What the Bishop said to the Rudd
FORMER prime minister Kevin Rudd says Australia has been nationally embarrassed and has become a joke around the world for being the "coup capital", as he urged the Liberal Party to make it tougher to topple leaders.
Recently deposed Coalition leaders Julie Bishop and Barnaby Joyce joined a range of Labor politicians in Canberra today at the launch of volume two of Mr Rudd's three-part autobiography.
Mr Rudd said the Liberal Party had become infected with the disease of coup culture and factional infighting that had led to a revolving door of prime ministers.
"To be honest, it's nationally embarrassing," he said.
"I've recently been in seminars and large conferences in New York where this has become the standard public joke about who the prime minister of Australia is this week.
"In the work I now do for the Asia Society in New York I travel a lot around the world.
"The question I know get asked most, whether it's in London, whether it's in Washington, whether it's in New York, whether it's in Delhi or whether it's in Tokyo... which is what is happening in politics in this country.
"The impact on our national and international branding has been huge.
"Brand Australia has been badly hit in Asia, in Europe and America by what's happened in Australian politics."
He said the ease with which leaders could be knifed "with a knock on the door at five minutes to midnight" was one of the biggest factors.
Mr Rudd said the "Rudd rule" he introduced to the Labor Party, requiring over half the Caucus and half the membership vote to change leaders, had created stability in Labor for five years.
He said the Liberals needed to create "one giant speed bump" designed to prevent midnight coups, before inviting Ms Bishop to take the initiative.
"You could go into the next Liberal party room and they could call it the Bishop rule," Mr Rudd said.
But it earned a short rebuke from Ms Bishop.
"You're not helping, Kevin," she said.
Also in attendance at the launch were Mr Rudd's wife Therese Rein, as well as MPs and senators including Anthony Albanese, Terri Butler, Mike Kelly, Steve Georganas, Doug Cameron, Richard Marles, Andrew Giles and Stephen Jones.