SORRY, KEV: Malcolm Turnbull will not support Rudd's bid to become UN secretary-general

Malcolm Turnbull. Photo: Stefan Postles/ Getty Images.

Malcolm Turnbull has decided not to back former prime minister Kevin Rudd’s bid to become the United Nations secretary-general.

The PM confirmed the government will not back Rudd’s candidacy for the top job when current secretary-general Ban Ki-moon of South Korea steps down after a decade on January 1, 2017.

Turnbull said he concluded that Rudd was “not suited” to the position. He denied that it was a partisan decision.

“Do we believe, do I as prime minister believe, that Mr Rudd is well suited for that role?” Turnbull said. “My considered judgement is that he is not. Not everyone is well suited for every role.”

The PM said it was “no disparagement of Mr Rudd”.

“This has nothing to do with his party. Absolutely nothing,” Turnbull said.

The decision was left to the newly elected prime minister by his cabinet following an extensive debate on Thursday, in which key conservatives such as treasurer Scott Morrison and immigration minister, Peter Dutton, spoke against backing Rudd, who had the support of foreign minister Julie Bishop and attorney-general George Brandis.

Dutton said on radio yesterday that no one he’d spoken to thought “it is a good idea for Mr Rudd to become the UN secretary-general”.

Others, such as former PM Tony Abbott, are backing former New Zealand PM Helen Clark, who has been campaigning for the role since April and already has the NZ government’s support.

Turnbull’s decision is being seen as the first big test of his authority after narrowly winning the last election, with many within his own party vehemently opposed to backing a former Labor leader.

The PM said government will consider what position it will take in terms of other candidates

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