politics

Kevin Rudd: Malcolm Turnbull rules out nominating former PM for UN secretary-general job.

By political reporter Stephanie Anderson

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has confirmed he will not be nominating Kevin Rudd to be the next secretary-general of the United Nations.

Speaking in Sydney today, Mr Turnbull said he had decided the former prime minister was not suitable for the role.

He said the Federal Government would not be nominating anyone for the role.

“When the Australian Government nominates a person for a job, particularly an international job like this, the threshold question is, ‘do we believe the person, the nominee, the would-be nominee is well suited for that position?'” he asked.

“My judgement is that Mr Rudd is not, and I’ve explained to him the reasons why.”

Mr Turnbull refused to be drawn on the reasons why he though Mr Rudd was unsuitable for the role, or on whether his decision was about satisfying certain members of his party.

He said this decision was “far from the most important issue confronting the Government”.

Yesterday Mr Turnbull said he would make a decision on the issue after Cabinet failed to reach a clear decision.

Labor politicians have responded to the news, with frontbencher Anthony Albanese tweeting “Turnbull. Pathetic”.

Terri Butler, who replaced Mr Rudd as the MP for Griffith, also tweeted that “it seems Malcolm Turnbull has zero authority in his own Cabinet”, following earlier comments by Acting Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek.

Ms Plibersek said a lack of support would show that Mr Turnbull was being held “captive to the right wing” of the Coalition.

“There is no question that it is in our national interest to have an Australian in this vital role,” she said.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop pushed Mr Rudd’s case during yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, with support from Attorney-General George Brandis.

Mr Rudd had previously received vocal support from former Liberal leader Brendan Nelson, though South Australian Liberal senator Cory Bernardi had urged his colleagues not to endorse a “dysfunctional”, “vengeful”, “unstable”, “megalomaniac” like Mr Rudd.

There are already 12 nominees for the position, including former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark.

Ms Clark has received support from the New Zealand Government, whose Prime Minister John Key has lobbied on her behalf and provided funding for her campaign.

Former Croatian minister of foreign and European affairs Vasna Pusic, UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova, and Argentine Foreign Affairs Minister and former chief of staff to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Susana Malcorra, are also among the nominees.

This post originally appeared on ABC News

© 2016 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. Read the ABC Disclaimer here.

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