Kevin Rudd, Malcolm Turnbull on ALP, Coalition: ‘We Could Never Agree on the Leadership’
By Erik Pineda | November 20, 2012 1:19 PM EST
Former party leaders Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull have insisted that current leadership set ups both in Labor and Liberal-National Coalition are not issues with them, seemingly contented at the moment to abide by the prevailing caucus flow.
Appearing jointly in an ABC show Monday night, the two deferred to party chiefs, Prime Minister Julia Gillard for Labor and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott for the Coalition, running the show at the moment but offered some suggestions on how the nation's governance can be improved.
Both agreed that while Labor and Liberal are in good hands, more works require closer attention, especially in the matters affecting industrial relations and workplace issues.
Mr Rudd said he is happy with the way Ms Gillard is taking on her job, specifically with the prime minister's new tactic of forcefully dealing with Mr Abbott.
He approved too of Labor's relentless efforts to implement federal tax reforms but lamented at the same time that his version of mining tax didn't see fruition, which by the way was the same program that triggered his ouster.
Those things are behind him now, the former prime minister stressed, attempting too to dispel speculations that he remains interested in regaining the top Labor post he lost to Ms Gillard in 2010.
Mr Rudd pointed to the last Labor leadership spill in February this year, in which he was overwhelmingly defeated by his former deputy "by votes of two-to-one."
The story was different for Mr Turnbull though. He lost his job of headlining the opposition by a single vote in 2009 but insisted his loyalty and commitment lie not with his own person but with the Liberal Party.
"I'm committed to the Liberal Party ... We don't always agree but we are a strong, grass roots political party," the former opposition leader told ABC.
"We will do great things if we are fortunate enough to be returned to government," he added.
The two men, painted by national opinion polls as the preferred leaders for Labor and the Coalition, also addressed the possibility of setting up a new party that they can both lead.
The very idea sounds like a mess, Mr Rudd offered, half-jokingly explaining that "Malcolm and I could never agree on the leadership."
Mr Turnbull, for his part, said he's very much aware that he would not be a Liberal prime minister or a leader outside of the party despite "thousands and thousands of people propose that I should set up a new political party."
"(But) I will be part of (Mr Abbott's) team, influential, at the cabinet table," the popular Liberal figure was quoted by The Herald Sun as saying.
Brushing aside questions on his political aspirations, Mr Turnbull turned the discussion back to Mr Rudd, wondering out aloud that "it remains a case of complete bafflement to me why the Labor Party doesn't put Kevin back."
Together, the two men remain in the top preference of Australian voters, with recent national surveys suggesting that their return to leadership could propel their respective parties to dramatic win.
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