journalist Sarah Ferguson has revealed new claims that Kevin Rudd bullied staff during his time as opposition leader.
In Ferguson’s new documentary The Killing Season
– a narrative of the Rudd-Gillard years – Gillard has alleged that Rudd intimidated and bullied her when things did not go his way during a political tactics meeting.
Rudd has reportedly claimed that the allegations are “utterly, utterly false”
The documentary’s first episode is due to air on Tuesday, and will reportedly expose differences within the “Gang of Four”, which was made up of Rudd and Gillard, Treasurer Wayne Swan and Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner.
According to The Canberra Times
, Gillard alleged that Rudd’s behaviour towards her had been physically intimidating.
“[During one meeting] tactics hadn't gone his way, I'd taken a view about something else forming the issue of the day and after the tactics meeting broke up he very physically stepped into my space,” she said. “It was a bullying encounter; it was a menacing, angry performance.”
Rudd has since argued that Gillard’s allegations are untrue, claiming that he does not recall any heated exchanges with Gillard, stating instead that “what I wanted to happen longer term was for Julia to replace me as Australia's first female prime minister”.
According to Gillard, however, there had been growing concern about Rudd’s management style, which is referred to in the exposé as a “command and control” method.
Chris Evans, former immigration minister, also criticised Rudd’s management style, referencing a call he received from the PM’s chief of staff to inform him of a deal that had been made with the Indonesian president involving asylum seekers.
“That was done without consultation with the relevant ministers and certainly without the calling of a national security committee of cabinet meeting,” Evans said.
Rudd defended this by arguing that “it is difficult to sustain that a prime minister has to physically pick up a telephone to every senior bureaucrat and minister and say this is what is happening”.
In July 2013, Gillard’s government passed a bill that clamped down on bullying in Australian workplaces, allowing victims to gain orders from Fair Work Australia to prevent offenders from continuing to harass or intimidate.