Australian Prime Minister denies striking a deal with predecessor

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia, and Julia Gillard, current Prime Minister, at a press conference.

In the wake of a special caucus vote that removed former Prime Minister of Australia Kevin Rudd and instated Julia Gillard as the new Prime Minister, claims have arisen regarding a deal made between the two in the Prime Minister's official residency, Kirribilli House, that allegedly occurred the night before the special caucus vote and Gillard's apparent breaking of the agreement.

During the question portion of Gillard's recent address to The National Press Club, veteran journalist Laurie Oakes asked if a deal had been made between Rudd and Gillard during the negotiations in the PM suite prior to the announcement of the leadership spill.

"Can I ask you is it true that Mr Rudd told you that night that he was working towards an October election," asked Oakes.

"Is it true that Mr Rudd indicated to you that if closer to the election polling showed that he as an impediment to the reelection of the government and that if that leading Labor figures ... agreed he would voluntarily stand aside."

Claims were further made that Rudd then contacted his supporters to inform them of what he thought was a deal, while Gillard did the same. However, in that time Gillard learned that she had gained the numbers in the caucus to challenge Rudd, and proceeded to tell him that she would indeed be challenging his position.

Gillard refused to answer to the claims stating out of respect she would not speak publicly about the events of that night.

"It's not my intention to canvass any of the matters that were discussed in that room." She went on to say, "I intend to respect that confidence for the rest of my life."

If the claims were to be true, the only other notable time where an event such as this occurred was in 1989 where former Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, promised to stand down for former Prime Minister Paul Keating for the 1990 election. This never happened and a similar caucus vote took place.

A spokesperson for Kevin Rudd, said he had no comment to make regarding the claims.