- From: The Daily Telegraph
- December 12, 2011
Those believed to be behind the plot to bring back Kevin Rudd will be punished by Prime Minister Julia Gillard today with Innovation Minister Kim Carr to be sacked from cabinet.But in a blow to her authority, Ms Gillard was blocked from dumping Schools Minister Peter Garrett and Attorney-General Robert McClelland when NSW Right bosses stepped in to save them. When Ms Gillard told Mr Garrett and Mr McClelland she wanted them to resign from cabinet to pave the way for new blood, Mr Garrett threatened to resign from parliament. Mr McClelland also refused to step aside. The pair were backed by other NSW ministers.
"It was a widely expressed view to her that it would be a mistake," a senior NSW Labor source said. Another senior government insider said: "She was told, 'you can't sack McClelland and keep Joe Ludwig in there'." But Ms Gillard succeeded in what sources claimed was an attempt to shore up her own support base by rewarding the two key players behind the coup last year that delivered her the leadership.
Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten will be promoted into cabinet as the new Workplace Relations Minister. Sports Minister Mark Arbib will become Assistant Treasurer. The reshuffle, to be announced today, had threatened to spark a war between the dominant Victorian and NSW Right-wing factions, with both wanting promotions from their own ranks.
In a compromise deal, Ms Gillard was forced to expand her cabinet by one, to 21, to keep Mr McClelland in cabinet. However, he will be moved aside into a new ministry of national security. Health Minister Nicola Roxon, from the Victorian Right, will become the country's first female Attorney-General. Human Services Minister Tanya Plibersek, from the NSW Left, will be promoted into cabinet to take health. Chris Evans will lose Workplace Relations following criticism of his handling of the Qantas dispute but will remain as senate leader, which requires him to also stay in cabinet.
In a further attempt to curry favour with the NSW Right and bring in new talent, western Sydney MP Jason Clare will move up the ranks from Defence Procurement into Home Affairs. Immigration Minister Chris Bowen, also from the NSW Right, knocked back an offer of promotion after requesting to stay in his portfolio to "finish the job".
Former prime minister Kevin Rudd will stay in Foreign Affairs despite pressure within some senior circles to act against him. But Mr Rudd's backers claimed the reshuffle was about trying to further isolate him and consolidate the Prime Minister's own supporters with promotions. One minister said the strategy would prove Ms Gillard was prepared "to shoot people" and stamp her authority over a divided cabinet at a time of leadership unrest and a narrow parliamentary lead.
But it was also seen as recognition there was a desperate need for people "on the frontline" who could sell the government's economic message. Senator Carr has been named by the Right as a key player in support of a Rudd comeback.
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