Prime Minister Julia Gillard has seen off another round of leadership speculation, after Kevin Rudd declined to challenge at a leadership vote in caucus.
UPDATED 6:14 PM - 3 Sep 2013

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has seen off another round of leadership speculation, after Kevin Rudd declined to challenge at a leadership vote in caucus.

The live blog is now over. Thank you for following us today. Here we continue to report on today's events.

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5.50PM: Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says the civil war within the Labor Party will continue despite the leadership showdown on Thursday.

"Nothing is resolved," he told reporters in Canberra. "The civil war will continue as long as Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard are in the parliament."

He described the events as a remarkable and bizarre day. "I want to reassure people that it doesn't have to be this way," he said. "We are currently let down by a bad government getting worse.

"But that will change." Mr Abbott said the coalition was ready to deliver its plans for Australia "as soon as we can". What Australia needed "right now at a difficult time in the life of our nation" was an immediate election.

5.20PM: This is where we'll leave our rolling coverage of today's Labor leadership challenge. Plenty of Canberra-based journalists calling it a very strange day in Australian politics!

5.17PM: Deputy PM Wayne Swan now saying a few words.

"I think it's pretty fair to saw there was strong support for the PM."

"For my part, I have a budget to prepare. From that perspective, it's back to work."

5.15PM: PM Gillard speaking now. She says she accepts the ongoing support of her party with "deep humility".

"The whole business is completely at an end. It has ended now."

5.07PM: Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan are about to give a press conference. Media have been told no questions will be allowed.

5.00PM: Chief Whip Joel Fitzgibbon says he will take the next six weeks to think about his future in the government.

The fact that Julia Gillard managed to stave off yet another challenge should at least put to rest leadership speculation for the time being.

4.47PM: Chris Hayes MP speaking now. Julia Gillard stood unopposed, no votes were cast. Julia Gillard remains Labor leader and Prime Minister. Wayne Swan remains deputy.

4.44PM: Lots of questions now coming about Simon Crean and why he would have pushed for a leadership spill, apparently without any certainty that Kevin Rudd would contest it.

4.39PM: SBS Chief Political Correspondent Karen Middleton in Canberra has this wrap of what can only be described as a chaotic afternoon for the Labor Party:

4.31PM: Julia Gillard is now entering the ALP caucus room followed by a large number of supporters. Wayne Swan at her side.

4.30PM: With Julia Gillard looking increasingly likely to retain the Labor leadership, there's still the question of Deputy PM. Simon Crean has already stated his intention to run against Wayne Swan.

4.26PM: Anthony Albanese speaking to the media now. "I have been pretty consistent in terms of my views of the Labor leadership," he says.

"My view is clear. I will never support a spill motion against a sitting Labor PM."

4.20PM: Kevin Rudd is speaking to press now. "I will not be running in the ballot".

Standing outside the ALP caucus room, the former Prime Minister said he's not going to back down on his promise that he would only accept leadership if he had overwhelming support, and he does not have that.

4.00PM: Still no word from Kevin Rudd's office on whether he plans to contest the leadership.

3.58PM: As the crowds gather inside, a storm brews outside. A view of Canberra's skies, as captured by the Bureau of Meteorology's radar:

3.51PM: Crowds now gathering outside the Caucus room in Parliament House, where it's expected the ballot will take place in under an hour. Here's the press pack view courtesy of the Fin Review's James Massola:

3.49PM: Simon Crean's office has confirmed he has been stood down from all ministerial responsibilities. More details.

3.46PM: Less than an hour to go before Labor is due to decide on the leadership that will take the party to the 2013 election. Media reports claim around 20 MPs have gathered in Kevin Rudd's office to urge him to stand against Julia Gillard. Although not everyone agrees with that number:

3.25PM: There are reports Simon Crean has had his Ministry taken away from him following earlier comments that he was moving his support to Kevin Rudd.

3.15PM: Some Labor MPs, including Deputy PM Wayne Swan, have confirmed their loyalty to Julia Gillard on Twitter:

3.05PM: Queensland MP Graham Perrett on ABC News 24 just now: Unfortunately [calling a ballot] was the only thing Julia Gillard could have done. He still believes the PM is the best person to run the party.

He also says he "can't see" Kevin Rudd throwing his hat in the ring.

2.45PM: The number crunching will now begin in earnest ahead of the Labor leadership ballot at 4.30PM AEDT this afternoon.

Meanwhile, the speculation continues on Twitter. It's true that Kevin Rudd has not yet put his head up:

2.40PM: The Opposition loses the ballot and the Prime Minister brings question time to a close.

2.35PM: Parliament is now voting to suspend standing orders.

2.25PM: As the Prime Minister returns to the floor, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman weighs in via Twitter:

Julia Gillard now recapping her major achievements as PM. She mentions education reform, worker's rights and the NDIS bill, which passed earlier today.

"We've got more to do," she says.

2.20PM: Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Biship has the floor, reiterates Tony Abbott's argument for a no confidence motion.

"The current Prime Minister leads a chaotic government, and she is the central cause," says Bishop.

2.15PM: The Opposition Leader to the Prime Minister: "For our country's good, you should go."

2.10PM: Tony Abbott is moving a no confidence motion in the PM. The government is refusing it. The Opposition Leader calls Simon Crean a "decent, honourable man".

"This is a government which has lost its way," he tells the chamber.

2PM: Prime Minister Julia Gillard has called a ballot for the leadership and deputy leadership at 4.30pm.

WATCH: Karen Middleton reports from Canberra:

1.40PM: We'll be live streaming Question Time in the video player above, starting from 2pm AEDT. It's bound to be eventful... stay tuned!

1.30PM: A recap: It has been just over a year since we last saw a Labor leadership spill. Kevin Rudd's previous attempt to wrest the top job from Julia Gillard failed in February 2012, when the Prime Minister firmly defeated her former boss by a vote of 71 to 31.

And here's a look back at the 2010 spill, when Julia Gillard first stepped up to contest the Labor leadership: In their own words: Rudd-Gillard spill

WATCH: Simon Crean calls on Gillard to end leadership speculation and declare spill

1.20PM: With his press conference still ongoing, Simon Crean says he doesn't think Julia Gillard will heed his calls and declare a spill. If that happens, he says, "I will urge the Caucus to take action."

1.10PM: Simon Crean says he will be supporting Kevin Rudd if a leadership spill is called.

1PM: Senior Cabinet minister Simon Crean has called for Prime Minister Julia Gillard to call a leadership spill and says he will stand for deputy leader.

Mr Crean said he had spoken to Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Thursday morning about the ongoing leadership speculation surrounding the government.

"Something needs to be done to break this deadlock, to resolve the issue once and for all," he told reporters in Canberra.

"I am asking her to call a spill off all leadership positions."

View more: Twitter reacts to Simon Crean's announcement: