Sunday, 26 February 2012

Labor in Crisis

Anthony Albanese declares support for Rudd
Senior cabinet minister Anthony Albanese has confirmed he will be supporting Kevin Rudd in Monday's leadership ballot.

Mr Albanese said he had offered Julia Gillard his resignation as Leader of The House and had rung the Prime Minister this morning to inform her of his decision to back Mr Rudd.

A teary Mr Albanese, who is also Infrastructure Minister, said he had consulted widely before making his decision and that it had not been and easy one. "I make this decision with a heavy heart," Mr Albanese said. "However it this is a judgement call."

Speaking in Cessnock a short time later, Ms Gillard said while she didn't agree with Mr Albanese's decision she believed he was a "great Labor man with a great Labor heart". The Prime Minister said she had not accepted Mr Albanese's resignation because he was a critical part to Labor's fight against the opposition.

"This is not in my self interest, I am doing this because it is right," Mr Albanese said.
He said he had also phoned Treasurer Wayne Swan and Kevin Rudd about his decision before making his announcement today.

Mr Albanese said Ms Gillard refused to accept his resignation and expressed her confidence in him that despite his decision to support Mr Rudd in the ballot, she believed he would continue to serve her loyally.

"I was pleased that under the circumstances that it would be perfectly reasonable for her that she accept that resignation that she refused to and on the basis that she had confidence that I would continue, were she to continue as Prime Minister that I would serve her loyally as I have each and every day," Mr Albanese said."It has been very traumatic."

Mr Albanese said he “loved” the Labor party and that he was raised by a single mum who had told him to always stand up for what he believed in. “I hope that when I look back on my career people regard me as a straight forward politician who said what they want not for the interest of myself but only in the interest of the Labor party,” Mr Albanese said.

He said he had “despaired” in recent days over the trashing of the party’s achievements under Kevin Rudd by some of his fellow parliamentary colleagues. Mr Albanese said both Mr Rudd and Ms Gillard were “formidable” politicians and he had respect for them both, however he felt it was necessary to support Mr Rudd to show he disagreed with the events of the 2010 leadership coup. “Monday’s ballot is the only opportunity to show my dissent with the actions of that night and I do so with a heavy heart,” he said.

“All indications are that Julia Gillard will be successful in Monday’s ballot. But my definition is that is something that doesn’t worry me at all.” Mr Albanese said his decision was “not designed to influence anyone” and he was not counting the numbers for Mr Rudd or assisting his campaign in any way.

His decision to back the former prime minister follows a similar move by fellow ministers Kim Carr, Martin Ferguson, Stephen Smith, Robert McClelland and Chris Bowen.
Mr Albanese said Mr Rudd had thanked him for his support when he phoned him earlier today to inform him of his decision. He said he would not be making any further commentary on the matter before Monday’s ballot.

Ms Gillard said following Monday's ballot the party needed to unite and "get on with the job of delivering for working families". "Monday is it, end of it. We vote on it and everybody accepts the result then it is over and done," Ms Gillard said. She brushed off today's poor polling saying good government was about delivery.
"Talk is one thing, delivery is another. I am about delivery," Ms Gillard said.

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