Rudd sympathises with former Vic premier Ted Baillieu

Kevin Rudd.
Kevin Rudd. Blainey Woodham

KEVIN Rudd knows better than most how former Victorian premier Ted Baillieu is feeling right now.

Mr Rudd, who was dumped as Labor Party leader just two-and-a-half years into his prime ministership, was in Melbourne on Thursday to speak at a population conference.

He opened his speech, which came less than 24 hours after Mr Baillieu bowed to mounting pressure and resigned, with some words of support for the former premier.

While their departures from their respective leadership roles were different, Mr Rudd said he felt empathy for Mr Baillieu, who had been in the job a little more than two years.

"It's never dull here in the politics of the people's republic of Victoria," Mr Rudd said.

"At a personal level ... could I say politics is a very difficult life and to Ted Baillieu and his family our best thoughts and wishes go through him to what is just a difficult day in one's life."

Later on Thursday new Victorian Premier Denis Napthine denied Mr Baillieu had been knifed by his own party, but had instead stepped down of his own accord.

Mr Baillieu's grip on the leadership had become increasingly flimsy, with his resignation coming on the same day Geoff Shaw quit the Liberal Party.

The week had also been dominated by stories regarding the Office of Police Integrity's probe into the resignation of former police commissioner Simon Overland.

Dr Napthine said he had not asked his "great friend" to step down, instead pledging his support for Mr Baillieu to remain in the job.

And he denied being tapped by party powerbrokers to stand for the leadership.

"I made the decision when it became absolutely clear that Ted Baillieu was stepping aside as leader of the Liberal Party and as premier," Dr Napthine said.

That decision was made mid-afternoon, he said.

Dr Napthine would not be drawn on whether Mr Baillieu's leadership had been become untenable.

"Ted Baillieu ... made his own decision to step down as leader of the Liberal Party," Dr Napthine said.

"Ted is a great friend, a great colleague and I have absolute affection for Ted Baillieu.

"Ted Baillieu is absolutely a giant among those who have served this state."

He denied he had entered discussions with Mr Shaw to return to the Liberal Party.

Topics:  kevin rudd liberal politics

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Be the first to see controversial animated children's film

FURRY FRIENDS: Mopsy (Elizabeth Debicki), Flopsy (Margot Robbie), Benjamin, Bea (Rose Byrne), Peter Rabbit (James Corden) and Cottontail (Daisy Ridley) in Columbia Pictures' PETER RABBIT.

Advanced screening of Peter Rabbit in Lismore this weekend

Rosanna has designs on female taboo

Artist Rosanna Pimm uses 3500 porcelain tampons to created her large scale performance installation  Riots of Passage in The Quad  as part of The Lismore Women's Festival on International Women's Day. Laying down and de-constructing the mandala structure symbolises the impermanence of the menstrual cycle and an end to female inequality in the world.

Rosanna has designs on female taboo

Another win for city's calender

NO PROBLEM: Eat The Street.

Another win for city's calender

Local Partners