Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Wayne Swan pulls no punches after Kevin Rudd quits as Foreign Minister

Wayne Swan has attacked Kevin Rudd as a Labor saboteur who never understood the  party after Mr Rudd dramatically quit his as foreign minister tonight ahead of a likely leadership challenge next week. 

Mr Rudd stood down from the ministry at a hastily arranged media conference in the United States tonight, just after 1am Washington time, citing attacks on him by Labor ministers and "faceless men", and Julia Gillard's failure to repudiate them. He said the party had turned into a soap opera, and caucus colleagues should ask themselves who was best placed to take on Tony Abbott.

In a statement released this evening, Ms Gillard said the Foreign Minister had not warned her of his plan to quit, nor raised his concerns about the direction of the Labor Party."I am disappointed that the concerns Mr Rudd has publicly expressed this evening were never personally raised with me, nor did he contact me to discuss his resignation prior to his decision," she said The Treasurer unleashed on the former prime minister, who was deposed by Julia Gillard in June 2010. He said the Labor Party had given Mr Rudd every opportunity, but he wasted them with his "dysfunctional decision making and his deeply demeaning attitude towards other people including our caucus colleagues".

Mr Swan said Mr Rudd had placed his own interests ahead of those of the broader labour movement "and that needs to stop". "The Labor Party is not about a person, it's about a purpose. That's something Prime Minister Gillard has always known in her heart but something Kevin Rudd has never understood," Mr Swan said. "He was the Party's biggest beneficiary then its biggest critic; but never a loyal or selfless example of its values and objectives. "For the interests of the labour movement and of working people, there is too much at stake in our economy and in the political debate for the interests of the labour movement and working people to be damaged by somebody who does not hold any Labor values"

Mr Swan said Ms Gillard had the "overwhelming support" of the caucus. "She has a consultative, respectful relationship with caucus while Kevin Rudd demeaned them," he said."She's cleaned up a lot of the mess he left her and has established a good, Labor agenda.She's delivering major reforms, and getting things done that her predecessor could not. Colleagues are sick of Kevin Rudd driving the vote down by sabotaging policy announcements and undermining our substantial economic successes."

According to Sky News, Ms Gillard will tomorrow make an announcement confirming a leadership ballot will take place in the party caucus on Monday morning.Mr Rudd made the dramatic announcement he was resigning as Foreign Minister at a media conference in Washington DC at 1.20am local time (5.20pm AEDT), after supporters of the Prime Minister said she was prepared to sack the Foreign Minister for disloyalty.

Mr Rudd said he would return to Brisbane on Friday and consult with his party and with his colleagues before making a full statement about his future by next Monday. He told caucus colleagues that the one overriding question they should ask themselves was, who was best placed to take on Tony Abbott.

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