"At present, they don't feel as if they have got one," Rudd told a news conference ahead of the ballot. "They are frustrated and angry that we are leaving them with little choice other than to vote for Mr Abbott."
Widely credited with having steered Australia through the global financial crisis, Rudd told the conference Australia needed his steady economic leadership because the country's resources boom was ending.
"Given our economic relationship with China accounts for 10% of our economy this is a massive challenge," Rudd said. "Diversification is essential for Australia if we are to protect our jobs and maintain our living standards."
Rudd also promised he would not seek retribution against any of his parliamentary colleagues who, since the last leadership ballot he lost in March 2012 have paraded their disdain for him. He said he would embrace those wanted to continue working with him and would thank those who refused, for their services.
The decision to change leader may now trigger a constitutional crisis if the country's Governor General demands proof that the Mandarin speaking Kevin Rudd can harness the support of the parliament.