I won't stop campaigning, says Rudd
Kevin Rudd will not be winding back his frequent public appearances, saying he has a role to play in helping his Labor colleagues campaign to retain their seats.PT0M0S 620 349
Kevin Rudd will not be winding back his frequent public appearances, saying he has a role to play in helping his Labor colleagues campaign to retain their seats.
''I will continue doing what I do in response to the interests of local members,'' Mr Rudd told Fairfax Radio on Thursday morning.
Federal Labor MP Kevin Rudd in Melbourne at Fairfax's Media House for a 3AW interview. Photo: Penny Stephens
With a heavy recent schedule of media appearances around Australia, Mr Rudd has been accused of undermining Prime Minister Julia Gillard's authority and further damaging her chances for re-election.
Mr Rudd said if he worried about such criticisms he would never leave the house in the morning. He would continue making judgments about where his contributions would be helpful and proceed on that basis.
He said the reason that he was campaigning so vigorously was because the government had good messages to sell and his Labor colleagues were seeking his help. Mr Rudd said about 20 or 30 Labor members or candidates had invited him to campaign for them.
Asked whether he would allow himself to be drafted for his party's leadership, Mr Rudd said: ''I've said I won't challenge, I mean that, on the so-called draft that you've just referred to, I support the Prime Minister going through to the next election, all other members of the caucus support the Prime Minister going through to the next election, the issue of a draft doesn't arise.''
''The bottom line is this,'' Mr Rudd said, ''I will be doing my bit in the general media where appropriate . . . supporting local members and local candidates, selling the message of the government's achievements.''
Mr Rudd defended Ms Gillard's about-face on the carbon tax as a symptom of Labor's ''fickle partners'' in minority government - ''namely the Green Party''.
''They like to call themselves the Greens as if it's a social movement,'' Mr Rudd said.
''It's a political party which organises itself for political purposes. The same principled environmental party which voted twice against and supported the Liberals in refusing to pass an emissions trading scheme in the period I was Prime Minister. I think the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has had more than a few challenges on her hand in dealing with minority parties.''
Meanwhile, Ms Gillard told ABC radio on Thursday that she was not worried about the polls and still believed she could win September's election.
''The choice that matters is not the choice that you gabble down the phone to someone who rings up from a polling company,'' Ms Gillard said.
''The choice that matters is when you're standing in a polling booth with a ballot paper in front of you.''