Footage from about 12 hours ago in which former prime minister and former foreign minister Kevin Rudd announced that he would challenge prime minister Julie Gillard. In so doing, Rudd gave quite a bit of a show as to how he would go after Liberal Party / Coalition leader Tony Abbott as a man of the past.
I’ll have a little more later on what to expect in Monday’s vote and what comes next for Rudd, Gillard, the Labor Party and Australia.
For now, the state of play is that around 60 MPs have announced for Gillard, about 30 have announced for Rudd, and the latest polls show that Rudd is now the favorite to take on Abbott in a general election.
It’s been an extraordinary day in Australian politics, where Julia Gillard has called a leadership vote for Monday in the latest showdown of a long-simmering feud with foreign minister and former prime minister Kevin Rudd that has undermined the Labor Party almost since it took over government in 2007.
Rudd, who’s been visiting Washington, DC, resigned as foreign minister today in a press conference outside of Washington’s Willard Hotel, announced he will return immediately to Australia, indicating that he would stand for the leadership against Gillard:
I do not believe that Prime Minister Gillard can lead the Australian Labor Party to success in the next election. That is a deep belief, I believe it’s a belief also shared right across the Australian community…. Their overall argument to me is that they regard me as the best prospect to lead the Australian Labor Party successfully to the next elections, to save the Australian Labor Party and those next elections and to save the country from the ravages of an Abbott government.
One commentator said earlier today that the feud has left them both “screwed” — Rudd unable to win the leadership and Gillard unable to win the next election.