Kevin Rudd wants Australians to know why Labor dumped him and brought him back.
If that means a few current Labor MPs have to take a hit in his new book, so be it.
“There’s no such thing as the perfect time to do this. It’s not an election year,” Mr Rudd told AAP ahead of the launch of the book.
The PM Years (Macmillan) details the record of achievement under the Rudd and Gillard governments, as well as revealing details about the two leadership coups.
Mr Rudd said it was “more than timely” given the spread of the coup culture to the coalition government.
“There will be one narrative of events, which have been written extensively over the last four or five years by my detractors,” Mr Rudd said.
“This is a different narrative. Even former prime ministers have a right of reply, I think.”
So, current Labor MPs Wayne Swan and Jim Chalmers get a kicking. Bill Shorten’s role in bringing down two prime ministers is given plenty of time too.
Mr Rudd said a culture of Young Labor and Young Liberal party members who knock off the person in front of them has infected the major parties.
He also attacked factional bosses and fortnightly opinion polls for driving pressure on parties to change leaders.
He believes his change to the Labor party rules to stop coups has given Mr Shorten five years of stability while the coalition has had three prime ministers.
“The conservatives need to do as we have done. They need to do so, not only in their own interest, but in the national interest,” he said.
“We’ve now changed the rule, it’s entrenched. It would be a very, very brave leader or caucus that would seek to change that rule now.”
Malcolm Turnbull labelled Tony Abbott and Mr Rudd “miserable ghosts” for staying in parliament after they had been dumped, but the ex-Labor leader said he stayed for an important job.
“I had a productive, substantive role, which was a foreign minister of Australia,” Mr Rudd said.
“Abbott has none, that’s the point.”
He said Mr Abbott had been the “single most destructive wrecking ball” in 10 years of Australian politics, in part because he didn’t campaign on positive issues.
“I can tell you 30 things he campaigned against,” Mr Rudd said.
“This guy is the living embodiment of destructive negativity, off the Richter scale against anyone else in Australian politics in modern political history.
“Evidenced by the fact that we can remember always what Abbott’s against, never what Abbott’s for.”
Mr Rudd was voted out in 2013 when Australians punished Labor for instability, and he sees the same fate for the coalition.
“The palpable rage I sense in the Australian community, having just come from Queensland, towards what the Liberals have done with their third prime minister in five years, is there,” he said.
Tertia pars sequetur
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