Aus govt deserts Rudd on UN bid

Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (Reuters)
Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (Reuters)

The Australian government has turned its back on former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, choosing not to endorse him for UN Secretary-General.

Mr Rudd put in his late bid for the top job of the United Nations against 12 others including former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark.

Any nominee needs the backing of a country to put their name forward, but Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was forced to make a 'captain's call' after his cabinet failed to come to a consensus on the decision.

Several MP's vented their dismay at supporting Rudd's bid.

Veteran Liberal Eric Abetz hoped the Turnbull cabinet would not back Mr Rudd, citing past assessments of the former Australian Prime Minister as a "narcissist, a micro-manager, an impulsive control freak and a psychopath".

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop conceded Mr Rudd was qualified for the job, but stopped short of endorsing him.

A recent poll found 45 percent of Australians supported Kiwi Helen Clark taking on the top UN job, while only 21 percent supported Mr Rudd and a third claimed they didn't care.

Even Prime Minister John Key believed a "hell of a lot" of Australian would back Ms Clark over Mr Rudd.

"If it's a drag race between Kevin Rudd and Helen Clark, New Zealanders and I reckon a hell of a lot of Australians know who the best candidate is," he told Paul Henry on Monday.

A number of public debates have already been held with the candidates, with Mr Rudd not taking part in any.

In a straw poll of Security Council members last week, Ms Clark was in the middle of the pack, with the frontrunners reported to be Antonio Guterres of Portugal and Bulgaria's Irina Bokova.

The 15-member Security Council ultimately selects a candidate to recommend to the General Assembly. It's generally considered eastern Europe's turn to have someone in charge, but Ms Clark has pointed out in the past her part of the world, like eastern Europe, also hasn't ever supplied a Secretary-General.