He said he would talk with family and political colleagues in coming days with a view to launching a leadership challenge against the Prime Minister.
In a dramatic press conference called for 1.20am local time in Washington DC, Mr Rudd said he could no longer be part of the “soap opera” surrounding the prime ministership.
He said Ms Gillard’s failure to repudiate recent public attacks on him by frontbench colleagues, including Simon Crean, had left him feeling he could not represent Australia on the world stage.
“I can only serve as Foreign Minister if I have the confidence of Prime Minister Gillard and her senior ministers,” he said.
He said the only honourable course of action was to resign.
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