OUTGOING prime minister Julia Gillard says she won’t contest her federal seat at the next election.
Ms Gillard earlier on Wednesday lost the Labor leadership challenge to Kevin Rudd.
She had previously said the loser of the caucus ballot should leave federal politics.
“I have written to the Governor-General, asking her to commission Rudd as Prime Minister of Australia,” Ms Gillard told reporters.
“I will shortly leave from this parliament to see the Governor-General on this matter.”
Ms Gillard will not recontest her Victorian seat of Lalor at the upcoming federal election.
Ms Gillard congratulated Mr Rudd on his election as leader of the minority Labor government.
She said she was humbled by having had the privilege to be prime minister, and Australia’s first female prime minister.
“When I first put myself forward for consideration as Labor leader in 2010 I had the overwhelming support of my colleagues to do so. I thank them for that,” she said.
“And I thank them for giving the opportunity to me not only to serve the nation but to serve as the first female prime minister of this country.”
Ms Gillard said she had faced the “twin problems” of a minority parliament and “internal division” within Labor.
“It has not been an easy environment to work in.”
Ms Gillard urged Labor MPs and candidates to get out and win the election.
“Don’t lack the guts, don’t lack the fortitude, don’t lack the resilience to go out there with our Labor agenda and to win this election,” she said.
“I know that it can be done.”
Ms Gillard said there had been a lot of talk about her playing the “gender card”.
“The reaction to being the first female prime minister does not explain everything about my prime ministership, nor does it explain nothing about my prime ministership,” she said.
“It explains some things and it is for the nation to think in a sophisticated way about those shades of grey.
“What I am absolutely confident of is it will be easier for the next woman and the woman after that … and I am proud of that.” – AAP