20 Feb 2012

Gillard indicates leadership test not in plans

5:38 pm on 20 February 2012

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has indicated she is not planning to take action against Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, or to call a leadership vote.

Canberra is rife with speculation that Ms Gillard is about to be challenged by Mr Rudd, the man she ousted from the leadership 18 months ago.

A former Australian Labor Party leader, Simon Crean, who is a senior cabinet minister, has told Mr Rudd to "put up or shut up", calling him "internally disloyal".

He says Julia Gillard should tell Mr Rudd he had broken the terms of the agreement reached with her before the last election.

But Ms Gillard has given no indication she will accept that advice, or test her numbers with a vote.

"I'm getting on with my job, Kevin Rudd's getting on with his. I'm doing that with the strong support of my caucus colleagues," she said.

Crean calls for Rudd to go

Mr Crean told the ABC that Mr Rudd was clearly "not playing as part of the team."

"If he can't be part of the team, he should exit the team.

"Kevin hasn't got the numbers to challenge. He's well short of anywhere near a majority. He can't win."

Supporters on both sides have told the ABC the crisis could be resolved early next week.

The Labor caucus is due to meet on Tuesday 28 February unless a special meeting is called to put the party leadership, and therefore the prime ministership, to a vote.