Former prime minister Kevin Rudd says he offered to stand aside for Julia Gillard to become the national leader at the end of 2010 before she accepted and then rejected the plan just minutes later.
According to The Australian, Rudd spoke on the record about a meeting inside the prime minister's Parliament House office on what was to be a fateful night of June 23, 2010.
“We had a discussion about her concerns about the government’s direction — a large part of which was news to me,” Rudd said in comments that are included in political commentator Troy Bramston's Rudd, Gillard and Beyond.
“I put to her the simple proposition that if by the time the election was due at the end of the year the government was not in a winning position then of course I would not wish to remain as leader.”
Rudd believes Gillard "agreed with that approach", which was discussed in the presence of Labor elder John Faulkner. Gillard then momentarily left the office to take a phone call and later returned to announce she had decided to challenge his position as leader of the Labor party.
“Both Faulkner and I were stunned by the about-face,” Rudd said.
“I said: ‘So you have just reneged on an agreement with me in front of a witness given only 10 minutes ago?’ To which she said, ‘Yes’. At which point I concluded the meeting.”
Yesterday, it was revealed that an email between the former prime ministers, just two days before Gillard challenged the then Prime Minister, included a warning to Rudd that the Labor Party was seen as "incompetent and out of control".