Saffin signals support for Rudd
KEVIN Rudd has yet to officially challenge for the Labor leadership, but the gloves are of and the punches are flying.
Speaking in Washington shortly before Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced her intention to call a leadership ballot at 10am on Monday, Mr Rudd effectively called on members of the public to lobby their MPs and media outlets to back him for the leadership.
"When this comes to a head it really does need to be recognised that the future government of Australia is not about the power of factions, it's about people's power, and the people of Australia have a view on the future leadership of their country," Mr Rudd said.
"I would urge each and every one of them to make that view known across the country - pick up the phone, talk to MPs, talk to your media outlets, express your view.
"Ours is a democracy, in the open spaces, not behind closed doors and not governed by faceless men."
Ms Gillard called on Mr Rudd to promise to retire to the backbench and renounce any claim on the leadership, saying she would do the same "in the unlikely event" Caucus gave Mr Rudd his job back.
Ms Gillard said the government led by Mr Rudd before had entered "a period of paralysis" before she challenged him in 2010 and that she had gone to "extraordinary lengths ... to try and get the government functioning" before deciding to challenge for the leadership.
Ms Gillard also appeared to blame Mr Rudd putting Labor into a minority government, saying the party had been in a "winning position" during the 2010 election campaign before the "sabotage" of a series of leaks to Channel 9 journalist Laurie Oaks, blamed by many in Labor on Mr Rudd.
Meanwhile, Page MP Janelle Saffin told ABC radio this morning people in her electorate wanted Mr Rudd back as Prime Minister.
Ms Saffin said voters chose Mr Rudd as Prime Minister in 2007. They believed his axing was wrong and Labor had been ''paying the price ever since''.