Sydney: Leadership tensions within
Australia`s ruling Labor party erupted on Sunday with the release
of a video showing ex-prime minister Kevin Rudd on an
expletive-ridden rant about a Chinese interpreter.
The two-minute video, uploaded onto YouTube by a user
calling themselves "HappyVegemiteKR", shows an irate Rudd
trying to record a message in Mandarin and railing against the
"dickhead in the embassy" who wrote the text.
"This f****g language, he just complicates it so much.
How can anyone do this?" Rudd, a former diplomat who speaks
Mandarin, shouts as he slams his fist on the table in front of
Rudd was ousted as leader in a shock party coup in June
2010 by his deputy, Julia Gillard, who scraped back into power
at elections and is now badly lagging in the polls.
Speculation has intensified in recent weeks that Rudd,
currently Australia`s foreign minister, is preparing to
challenge for the top job.
He denied this but said a suspicious person would
question the "unusual" timing of the video`s release, given
that it was shot several years ago when he was still prime
Such out-takes footage is usually destroyed but Rudd said
the video in question had clearly been archived by the prime
minister`s office or some other government department.
Gillard`s office denied leaking the footage.
Rudd also insisted that he was a changed man and had
learned to be less controlling and to consult more broadly --
two key criticisms that saw him lose office.
"As to whether (I have) changed in any fundamental way,
that`s a judgement for others to make, but I`ve certainly
reflected a lot in the past several years," Rudd told Sky
He said he was "embarrassed" by the swearing and he had
been frustrated with himself, not the interpreter.
Independent lawmaker Andrew Wilkie fuelled speculation of
a challenge to Gillard, claiming that he and Rudd discussed
the issue back in November and he "clearly wants the job
"There will be a challenge and I suspect he may well be
successful," said Wilkie.
Gillard admitted that the leadership tensions were
hurting her government.
"This kind of focus over the last few weeks means it`s
more difficult for me to be out there explaining to people
what`s happening in our economy," Gillard said.
She deflected questions about her leadership and said it
was an "incredible privilege" to lead the country.