Kevin Rudd stands by the account he gave Maxine McKew for her book. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
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Kevin Rudd has called on Labor MPs associated with the June 2010 leadership change to be honest about what happened, as he stands by his own version of events, in which he argues he was stunned by the move to Julia Gillard.
With Parliament resuming today, debate over Mr Rudd's ousting from the top job has been stoked anew by the book Tales From the Political Trenches by former journalist and Labor MP Maxine McKew.
The book has dredged up events surrounding the leadership change in June 2010, and painted Prime Minister Julia Gillard as a treacherous deputy. It has also suggested Treasurer Wayne Swan was disloyal to Mr Rudd.
Both Ms Gillard and Mr Swan have brushed away the claims in the book but arriving at Canberra Airport this morning, Mr Rudd called on Labor players to be honest about what happened when he lost the top job.
He also stood by the version he gave Ms McKew, in which he says he was betrayed Ms Gillard and Mr Swan.
"I don't make statements lightly and this was a traumatic period for the country, for the Labor Party and for a whole bunch of people who are deeply associated with those events," he told Channel 9.
"It's important that everybody associated with those events, is just honest about what happened so that the party and the government can move on to the big policy challenges of the future."
The Member for Griffith said he had not yet read McKew's book, adding that if he had anything ''of substance'' to say, he would make a statement.
While there have been questions about how much involvement Mr Rudd had in the preparation of the book - including claims he was a ghostwriter - Mr Rudd said he had only given Ms McKew a single statement.
''Well Maxine posed questions to me as she posed to many, many people in the preparation of a book which I gather she's worked on for more than a year. I provided a single statement to her about my experiences at the time and they are there for all to see,'' he said.
Over the weekend, that written response was published in The Sunday Telegraph. In it, Mr Rudd contends he had no plans to be a long-serving prime minister and was going to hand the leadership to Ms Gillard.
Yesterday, Mr Rudd pulled out of an event with Sydney's Chinese community to avoid criticism of overshadowing Ms Gillard's launch of the Australia in the Asian Century white paper.
Mr Rudd had accepted an invitation to be guest speaker at the event at Darling Harbour, but withdrew when the Prime Minister announced last Tuesday that she would be launching the white paper on the Sunday.
A source close to Mr Rudd said he did not want to alienate colleagues.
Foreign Minister Bob Carr said the Australian people did not want to "analyse endlessly the events of a good two years ago".
"I think the country's moved on," he told Sky News.
"The country wants this government ... to talk about its future."
But Senator Carr said Mr Rudd should not "shut his mouth" and that he should talk about the "things that we find interesting", such as as Australia's foreign policy.
This comes as the latest Newspoll looks likely to dampen Labor leadership speculation, with the two party-preferred result at 50-50.
Today, Ms McKew said that the caucus should not move to reinstate Mr Rudd, pointing to questions about Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's leadership instead.
Despite her book suggesting that Mr Rudd was ousted from the prime ministership in an act of political bastardry, Ms McKew said the Labor leadership issue had been dealt with in his unsuccessful challenge earlier this year.
''That issue was settled in February,'' she told ABC Radio.
''Looking at the papers today, I would have thought that if there is any leadership speculation, it's going to be around Tony Abbott.''
Ms McKew said that Mr Abbott was ''now finally'' dragging down the Liberal Party's primary vote.
She said there would be some ''really interesting discussions in the party room this week''.
This afternoon, Mr Abbott said the Australian public were sick of the Labor leadership "soap opera''.
"Obviously the wounds run very, very deep inside the Labor Party as a result of the ruthless political assassination of a prime minister in his first term," he told reporters in Canberra today.
Mr Abbott said the only way Labor would be able to put the past behind them was if there was an election and a change of government