Rudd accuses Gillard of coup betrayal

*South Australian Labor MP Nick Champion has quit as the secretary of the federal parliamentary Labor Party in protest at what he says are ''unacceptable'' tactics being deployed by cabinet ministers against Kevin Rudd.

*Mr Champion is the second South Australian MP, after Tony Zappia, to come out publicly in support for Mr Rudd.

Fairfax's latest count of Labor MPs and their voting intentions has the Prime Minister holding her ground, two to one against Mr Rudd.

It puts Ms Gillard at 68 votes, with three others leaning her way. Mr Rudd has 29 votes, with three others leaning his way, including South Australian Labor MP Nick Champion and leader of the house Anthony Albanese.

Kevin Rudd has accused Prime Minister Julia Gillard of betrayal on the night she replaced him in the top job, saying there had been a ''fair reinvention'' of history.

He said that Ms Gillard had not given him any warning of his impending job loss before June 23.

He said she had also promised to give him more time on the night of the "midnight coup" - before returning 10 minutes later to say "all bets are off" and that she was challenging.

The former foreign minister has has arrived back in Australia, but he will not make a definitive statement about whether he will contest Monday's ballot until later today.

In comments shortly after landing in Brisbane, Mr Rudd challenged Prime Minister Julia Gillard to guarantee that no Labor MP will lose their preselection as a result of their vote next week.


Prime Minister Julia Gillard has issued her first missive for the day from Adelaide. Ms Gillard told reporters that the leadership contest was a serious one.

"This is not an episode of Celebrity Big Brother, this is about who should be Prime Minister," she said.

Ms Gillard said that as Prime Minister, she got the "big reforms" done that had "languished" under Mr Rudd.

ALP member Brad Newman waits for Kevin Rudd to arrive at Brisbane Airport.

The Prime Minister will be in Melbourne later this morning, where she will visit Melbourne City Mission.


Mr Rudd called on the Australian public to mobilise and have their say on Labor's leader ahead of Monday's ballot.

He warned that Opposition Leader Tony Abbott had been on track to be Australia's next prime minister in a landslide for the past 12 months.

"It's important that we have some plain speaking about our country's future,'' he said.

Mr Rudd said the core question for the Labor caucus and the Australian people was whether Julia Gillard continued to have their trust.

He said without trust "you can't do anything".

Despite his comments about Ms Gillard and the Labor party - both this morning and since Wednesday night - Mr Rudd has declined to confirm that he is running for the Labor leadership on Monday.


During the press conference, Mr Rudd restated his policy aims in health and education reform and support for manufacturing, as he had discussed in Washington DC.

And he again alleged that Ms Gillard's hospital reforms did not go to cabinet.

But former health minister and now Attorney-General Nicola Roxon has told Sky News that is untrue. In response, Ms Roxon added that Mr Rudd would not allow a cabinet discussion about his planned health reforms in 2010.

"He wasn't prepared to take advice from people," she said, adding that he would not get proper legal advice or negotiate with the states.

Mr Rudd also said he wanted to see the Labor Party "as a party that responds to the Australian people".

Mr Rudd said that the Labor leadership question was ultimately about "people power".

"If you have a strong view on the future prime ministership of the country," he said, "your power as the people is what will count."

"This is your country, " Mr Rudd said, in a similar vein to recent comments by his wife Therese Rein and daughter Jessica Rudd.


He likened the events of the past couple of days to the 2010 "midnight coup" - in terms of Labor MPs criticism of him.

Mr Rudd said reports that the Prime Minister was threatening MPs with the loss of preselection if they sided with Mr Rudd were "unAustralian".

And he issued a direct challenge to the Prime Minister in response: "To provide a guarantee today that any sitting member of the parliament will be guaranteed of their preselection again," he said.

Yesterday, Ms Gillard used a similar tactic - by challenging Mr Rudd to give up his leadership fight if he doesn't win the caucus vote.

After listerning to Mr Rudd's press conference, Melbourne MP and Gillard supporter, Michael Danby said Mr Rudd was using "Tea Party tactics".

"He's not Joan of Arc," Mr Danby said.


The Rudd family has come together - quite literally - to help Mr Rudd contest the Labor leadership.

On the way to meet her husband at Brisbane airport earlier, Ms Rein, reported that she had heard that 85 per cent of people calling in to electorate offices supported Mr Rudd.

"This is, I think, a people's-led campaign," Ms Rein said.

Jessica Rudd is also returning to Australia from her base in Beijing to support her father.

Yesterday, evening she wrote a piece for website Mamamia calling on people to express their views and make it "our spill".

"I'm coming home to a political situation that most Australians think is a dog's breakfast. What's happening is ugly as. It's infuriating. Messy. I agree. It is and it needs to be sorted out," she said.

"Let's own this spill, people. Let's make it ours. Make your MPs work for you. Tell them what you want."


Earlier this morning, Mr Abbott said that the Coalition was ready to lead – in the event that the government collapsed on Monday.

But Mr Abbott said he would call an election straight away – adding that the opposition were more prepared to govern than they were in 2010.

"We are much readier now," he told Sky News.


Mr Rudd admitted this morning that he was not "Captain Perfect".

"I think we've all had a few flaws," he said.

But he cautioned people to be careful of the "spin machine of the faceless men".

Mr Rudd suggested that he could work with Mr Swan - despite his recent "colourful comments".

He said that you need a government of "all the talents".

But he added that he had been "pretty disappointed" by the level of Labor MPs negativity in recent days.

He ended with his usual finale "I've gotta zip".


A supporter greets Mr Rudd at the airport.

Mr Rudd has arrived back at his Brisbane home, where he says he will have a "cup of tea with Therese", call his colleagues and talk to his family.

He would only say that he will make his announcement "later today" and that it will be "absolutely clear" about his intentions.

"What I said from America, I meant. I need to talk to some colleagues first."

He also hinted at some jet lag. "Put yourself in my shoes, I've been on a plane for 24 hours," he said.

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