Rudd not to stand against Australian PM

Former Australian leader Kevin Rudd on Thursday said he will not stand against Prime Minister Julia Gillard after she called a Labor party leadership ballot.

Rudd was widely expected to challenge Gillard but said he was a man of honour and would abide by earlier pledges not to run against her again after an abortive leadership challenge in February last year.

"I'm not prepared to dishonour my word ... others take such commitments lightly, I do not," he said.

"I have been very plain about that for a long period of time.

"Secondly, I have also said that the only circumstances under which I would consider a return to leadership would be if there was an overwhelming majority of the parliamentary party requesting such a return, drafting me to return and the position was vacant.

"I am here to inform you that those circumstances do not exist."

Gillard called the ballot as internal unrest mounted in a party floundering in opinion polls ahead of a general election in September.

Her decision came after senior cabinet minister Simon Crean openly called for a vote, with the premier unpopular with the public and facing rampant leadership speculation.