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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 quit.

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” Labor.

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.

AFP

 

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