Rudd wanted referendum on federal health takeover

As Mr Rudd arrived back in Australia after spectacularly quitting as foreign minister overseas, verbal attacks between his supporters and those of his successor, Julia Gillard, became increasingly frank ahead of an expected leadership showdown on Monday.

Ms Roxon, promoted to attorney-general under Ms Gillard and now backing the prime minister, said Mr Rudd was told a referendum on a health takeover wouldn't succeed but he nevertheless "thought it would be a good tool to be able to win the election".

"[Mr Rudd] sat there