Combet almost ran against Rudd for Labor leadership

FORMER Prime Minister Julia Gillard offered to stand aside for Greg Combet to run against Kevin Rudd in a Labor leadership contest last year.

Mr Combet revealed more details about the inner machinations of the ballot to ABC TV on Thursday night, as part of promotions for a new book he has written.

The ballot, which saw Mr Rudd returned to the Prime Minister's office for a brief period before the September election, ultimately proved fruitless for the party at the polls.

Mr Combet said that during a conversation before the ballot last year, Ms Gillard offered to step aside for Mr Combet to compete against Mr Rudd to lead the party to the election.

But he said he decided against such a move, partly due to the internal momentum behind Mr Rudd's campaign to regain the leadership, and health problems.

The revelations come as Mr Combet begins promotional work for a new memoir tracing his history in some landmark disputes, including over asbestos and Melbourne's waterfront.

The book, The Fights of My Life, was co-written by former Fairfax journalist and Combet staffer Mark Davis, and is being launched by Ms Gillard next week in Sydney.