Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has accused Labor of being ‘‘at war with itself’’ following fresh claims today that a forthcoming book, detailing the events around Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s 2010 coup against former prime minister Kevin Rudd, will reignite Labor’s leadership tensions.
‘‘What the Labor Party has got to do is resolve its leadership tensions quickly. It cannot go on at war with itself, a house divided cannot stand,’’ he said today.
Speaking at a ceremony in western Sydney commemorating the 15th anniversary of the Lung Po Shan Chinese Memorial Gardens, Mr Abbott said, ‘‘Every day that the Labor Party is fighting internally is a day when it is not focused on the real problems that Australians face.’’
A book by the former journalist and former federal Labor MP Maxine McKew, who took the seat of then-Prime Minister John Howard at the 2007 federal election, is due out on November 1.
Mr Rudd and Mr Abbott both addressed the Chinese community function at Minchinbury today, Mr Rudd wowing his largely Chinese audience by delivering his speech in both Mandarin and English. He was mobbed by Chinese well-wishers after his speech.
Responding to Mr Abbott, Mr Rudd said he had ‘‘no comment’’ on the claim that Labor was at war with itself.
He said Mr Abbott was merely seeking to divert attention from his own failure to state a detailed vision for the country. Asked again today if he would rule out a challenge against Ms Gillard, Mr Rudd said he had nothing to add to his statements in February.
Asked also if he had ‘‘ghostwritten’’ Ms McKew’s forthcoming book, Tales from the Political Trenches, Mr Rudd responded with: ‘‘For anyone to accuse a prominent journalist such as Ms McKew of not being able to write her own book, is verging on sexism.’’
Mr Rudd lost a leadership challenge against Ms Gillard in February this year. After announcing the challenge, Mr Rudd said he “would not challenge Julia a second time’’ if he lost.