Gillard seeks to rebuild after vote farce
AUSTRALIA: Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard set about
rebuilding her Labor party’s tainted image on Friday after a botched
leadership coup as a slew of ministers who supported rival Kevin Rudd
Gillard is facing an uphill battle as she attempts to claw back
credibility following an internal political drama that dealt a huge blow
to her already slim prospects heading into a September national
election. The country’s first female leader called a shock vote for the
party leadership on Thursday after senior minister Simon Crean openly
urged a ballot to end rampant speculation that he said was “killing”
She was re-elected unopposed after former leader Rudd, who Gillard
ruthlessly ousted in mid-2010, realised he did not have the numbers
required and opted out just minutes before the vote was held.
Rudd on Friday ruled out the prospect of ever being Labor leader
again and said Gillard “has my 100 percent support”. “I don’t think it’s
worth raking over the coals. What’s done is done. Let’s look to the
future,” he said, confirming that he did not challenge after being
advised there was “zero” chance of being able to topple her.
Eight politicians who sided with him have been sacked or resigned,
with Gillard facing a tricky cabinet reshuffle just six months out from
national elections. The highest-profile casualties, Resources Minister
Martin Ferguson, Tertiary Education Minister Chris Bowen and Human
Services Minister Kim Carr, fell on their swords Friday.
Crean was fired in the aftermath of the farcical day of political
games on Thursday.
With the conservative opposition vowing to put a motion of no
confidence in the government at the next sitting of parliament on May 14
to try to force early polls, Gillard took to the airwaves in an attempt
to calm nerves.