Oh brother, just what is Kevin up to now?

KEVIN RUDD'S supporters and foes have defended his right to become more vocal, saying it does not necessarily mean he is grandstanding for another shot at the Labor leadership.

But his brother Greg was in no doubt what Mr Rudd was doing by conducting a comprehensive interview on the ABC's 7.30 program on Wednesday night.

''It's basically Kevin rattling the cage, letting his colleagues know that he's still there willing to serve if they so wish,'' Greg Rudd said yesterday.

Kevin Rudd created a stir throughout the government on Wednesday night when he had to be prompted three times before he would say Julia Gillard could win the next election.

Mr Rudd, who has lifted his profile in recent weeks, said the government and the opposition had two contrasting views for the nation's future and ''my job is to make clear that contrast''.

''We've all got a job to get out there and argue the case.''

''My views won't be silenced in the public debate, because the issues for Australia are so stark.''

Mr Rudd's key supporters said he was one of Labor's most effective communicators and he could not be expected to stay quiet.

The Left convener, Doug Cameron, who backed Mr Rudd in the February leadership challenge, said: ''Kevin Rudd is one of the most popular, if not the most popular, politicians in Australia.''

Behind the scenes, Ms Gillard's backers were in no doubt that Mr Rudd was posturing.

They said that while they were wary, they did not fear another challenge, but there was general discontent with his timing, given Ms Gillard was still on leave after her father's death.

Simon Crean, one of Mr Rudd's harshest critics during the February spill, chose not to provoke yesterday: ''I welcome what Kevin Rudd has had to say, the government and the party expects nothing less of him.''

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