KEVIN Rudd has lamented the loss of talent since his aborted leadership bid yesterday, describing Chris Bowen as a future Prime Minister of Australia.

In a press conference in Brisbane just after 3.15pm, Mr Rudd said he had consulted with Ministers and Labor MPs extensively before deciding not to run against Julia Gillard.

He praised the Ministers who had resigned from their positions, saying they were great talent, which Australia desperately needed.

He went through each one of them, describing their qualities.

 "Chris Bowen ... I believe is one of our great hopes for the future. I see him as a future Prime Minister of Australia."

"These are very good people...''

But Mr Rudd said it was time for everyone in Labor to unite.

"It is time for us to confront a threat to Australia's future - Tony Abbott."

"For myself, the Prime Minister Julia Gillard has my 100 per cent support."

"There are no circumstances under which I will return to the leadership of the Australian Labor Party."

"Now for the future. It is time for the Australian Labor Party to unite under Julia Gillard.''

Mr Rudd said he would continue as a Labor MP for his Brisbane southside seat.

The former Prime Minister said he had been caught off guard by Simon Crean's push for a leadership ballot.

"Politics is a volatile business,'' he said.

Mr Rudd then again emphasised the need for an end to the division.

It is really important that we bind up the wounds.''

"What is done is done. Let's get on with the future.''

Kim Carr joins the list of Ministers to stand down

THE blood-letting from Labor's leadership showdown has continued, with Human Services Minister Kim Carr pulling the pin on his ministerial career.

Senator Carr, a long-time Kevin Rudd supporter, was the third minister to resign on Friday following Thursday's extraordinary events.

Speaking in Bangalow Prime Minister Julia Gillard indicated she would announce her reshuffle over the coming days.

The Prime Minister now faces the monumental task of replacing more than seven decades of political experience on her frontbench following the departures of Chris Bowen, Martin Ferguson and Simon Crean from the the Cabinet, and Richard Marles as a parliamentary secretary.

Senator Carr said the numbers in caucus ballot would have been "very close".

His decision to quit had not been made lightly.

"There has been no greater honour than to serve as a minister in a Labor government," Senator Carr said.

Senator Carr spoke about his "profound disappointment" at being dumped from the Cabinet by Ms Gillard in late 2011.

He said he chose not to resign at the time.

"However, given yesterday's events … the principled course of action to take was to offer the Prime Minister by resignation, which she accepted," he said.

Asked if Labor would be competitive under Ms Gillard, Senator Carr said: "It has to. The decision of the caucus is clear.

"It is my hope that Labor can restore itself."

But he believed a switch to Mr Rudd would have been Labor's best chance to put together a competitive team for the next election.

He made reference to the fact Labor has trailed in the past 27 Newspolls, quipping: "I think there's a trend emerging".

Senator Carr also praised Mr Crean for his decision to go public with his concerns.

"Simon Crean did a very courageous thing, but on one followed him," he said.

He said Mr Rudd had pulled the right rein in not standing for the leadership, saying a narrow loss would only added to the instability.

"So it was better for him not to run … in the interests of the Labor Party," he said.

Senator Carr  said he was proud of his ministerial achievements, describing them as "considerable".

He will remain in the Senate, with his term not expiring until 2016.
 

Martin Ferguson becomes the fourth frontbench casualty

KEVIN Rudd loyalist Martin Ferguson has become the fourth frontbench casualty of the Labor leadership crisis.

The Federal resources Minister's resignation in Canberra a short time ago follows the departures of parliamentary secretary Richard Marles, Tertiary Education Minister Chris Bowen and Regional Australia and Arts Minister Simon Crean, who was sacked after he tapped Prime Minister Julia Gillard to call a leadership spill on Thursday.

Other Rudd backers to quit their posts in the wake of Thursday's extraordinary events are chief government whip Joel Fitzgibbon, and government whips Janelle Saffin and Ed Husic.

Mr Ferguson, who has served on Labor's frontbench in opposition and government for almost two decades, said quitting was the "only honorable thing to do."

He confirmed he would have voted for Mr Rudd and Mr Crean had they nominated for Thursday's caucus ballot, describing the latter's actions on Thursday as "courageous".

The former union official said he hoped his resignation would give the government clean air in the run up to the September 14 election.

"The events of yesterday were not what I would have hoped for," Mr Ferguson said.

"I have done this to try and give this party a fresh start," he said.

The member for Batman said he would go to the backbench and intended to contest the next election.

"I wonder what I am going to do. I have never had spare time in my life," Mr Ferguson said.

There is speculation Cabinet ministers Mark Butler and Kim Carr are also preparing to fall on their swords.

Ms Gillard is yet to reveal when she will announce her frontbench reshuffle.

"No circumstances" under which Rudd will return to leadership

FORMER Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has absolutely ruled out ever challenging for the Labor leadership again after yesterday's failed caucus ballot.

Mr Rudd has put a statement up on his political website, telling the public and his caucus colleagues he has completely ruled out any future challenge.

The statement said he had consistently said he would not challenge Prime Minister Julia Gillard for the leadership over the past 12 months.

It said he wanted to make 100% clear, including to his own supporters, there were no circumstances under which he would return to the leadership.

Mr Rudd's statement comes after he refused to stand in the Labor caucus leadership ballot on Thursday, on the basis he did not have the numbers to succeed.

Rudd supporter Chris Bowen resigns from Cabinet

CHRIS Bowen has become the second Cabinet minister to resign after the second failed Labor leadership coup in little more than a year.

His resignation follows the sacking of Simon Crean and resignations of other key Kevin Rudd supporters Joel Fitzgibbon, Richard Marles, Ed Husic and Janelle Saffin from various parliamentary roles.

But the scalps may continue to fall, with expectations other Rudd supporters including Kim Carr may yet resign from the Cabinet.

Mr Bowen's resignation follows his demotion earlier this year from the more senior Cabinet role of Immigration Minister, as part of a ministerial reshuffle.

While Prime Minister Julia Gillard has not yet announced who will fill the vacancies, the changes demand another reshuffle as a matter of urgency.

Mr Bowen said he made the decision to resign last night after talking to his wife and close friends about his political future.

He said he told Ms Gillard this morning of his decision and she accepted the resignation, telling him it was the honourable thing to do.

The continued political fallout comes after the failed leadership ballot on Thursday, in which Mr Rudd refused to nominate on the basis there was not a clear majority willing to support him as leader.

Mr Bowen said while he had voted for Mr Rudd in the previous ballot last year, he would now support the decision of the caucus, and fall in with Ms Gillard's supporters.

He ruled out any further agitation for a leadership change when he returns to parliament as a backbencher.

The resignations come in an effort to preserve the Labor Party's fortunes six months out from the September 14 election.

After narrowly failing to get up a vote of no confidence in the government in parliament yesterday, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said he would move for a vote when parliament next sits.

Mr Abbott's pledge will come on a crucial day as the government prepares to unveil its latest budget when parliament resumes in five weeks.


The Kiss

The Kiss

Lionel's favourite photo

Travelling on a plane full of Michelin men

Travelling on a plane full of Michelin men

Airdre on the consequences of having more than 7 kilos of carry on

Education in the gallery is vital

Education in the gallery is vital

Our educational offering has grown exponentially

Local Partners