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Rudd veto petty and vindictive: Evans

AAP logoAAP 2/08/2016

Former Labor foreign minister Gareth Evans says the government's refusal to nominate Kevin Rudd for the position of UN secretary general will be viewed around the world as petty, partisan and vindictive.

Mr Evans, now chancellor of the Australian National University, said it was wrong to stop a prominent Australian from seeking a position for which he was regarded internationally as manifestly qualified.

He said Mr Rudd's temperament and management style had been an issue in domestic politics but it was hardly unusual for political leaders to be seen by colleagues and opponents as falling short of sainthood.

As well, he was at best a long shot candidate, being neither Eastern European nor female, both seen as an advantage this time round.

Mr Evans said the government didn't have to campaign actively for him, just not stand in his way.

"It will be embarrassing internationally as well as seen as petty, partisan and vindictive by most governments around the world, regardless of whether they would be inclined to support Rudd," he said on the Australian Strategic Policy Institute blog.

Mr Evans said until now, Australian politics had upheld a long and civilised tradition of support across party lines for credible candidates for international positions, he said.

"What makes the abandonment of this tradition in the Rudd case not only indecent but politically wrong-headed is that Turnbull's government has just been elected with at best a one-vote majority in the House of Representatives," he said.

Mr Evans said the decision defied the government's need for a more bipartisan spirit to get its legislation through parliament.

The government will need every vote it can get and in a number of cases will have to rely on Labor support.

"But the Rudd decision has left a very bad taste in Labor mouths and in those of some other independents as well," he said.

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