister.

And furthermore, in terms of the events that we're just in the middle of right now, this decision of mine a day or two ago was taken that evening in Washington on the basis of the Prime Minister failing to back me in, following the sustained criticisms of Minister Crean.
If you think that was anticipatable back in the last sitting week of the parliament, then you've got better forward vision than I have. Can I just say I've played this as it's come, and I would say to you, and to anyone else that it's very easy to establish a frame whereby all of the government's problems are the result of one person called K. Rudd.

Can I just respond to this? It wasn't K. Rudd who made a pre-election commitment on a carbon tax.

It wasn't K. Rudd who made a particular commitment to Mr Wilkie on the question of poker machines.

It wasn't K. Rudd who had anything to do with the East Timor solution of the Malaysia solution.

These were initiatives and decisions taken uniquely by the Prime Minister.

And I'm a bit tired and fed up of this general frame which says that if the government has a problem, and Prime Minister Gillard's leadership has a problem, ipso facto it's because of me. It is simply unsustainable.
Let me give you one concrete example.

You may remember that last year, I had a bit of heart surgery. I was out of action for two months. Have a close look at how the government went over that period of two months where I was nowhere to be seen or heard, or whether in fact I'd necessarily be coming back to politics.

Can I just say that your overall frame on this needs to be examined carefully.

The government's problems, as they've accumulated over time, have been of its own making.

If I didn't exist, people would have cast around for an alternative leader of the Australian Labor Party because of where we've got to in historically low polling numbers, not for one month, but for 12 months.
Let's be very clear.

When the leadership decision was taken in June of 2010 on my own leadership, now I think I'd been below the 50 per cent mark once. I got down to 49 per cent.

In the last 12 months, my recollection is, I don't think the current government has got, in terms of Prime Minister Gillard's support ratings, anything approaching that number of 49 per cent.

So I'd simply ask you to put into context, wider context, who is responsible for the government's current poor standing? This general frame which a number of you seem to have accepted given the nature of your questions, that all this exists because of one K. Rudd, needs to be fundamentally re-examined against the decisions which were taken, in my absence often, and then announced and implemented, often without my knowledge, in the case of various decisions like the Malaysia solution for example, and then off they went only to discover they didn't work.

So the thesis that the government's problems exist because of one K. Rudd, is simply unsustainable, and I think it's time there was reflection on that, and I've got to zip.