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Kevin Rudd given lifetime Labor membership, but senator says all isn’t forgiven

After two brutal leadership coups, Kevin Rudd has told Labor’s national conference the party is going through a period of “healing”.

The former prime minister has been honored with lifetime membership, along with Paul Keating and Julia Gillard.

Accepting the honour in person, Mr Rudd says Labor must unite and move forward.

But Liberal Senator Eric Abetz says tensions are far from healed.

“For Wayne Swan to shake hands with Kevin Rudd after what they both have said about each other is one these showcases for the coming election to pretend that everything is healed and forgiven within the Labor Party.

“This was just a showcasing in circumstances where the hatreds and divisions run extremely deep.”

On whether the Coalition would consider a similar lifetime membership honour, Senator Abetz says it’s “not something that should be bestowed lightly”.

“I think it is something that needs to be measured up very carefully by the organisation.”

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