Former Labor leader mark Latham has called ex-PM Kevin Rudd ‘unmanly’ and ‘like a snake’ for leaking a damaging story about his successor Julia Gillard.
Mark Latham also said Ms Gillard would have been better off giving Mr Rudd the foreign affairs portfolio to prevent him from being a loose cannon in Brisbane.
Ms Gillard lost traction in the election campaign after Nine Network journalist Laurie Oakes revealed that she questioned the wisdom of parental leave and a pension increase.
While Mr Rudd subsequently released a statement denying he was the source of the leak, Mr Latham is still convinced that he backgrounded Mr Oakes.
“It’s the coward’s way to get on the blower with Laurie Oakes and say, `I’ll tell you this but you’re not allowed to identify me’,” Mr Latham told Sky News.
“It’s the snake’s way.
“So I challenge Kevin Rudd to be a man, to be honest, to have some honour and actually, if he feels this strongly about it, put his name to his words.
“I think it’s unmanly and beneath a decent Aussie bloke to act this way, let alone an ex prime minister.”
In his book The Latham Diaries, Mr Latham said Mr Rudd was a serial leaker.
He repeated that assertion.
“You don’t have to have a wire tap on the conversation between Kevin Rudd and Laurie Oakes to know it was Kevin Rudd,” Mr Latham said.
“It too, is one of the laws of nature, that Kevin is a serial leaker, this is what he does and the Labor Party is having to live with the consequences.”
Mr Latham said Ms Gillard could have avoided political difficulties if she had given Mr Rudd the foreign ministry after she took the top job on June 24.
“They should have made him the minister for foreign affairs or the minister for defence over in Afghanistan … you’re looking at a much better option than having him there as the loose cannon on the southside of Brisbane,” he said.
“I think he was insulted and probably felt very insulted when having lost the prime ministership, and wanting to go on the frontbench and be a minister, he wasn’t accommodated.”