KEVIN Rudd got to feel like a frontbencher again last night - after Resources Minister Martin Ferguson asked him to deliver a speech on his behalf at a dinner in Perth.
The request by Mr Ferguson, a well-known Rudd supporter, will raise eyebrows among some of his colleagues.
It gave unexpected exposure to the man who is still in the hunt for Prime Minister Julia Gillard's job.
Mr Ferguson was too sick to attend the Africa Downunder conference and, knowing Mr Rudd would be present, invited him to present his speech. Special Minister of State Gary Gray is to perform at another function for Mr Ferguson today.
The former prime minister conspicuously re-entered the domestic political debate this week. On Tuesday he declared Tony Abbott ''entirely beatable''.
Yesterday, after speaking at the opening of a supportive housing project in Brisbane and stressing his government's efforts on homelessness, Mr Rudd welcomed this week's decision to scrap the planned floor price on carbon, making it clear that would have been his position all along.
Mr Rudd, who promised changes to the scheme in his campaign for the leadership in February, said: ''I have always supported a floating price … When you're linked in to the international carbon price, it means Australia is acting appropriately with the rest of the world.''
Mr Abbott pointed out the government had come around to Mr Rudd's position, saying: ''When Kevin Rudd suggested some time ago, as part of his leadership bid, that we should move to the European price quickly, that was denounced up hill and down dale by the government as putting the surplus and the budget at risk.''
Mr Rudd also launched an attack on Queensland Premier Campbell Newman for sending letters to 150 people in a caravan park telling them the area was to be sold.