At 1 am in in Washington DC, Australian Foreign Minister has resigned from the Cabinet after reports that Gillard was considering sacking him on Tuesday, to bring the leadership speculation to a halt. The SMH reports:
Kevin Rudd appears to have launched an audacious pitch for the Prime Ministership with a dramatic resignation from his foreign affairs portfolio in Washington.
In a press conference at 1am, United States time, Mr Rudd told reporters he did not have the confidence of Prime Minister Julia Gillard or his Cabinet colleagues. Mr Rudd said that made his position as Foreign Minister untenable.
“While I am sad to leave this office I am sadder still that it has come to this,” Mr Rudd said, ending his media conference without taking questions.
Mr Rudd’s decision is a dramatic escalation of Labor’s leadership stoush. In a pointed reference to his caucus colleagues, Mr Rudd said they needed to consider who was the best candidate to defeat Opposition leader Tony Abbott at the next federal election.
“There is one over-riding question for my caucus colleagues and that is who is best placed to defeat Tony Abbott at the next election,” Mr Rudd.
It sounds like Rudd does not have the numbers to beat Gillard, but he may put it to a vote on Tuesday. He is twice as popular as her with the public, but many of his colleagues would rather lose their seats than have him as leader again.