Julia Gillard cried when she found out Kevin Rudd viewed her as disloyal, former PM tells Ray Martin

Julia Gillard says she went out of her way to prop up Kevin Rudd when he was prime minister. Photo: Channel Nine Julia Gillard speaks to Ray Martin on Tuesday night. Photo: Channel Nine

A screen grab of former Prime Minister Julia Gillard being interviewed by Ray Martin, Tuesday, September 23, 2014. Photo credit Channel Nine

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Julia Gillard was so upset at being viewed as disloyal by Kevin Rudd that she broke down in tears on the day she challenged him for the leadership.

Ms Gillard stood behind her decision to challenge Mr Rudd – and her later decision to form a minority government with The Greens – in an interview with Ray Martin on Channel Nine.

On the morning of Ms Gillard’s leadership challenge in June 2010, Fairfax Media published a report saying Mr Rudd had dispatched his chief of staff to test his caucus support, because he did not believe his deputy’s public assurances that she was not interested in the leadership.

This upset Ms Gillard, who said she and other senior ministers had worked hard to shield the public from Mr Rudd’s flaws as leader.

“I’d felt like I’d done everything I possibly could to help and support and prop Kevin up and there had already, in the days before, been some signs that you know now I was being viewed with suspicion, and just I cried because I felt it was just so unfair,” she said.

But Ms Gillard admitted she felt “self-recrimination” about a conversation she had with Mr Rudd and NSW Labor elder John Faulkner. While Ms Gillard denies offering Mr Rudd extra time as leader, she says she “fed” his hope by talking to him for too long.

“[I]f anything, the accusations against me in politics and [that] you … still read in the newspapers – you know, the women who wielded the knife – if anything, the reputation I have from that night is one of political brutality.

“Actually in the moment I was hesitant, a conversation went too long, I certainly fed hope. I shouldn’t have done that. I, you know, really do here and more extensively in the book talk about my sense of self-recrimination over that.”

Ms Gillard says she expected Mr Rudd to feel “shock” and “grief” about losing the leadership but did not expect him to retain leadership ambitions.

“I thought it was likely that he would, or at least possible that he would, walk away,” she said.

Ms Gillard said she had “no choice” but to offer Mr Rudd the job of foreign minister after the 2010 election, because he would otherwise have leaked against the government.

As Prime Minister, Ms Gillard said she faced a “cocktail” of internal destabilisation and public criticism – some of which was related to the fact she was an unmarried woman.

Ms Gillard defended her decision to attack then opposition leader Tony Abbott as a misogynist in a famous speech to Parliament.

“I know the dictionary has been moving these definitions on;  the traditional definition is obviously hatred of women,” she said. “I guess I’ve expanded that to conduct that shows a hatred of women enjoying true equal opportunities, trying to confine them  to more traditional roles or lesser roles by word or deed.”

Ms Gillard said her decision to form a minority government with the Greens and independents was not dissimilar to the situation the Abbott  government faces today in the Senate.

“One could say: is Mr Abbott Clive Palmer’s slave today?” she said. “I mean it depends on how people want to argue it and put the politics but it’s certainly true, that on big questions where the major parties have divided, Mr Abbott can’t do anything unless Clive Palmer says yes.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.