Insisting he was “more disappointed than angry”, Kevin Rudd has spoken exclusively to The (un)Australian about Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s decision not to support his run for United Nations secretary general, insisting the Prime Minister risked “robbing the world of the greatest UN secretary general it might now never have.”
Mr Rudd said: “As I immediately told Mr Turnbull via text after his disastrous decision not to support my candidature, I believe he has let me down, he has let himself down, but most important of all, Mr Turnbull has let the world down.”
Explaining he was “naturally upset” that Mr Turnbull would break a “personal promise” to support him, Mr Rudd said he “distinctly recalled asking Malcolm to his face if he would back the best-ever candidate for UN secretary-general and he assured me that he would.”
Mr Turnbull, however, hit back at Mr Rudd’s claims he had broken a promise to the former prime minister, telling The (un)Australian: “I promised to support the best-ever candidate for the position and I will do so, should I ever find myself in a position to run.”
But Mr Rudd was not impressed. “It’s no small thing when the prime minister of Australia stands up and says that the nation’s greatest and most successful prime minister in its history is unsuitable to be considered as a candidate for UN secretary-general,” he continued. “I think, though, in the counsels of the world, that will reflect poorly on him.”
Mr Rudd added that, “Obviously I respect the right of the prime minister to make this decision, but I also believe I have not just the right, but the duty to say this is the single worst decision any prime minister of Australia has ever made, and bear in mind we had three years of Julia Gillard.
“Let me just say that if, while I was prime minister, and remember I twice served this nation in that role, I would never had turned down the opportunity to spruik on the world stage for the best candidate for UN secretary-general this country could possibly put forward.
“Had such a candidate appeared and said ‘I am here to help’, I would have given that candidate a fair shake of the sauce bottle. I would not have not have jeopardised the very future of the world for the sake of petty politics.”
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