Anthony Albanese has used the 10th anniversary of Julia Gillard toppling Kevin Rudd to defend reform achievements from a bloodstained era of Australian politics.
But the federal opposition leader also conceded the brutal knifing damaged both prime ministers as he revisited concerns first aired on spill night in 2010.
"Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard both led outstanding Labor governments that made a big difference in terms of reform," he told the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday.
"It stands in stark contrast to the occupation of the space that we see from the current government that's been there for seven years."
Mr Albanese agreed it was a curious coincidence he was giving a nationally televised speech exactly 10 years after the spill that left a lasting mark on Australian politics.
"I remain friends with both Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, but I think it was an error to remove an elected PM in their first term and it led to a range of changes of prime minister," the Labor leader said.
"I said on that night, as I have said on the record, that if this happens, we will damage two Labor prime ministers and I think we did."
The anniversary also marks 10 years since Australia's first female prime minister came to power.
Ms Gillard marked the occasion by thanking Emily's List, a group supporting Labor women into political office.
She also praised former independent MPs Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor, who propped up the minority Labor government after the 2010 election.
"I will always appreciate your professionalism, collegiality, and desire for good government," she tweeted.
"Thank you to everyone who surrounded me during my time as PM - my family and friends, the ALP and wider labour movement, colleagues, staff, supporters and the Australian people."
Australian Associated Press