Nicola Roxon
Nicola Roxon

Nicola lets fly at 'bastard' boss Kevin Rudd

SHE was a powerful player in the former Labor Government, but in the aftermath of the ALP's decimation at the polls, ex-Attorney General Nicola Roxon tore into the man many blamed for its defeat.

Giving the John Button Memorial Lecture overnight, the retired MP described former Labor Leader and current backbencher Kevin Rudd as "a bastard" who deserved the "political bastardry" that resulted in him being dumped from the top job and replaced by his then-deputy Julia Gillard.

In the speech, titled "Ten housekeeping tips for a future Labor government", Ms Roxon said the Labor Party had little hope of rejuvenation while Mr Rudd remained on the back bench.

"I believe we must confront the bitter truth that as long as Kevin remains in Parliament, irrespective of how he behaves, pollsters will run comparisons with him and any other leader," she said.

"In my opinion, and it is only my opinion, for the good of the federal parliamentary Labor Party and the movement as a whole, Kevin Rudd should leave the Parliament."

In March, Ms Roxon stepped down from her position as Attorney-General, announcing she would leave Parliament at the election so she could "swap the cabinet table for the kitchen table" after 15 years as a sitting member.


  • "Removing Kevin was an act of political bastardry, for sure. But this act of political bastardry was made possible only because Kevin had been such a bastard himself to so many people."
  • "We didn't explain the dysfunctional decision-making and lack of strategy ... We didn't talk about his rudeness, or contempt for staff and disrespect for public servants."
  • "Even though the reasons were there to justify our action, I don't think we handled it properly at the time, and Labor has paid a very high price for this mishandling ever since."
  • "We left everyone looking for other answers and by doing this we did a great disservice to both Kevin and Julia.  On its own it would've cast a long shadow over the next three years in government, and with active fanning by Kevin and his supporters, it proved impossible to recover."


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