Rudd says that while he is not Captain Perfect, neither is he the Son of Satan.
SYDNEY: Former Australian leader Kevin Rudd Friday admitted he was not "Captain Perfect", but said nor was he "the son of Satan" as portrayed in venomous personal attacks by his Labour Party colleagues.
Rudd, often seen hobnobbing with world leaders, has been lashed by a wave of unstinting criticism since his sudden resignation as foreign minister in Washington on Wednesday.
They include allegations that his office was chaotic, his decision-making dysfunctional and he behaved badly towards officials.
The fresh-faced, potty-mouthed Rudd, who will Monday challenge Prime Minister Julia Gillard for her job, urged Australians not to believe the attacks which have come from a string of senior ministers.
He said they suggested "Kevin Rudd is the anti-christ incorporated, and if not the son of Satan, at least the grandson of Satan".
"Just have a little pause for thought. I may not quite be like that, there might be a vested interest at play in putting those views forward," he said jokingly.
"I'm not saying... that I'm Captain Perfect," Rudd said, but added it was in the interests of others to demonise him after he was so suddenly deposed as prime minister.
Rudd said the faceless men of the ruling Labour Party used shock and awe tactics to launch personal attacks against him, in the same way in which they ousted him in a sudden June 2010 Labor Party coup which installed Gillard.
"Be very careful of the spin machine of the faceless men in basically a systematic campaign of character assassination in order to justify actions already taken," he added.
The attacks began as soon as Rudd had resigned, with Treasurer Wayne Swan leading the charge by issuing an extraordinary media release in which he accused Rudd of undermining the government at every turn.
"He was the party's biggest beneficiary then its biggest critic, but never a loyal or selfless example of its values and objectives," Swan said.
In announcing her decision to call a leadership ballot on Monday, Gillard said Rudd, as leader, had very difficult and very chaotic work patterns.
"The government that Kevin Rudd had led had entered a period of paralysis," she said.
The opposition has seized on Labour's infighting, with Treasury spokesman Joe Hockey describing the attacks on Rudd as vicious, malevolent and an absolute disgrace.
"The way the Labour Party has attacked its own former prime minister is the worst political expediency I have seen in 16 years in Australian politics," he said.
"The attacks on Kevin Rudd have been vicious and malevolent. I have never seen anything like it."
But Labour has continued to unleash its fury on the man who led them out of the political wilderness to electoral victory for the first time in more than a decade in 2007 and who still remains popular among the public.
Rudd's resignation as foreign minister has opened the floodgates on why his Labour colleagues ousted him as prime minister less than two years ago, and they believe the public needs to know why.
Attorney-General Nicola Roxon, who was Health Minister under Rudd, said she could not work with him at that level again.
"We need to get out of this idea that Kevin is a messiah who will deliver an election back to us. That is just, I think, fanciful," she told ABC TV.
"He was very difficult to work with. There were a lot of challenges."