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.