Image © 2012 AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
Kevin Rudd has talked up his record as prime minister - and his agenda should he be returned to the top job - before catching a plane home from the US to a leadership vote.
Mr Rudd fronted the media in Washington DC hours after he quit as foreign minister.
He told reporters he had been encouraged by the support of federal Labor members and ministers to contest the leadership of the Labor party, but stopped short of confirming a challenge.
He said that would have to wait until he returned to Brisbane but refused to speculate whether he had the numbers to topple Julia Gillard as prime minister.
About an hour later, Ms Julia Gillard held a press conference in Adelaide to announce a leadership ballot for 10am (AEDT) on Monday.
"I will declare my position on the future of the ALP leadership on my return to Australia," Mr Rudd said.
But in a clear pitch to caucus members, he cited his record as prime minister before he was rolled by Ms Gillard in June 2010.
"Remember it's through that period of government when I had the privilege of being prime minister that singly Australia got through the global financial crisis without going into recession and without generating mass unemployment," he said.
Mr Rudd said he did not believe Ms Gillard could lead Labor to success in the next election.
"That is a deep belief and I believe also a view shared right across the Australian community," he said.
He ended the press conference with his trademark words "I've gotta zip", before heading to airport and home.
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