Opposition leader Kevin Rudd has stared down Labor Party powerbrokers as he assembled his frontbench.

Crikey understands he delivered a very blunt message: “I will walk if you won’t toe the line”.

The ultimatum reflects tensions in the ALP. There were some unhappy campers amongst Labor MPs seeking refreshment down at Kingston last night after what has been an emotional week for the party. 

South Australian Senator Annette Hurley did not renominate, leaving some female Labor MPs angry.

There are now only seven women on Labor’s 32-strong frontbench – less than a quarter, but more than the government’s five.

And even Heavy Kevvy has been sapped by the week’s event. Last night he was due to attend the State Dinner in honour of the visiting President of the Republic of Korea Roh Moo-Hyun. Kelvin Thomson appeared in his place, saying Rudd was too busy assembling his new line-up.

Not so. Rudd was also down at Kingston, taking a break at Portia’s Place with his family.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey