In a dramatic turn of events, Kevin Rudd said he will not challenge Prime Minister Julia Gillard for the leadership and Gillard and Wayne Swan have been elected unopposed as leader and deputy leader of the Labor party.
Rudd’s statement came after Labor frontbencher and former leader Simon Crean pulled the trigger on the Labor leadership crisis today calling for Gillard to spill all leadership positions and backing Kevin Rudd with himself as deputy leader.
Gillard sacked Crean from all ministerial responsibilities and declared: “There will be a ballot for the leadership and deputy leadership of the party at 4.30pm. Until then take your best shot.”
However, Rudd surprised the country by saying the only circumstances under which he’d consider a return to leadership would be if there was an overwhelming majority of the party.
“When I said I would not challenge for the Labor leadership I believed in honouring my word.”
Rudd said he would only stand if the position was vacant.
“Therefore in the absence of anything Simon Crean had to say this morning I will be adhering to my statement,” he said.
“I am not prepared to dishonour the word I gave solemnly.”
“I suggest to all and sundry across the party that we ensure Tony Abbott does not walk into the Lodge.”
Gillard and Swan were elected unopposed by the party, putting an end to the leadership speculation for the time being.