Julia Gillard has declared the Labor leadership tussle over but the fallout continues with resignations by supporters of Kevin Rudd.
After a tumultuous day on which party elder Simon Crean called for a showdown and was sacked from the ministry, caucus unanimously fell in behind the prime minister and her deputy Wayne Swan.
Mr Crean sought to put an end to months of relentless speculation about a Rudd comeback by asking Ms Gillard for a leadership spill yesterday, the final day of parliament before a seven-week break.
He argued the "deadlock" over the Labor leadership could not continue and said he would back Mr Rudd as leader and offer himself as deputy.
He said Mr Rudd - whose leadership style has been criticised in the past - had "changed" in the 13 months since his last failed challenge to Ms Gillard and was now a "more disciplined asset".
After initially rejecting the call, Ms Gillard agreed to declare the leadership positions open after talks with senior government MPs, including Anthony Albanese.
But within minutes of the caucus meeting beginning, Mr Rudd announced he wouldn't stand in the absence of a request from a majority of the party.
"I am here to inform you that those circumstances do not exist," he said, referring to the evident shortfall in support.
Ms Gillard and Mr Swan were returned unopposed as leader and deputy. Ms Gillard thus prevailed for the second time since she rolled Mr Rudd for the leadership in 2010.
Ms Gillard accepted the caucus endorsement "with a sense of deep humility and a sense of resolve".
"Today the leadership of our political party - the Labor Party - has been settled and settled in the most conclusive fashion possible," she said.
"The whole business is completely at an end."
Mr Rudd's decision had immediate consequences for his supporter, chief government whip Joel Fitzgibbon, as well as parliamentary secretary Richard Marles.
Mr Fitzgibbon, who resigned last night, said he had backed Mr Rudd because of Labor's primary vote, which is in the low 30 per cent range.
Mr Marles, who spoke out in favour of Mr Rudd yesterday, also resigned from his role.
Mr Crean, who was stripped of his arts and regional portfolios by Ms Gillard, said he did not understand why Mr Rudd had not run.
"He had an obligation to run. He didn't discharge that obligation so he has only got one obligation now and that is to back off," he told ABC television.
Later, Mr Fitzgibbon's fellow whips Ed Husic and Janelle Saffin resigned from their positions.
Mr Rudd called for the party to unite and ensure Opposition Leader Tony Abbott "does not simply walk into the Lodge as if it's his own personal property".
Mr Abbott said the caucus outcome had solved nothing and the tensions would continue.
"The civil war will continue as long as Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard are in the parliament," he said.