Rudd resigns

February 22nd, 2012 at 8:05 pm by David Farrar

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.

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32 Responses to “Rudd resigns”

  1. metcalph (1,430 comments) says:

    It will be interesting to hear Rudd’s thoughts about Andrew Wilkie MP.

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  2. Cactus Kate (551 comments) says:

    It’s the equivalent of quitting on a business trip.
    In the private sector you’d be lucky to work again.
    Let alone be considered for promotion.

    Gillard should meet him at the airport, call a presser and boot his sorry arse.

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  3. Johnboy (16,529 comments) says:

    Fast forward 4 months:

    “Cunliffe resigns”

    “There is one over-riding question for my caucus colleagues and that is who is best placed to defeat John Key at the next election,” Mr Cunliffe.

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  4. metcalph (1,430 comments) says:

    After all, Wilke spilt the beans by going on record that Rudd had been seeking his old job back since November.

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  5. reid (16,447 comments) says:

    It’s the equivalent of quitting on a business trip.

    Politics isn’t business Cactus. The two arenas have no comparison. Different rules apply. The “employer” is the people, not the party.

    I don’t follow Aus politics, but seriously, could Rudd be worse than Gillard?

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  6. metcalph (1,430 comments) says:

    I don’t follow Aus politics, but seriously, could Rudd be worse than Gillard?

    Yes.

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  7. kowtow (8,466 comments) says:

    Rudd ,Gillard and their faceless backers.

    A bunch of vain,power mad leftists out to destroy Australia. Bring on Tony Abbott and a bit of sanity.

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  8. Keeping Stock (10,339 comments) says:

    Sounds as though the excrement is about to hit the air conditioner…

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  9. wat dabney (3,756 comments) says:

    Reminds me of the first minute of…

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  10. Cactus Kate (551 comments) says:

    The “people” last chose Gillard.
    Rudd is representing Australia and has put his personal ambition ahead of completing his business trip. And it is a business trip.
    Anyway fight away, couldn’t have happened to a nicer Party

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  11. davidp (3,581 comments) says:

    Australia’s worst ever PM and second worst ever PM fighting it out. I can’t wait to find out who wins.

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  12. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    A bunch of vain,power mad leftists out to destroy Australia. Bring on Tony Abbott and a bit of sanity.

    You’re taking the piss right? While Abbott is preferable to Rudd or Gillard by a country mile, the last thing you could describe Abbott as is sane!

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  13. Bogusnews (474 comments) says:

    Yep. Hope it all continues to implode over there. Would make life interesting though.

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  14. IHStewart (388 comments) says:

    He is toast. I would expect his popularity with the public will plummet on this announcement.

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  15. IHStewart (388 comments) says:

    @ Ried

    ” Politics isn’t business Cactus.”

    Politics is business at an international level if you are the foreign Minister.

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  16. Viking2 (11,470 comments) says:

    One notices that he didn’t have the guts to resign completely and stand again in his electorate.

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  17. Joel Rowan (99 comments) says:

    The people scarcely chose Gillard – they gave her the same number of seats as Abbott – The Greens, Wilkie & co. chose Gillard.

    As I keep saying, it’s not a matter of if Tony Abbott will move in to The Lodge, but a matter of when. Will it be before the 2013 election, I don’t know. At this rate, Labor’s position may well become untenable very shortly. If JG wants to stay in power till 2013, this whole thing needs to be resolved now. The last thing she needs is a by-election if someone decides to quit parliament over it, and she can’t afford to lose the independents’ support.

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  18. @BoJangles (6 comments) says:

    Rudd’s ego is about to be fatally punctured by Gillard and the ‘faceless men” of the ALP followed by the annihilation of his sweetheart ‘Anna of Qld’ and her Gov’t in March election. Should then herald a federal election and national wipeout of ALP

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  19. RandySavage (222 comments) says:

    Gillard is twice the man Rudd is

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  20. tas (625 comments) says:

    My three guesses as to Rudd’s motives:
    (i) Rudd jumped before he was pushed to save face.
    (ii) Rudd desperately wants to get back to Canberra to orchestrate his coup.
    (iii) Rudd is throwing down the gauntlet in the grandest manner possible while trying to hold the high ground.

    Interestingly he is quoted as saying “I promise you this – there is no way, no way, that I will ever be part of a stealth attack on a sitting prime minister elected by the people”. Does that mean he won’t challenge? Or does that mean he just won’t do it stealthily?

    So is this a surrender or a battle cry?

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  21. redeye (629 comments) says:

    What if he resigns totally from parliament ?

    Griffith would be a sitting duck for the coalition.

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  22. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    1. Rudd won’t resign from parliament, even he’s not that crazy
    2. He did this because if he didn’t he was screwed. Gillard was going to sack him and challenge him to put up or shut up. That makes her look like she’s driving the agenda. By him resigning and forcing things, he’s in the driving seat again
    3. With Gillard calling a vote for next week, he had to come home. She deliberately did it when he was off striding the world stage. He had to come back, resigning made it look more like an act of principle, rather than trying to keep the foreign affairs role but still come home

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  23. Fletch (6,387 comments) says:

    Andrew Bolt, in his column, says that Rudd’s quitting is a “masterstroke”. He may be right.

    NOT one person predicted Kevin Rudd would resign as Foreign Minister. That’s how brilliant the move was.

    Until that second, Prime Minister Julia Gillard seemed to have outmanoeuvred him, and was certain to humiliate him in the party room next week.

    But now he’s warned that it’s game on. He’s painted himself as the plucky choice of the voters, fighting the “faceless men”.

    He’s the little guy who was done wrong by silent assassins, party bosses and union heavies and the woman they installed. He won’t launch a “stealth attack” on Gillard, he declared, as she did to him.

    He’d fight out in the open, the old hypocrite declared.

    And Rudd has challenged the frightened MPs, already looking at polls putting Labor catastrophically behind, do you feel lucky with Gillard, punks?

    Or as he put it yesterday, the question now facing his colleagues was: “Who is best placed to defeat Tony Abbott at the next election?”

    No contest, of course. When was the last time Gillard was mobbed by crowds as Rudd is every week?

    And on Monday, maybe Tuesday, Rudd will have a huge ace to play when the fortnightly Newspoll comes out to remind Labor that the person killing its vote is not Rudd, but Gillard.

    Rudd will have one further undeclared threat to sharpen MPs’ minds. Reject him roundly now, and he could quit Parliament. End of Government.

    Brilliant work. Turned the contest on a dime.

    MORE – http://bit.ly/wRPlDO

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  24. Manolo (13,767 comments) says:

    Tony Abbott will be the next Prime Minister of Australia.

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  25. boredboy (250 comments) says:

    Tony Abbott won’t be the next Prime Minister of Australia. The Coalition will give him one go at it (which he will fail at) and drop him for Malcolm Turnbull.

    Abbott is too much of a wrecker to be considered as a prime minister when it comes down to the wire. All we ever hear about is his negative criticism of the economy and of the Government. He has nicknames from the right-wing-dominated media as ‘Mr No’ and ‘The Noalition’. This is from the right wing media. But he doesn’t have any policy or even any philosophy other than to ah, ah, ah stop the boats.

    It is quite possible that all this negativity of his is wrecking the Australian economy. Treasury head had to come out last week with a statement talking about how the economy is actually pretty strong and is only going to get better. This is in the face of falling consumer confidence following Tony Abbott’s scaremongering. He wouldn’t have had to do this if Tony Abbott hadn’t scared everyone into thinking they’re all going down the gurgler.

    This man is so bad that he can wreck the economy without even being in power. Imagine how bad it would be if he was prime minister?!!?!!?

    So no, when it comes down to the wire, people won’t vote for him. Like I said, he will be given one shot (due to a pretty thin performance thus far) then the reins will be handed over to moderate Malcolm Turnbull, from whom Abbott took the leadership by one vote in 2010.

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  26. tvb (4,421 comments) says:

    Tony Abbott will be the next PM of Australia unless the Liberal Party makes a change which is highly unlikely. He is the most effective Opposition Leader there has been in Australia. He has the ALP utterly mesmerized. They are obsessed with him making their hatred of him highly personal. Rudd does have the nuclear option of him and one or two others resigning from Parliament and that would destroy the Gillard Government. Simon Crean and others need to be very very careful here. Rudd especially, does have a life outside Parliament including being a very wealthy man.

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  27. Pete George (23,560 comments) says:

    I thought coups were usually launched by challengers when the incumbent was out of the country. Playing his hand from the other side of the world is odd. MAybe he is chucking his hand in and wanted to be as far from the media as possible.

    Either way it looks selfish and totally inconsiderate of his position in Washington.

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  28. Manolo (13,767 comments) says:

    Turnbull is a vain peacock, closer to comrade Gillard and Australian Labor than the Liberal Party.

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  29. redeye (629 comments) says:

    1. Rudd won’t resign from parliament, even he’s not that crazy

    You honestly think he’ll be happy little backbencher in a Gillard led government? He doesn’t need the money.

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  30. Zapper (1,021 comments) says:

    Abbott was elected leader in 2009 and already had one shot, in which he brought back the Coalition from the disaster of 2007 to a tie. My hope is Gillard wins the caucus vote, Rudd and friends quit and it’s general election time.

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  31. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    Pete – you’re right. And that’s why Gillard forced his hand whilst he was on a trade mission – her plan was to have a vote next week, Rudd’s out of the country on work, then she sacks him after the vote. So his job was in the way of him having a shot at the vote. Logically enough, he resigned, and came home to fight in person. It’s actually a logical move, no idea why Gillard didn’t see it coming. I think Rudd’s just smarter than her.

    Nothing amuses me more than Labour party politicians squabbling. Neither of them is fit to run the country, but it’s surely good theatre.

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  32. KevinH (1,227 comments) says:

    Whatever the outcome of Monday’s leaders vote in Canberra the outcome will remain the same for Labor, a lose ,lose situation.
    Rudd is cynically and selfishly forcing the issue, not dissimilar to Labours woes here leading up to our general election, and in doing so is handicapping Labor’s chance of building support going into the 2013 election.
    Gillard was supremely confident in her announcement of the leaderrs vote to the extent that she proposed a post leaders election scenario of the loser heading to the backbenches and staying quiet. Rudd did not respond to that which indicates that he is not contemplating that scenario.
    Aussie commentators are writing Rudd off, apparently he is despised by his fellow Labor colleagues as being an arrogant “prick”, but has a lot of support from the public in Queensland.
    The only winner in this squabble is of course Tony Abbott who must be rejoicing at the self destruction of Labor.

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