Australian Foreign Minister Kevid Rudd has announced his resignation at a press conference in Washington DC.
At 1.20am local time, 7.20pm NZT, Mr Rudd he believed he no longer had the support of the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard and had no option but to resign.
He called the leadership brawl a "soap opera" and said he would not have "anything to do with it".
A move against Kevin Rudd next week was today said to be almost certain with Prime Minister Julia Gillard determined to resolve the leadership crisis when parliament resumes.
With the backing of her senior cabinet ministers, Ms Gillard is poised either to sack Mr Rudd from the ministry or hold a leadership ballot to expose his lack of support.
Senior sources stressed that no decision had been made but, said one: "There's movement at the station."
A backer of a ballot said there was a growing feeling that Ms Gillard would take on Mr Rudd in a leadership spill next week and "not only win, but win bloody decisively".
The Sydney Morning Herald revealed today that Ms Gillard was reserving the option of calling a leadership ballot next week but that she will bring it on only from a position of strength to resolve the crisis consuming her government.
Watch this space, we reckon...
The Australian Labor Party is showing how to REALLY have a decent leadership war; the Herald reports:
Speculation is growing that Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard might be forced to open her job to a challenge from Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd within the next two weeks.
The publication of a tape of Rudd violently swearing while recording a message in Chinese before his ousting in June 2010, added to reports that Gillard backers are testing support among MPs, has created a new, possibly unstoppable momentum.
Constant rumours of instability have seriously undermined Labor's fragile minority Government and pushed the Opposition to an unbeatable lead in opinion polls.
Gillard needs to settle the issue once and for all if she is to refocus public attention and political energies on the Government's agenda, and rebuild support in time for next year's election.
It's all on for young and old in the ALP. There's blood on the floor, claims and counter-claims of smears and dirty tricks, and a huge divide between the Rudd and Gillard camps. There's ceratinly no love lost between the two after Gillard rolled Rudd in 2010.
Julia Gillard's tenure as Australian PM hasn't been an easy one as the tide has gone out on her government. Even a strong leader such as Helen Clark was unable to stem that tide with the NZLP in 2008, and Julia Gillard is no Helen Clark. The Australian Labor Party can change leaders, but we doubt that it will have any marked effect in the long term.