Kevin Rudd will lead Labor to the federal election after PM Julia Gillard lost a leadership ballot, one of her key backers switched camps and six ministers resigned.
A 57-45 caucus vote in favour of the former prime minister was the third time the Labor leadership had been tested, since Gillard ousted Rudd to become Australia's first female leader in 2010.
PM Rudd could face his first parliamentary test as early as tomorrow, if the opposition moves a motion of 'no confidence' in the minority government on the final sitting days of parliament. However Opposition Leader Tony Abbott talked down that prospect, saying Mr Rudd should instead name an election date as quickly as possible:
"It's up to the prime minister to demonstrate that he has sufficient support to confirm and maintain a government, and tell us when the election will be." Rudd could call an election for 24 August, instead of the September 14 poll decided by Ms Gillard.
Rudd says he's resuming the prime ministership with a sense of "energy and purpose". He'd previously stated that under no circumstances would he return to the leadership. The Liberal Party immediately launched a new ad campaign quoting Mr Rudd's "broken" promise not to contest the leadership.
Rudd: "I will leave it to you, the Australian people, to judge if I have made the right call."