Mr Rudd faced off against his old sparring partner Joe Hockey on Sunrise this morning after agreeing early last month to resume duties with the network.
It’s understood Mr Hockey knew Mr Rudd was returning to the show before Mr Burke’s office was informed he was no longer required.
Mr Rudd’s weekly spot on the show returns him to the platform he used for years to lift his broader profile and entrench his popularity with the public.
Mr Burke told The Australian: “I’ve loved every moment of being on the show for the past two years and if it came up again I’d grab it with both hands.”
A spokesman for Mr Rudd said the former prime minister, now a backbencher, had been approached several times to return to the show.
“Mr Rudd first received an approach from Sunrise a year or so ago and declined. He was approached again at the start of this year and as it is an election year Mr Rudd accepted,” the spokesman said.
“As Mr Rudd has said consistently, he will do whatever he can in Queensland, around the country and through the media to argue for the government’s re-election, and that includes on Sunrise.”
It’s been six years since Mr Rudd and Mr Hockey appeared regularly on the show together.
The so-called “big guns of politics” exchanged compliments this morning as they prepared to resume their political jousting.
“I’ve seen Joe. Joe’s looking fit and terrific. I’ve got about five kilos to lose,” Mr Rudd said.
Mr Hockey, who has lost more than 20kg over the summer break following gastric sleeve surgery, said his slimming campaign wasn’t over yet. “Yeah, I’ve got a bit to go,” he said.
There is no love lost between Mr Rudd and Mr Burke, who accused his former boss of undermining Julia Gillard‘s position as Prime Minister ahead of his failed leadership tilt last year.
“Everybody has had enough of the stealth and undermining campaign that has been going on through the caucus and through the media for a very long time,” Mr Burke said at the time.
“And, you know, the fact that Kevin’s been openly campaigning for the leadership has been the worst kept secret in Canberra.”Source: The Australian – “Seven’s Sunrise dumps Tony Burke via email for Kevin Rudd’s return”
- Rudd returns to Sunrise, six years on (abc.net.au)
- Rudd replaces Burke on Sunrise (news.com.au)
- Rudd and Hockey back for backslapping (news.com.au)
- Australian political leaders off and running (craighill.net)