JULIA Gillard’s supporters within Labor have accused Kevin Rudd and his allies of trying to undermine the Prime Minister just as she begins a recovery in the polls.
The warning came after former finance minister Lindsay Tanner broke his two-year silence on his party’s decision to dump Mr Rudd, describing it as an “extreme over-reaction” that Labor powerbrokers now regretted.
Mr Tanner, who resigned the day Ms Gillard toppled Mr Rudd, made the comments in interviews to promote his new book about the Labor Party.
The former MP also took a swipe at Gillard supporters’ attacks on Mr Rudd after his leadership challenge this year, saying these were “exaggerated” and had done more damage to Labor.
“It is impossible to attack the Rudd government without undermining the Gillard Government,” he said.
“The sad thing about all this is that Labor is trashing its own great achievement. In spite of everything that has since happened, we should be very proud of our government’s handling of the 2008-2009 crisis.”
Ministers who supported Ms Gillard in this year’s challenge yesterday publicly hit back at Mr Tanner.
“He’s making comments about something that happened over two years ago,” Simon Crean said. “I think certainly the party’s moved on, I think Mr Tanner should too.”
Treasurer Wayne Swan, who made some of the most searing attacks on Mr Rudd in February, said he did not resile from them.
Mr Rudd did not make any comment about the controversy yesterday. However, the former prime minister raised eyebrows among his colleagues by his recent return to the public spotlight.