Tuesday 31 January 2012

Labor in turmoil...again

Rudd won't ever be PM again, says Crean

By Paul Osborne,

AAP Updated January 31, 2012, 11:37 am

Former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd and his caucus supporters need to accept he will never return to the leadership and should rally behind his successor Julia Gillard, one-time leader Simon Crean says.
Mr Crean's call came on Tuesday as the first Newspoll for the year showed the coalition maintains a landslide-winning lead of 54 per cent of the two-party preferred vote to Labor's 46 per cent. But Ms Gillard remains preferred prime minister among voters, three points ahead of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott on 40 per cent.
Labor minister Simon Crean says changing leaders is not the answer, following poor opinion polls.Mr Abbott, who attracted a 55 per cent dissatisfaction rating in the poll published in The Australian, is due to make a keynote speech on Tuesday at the National Press Club in Canberra to outline his plans for a stronger economy and nation. Ms Gillard is in Sydney for briefings with the boards of the Reserve Bank and Australian Securities Exchange, ahead of an address in Melbourne on Wednesday where she'll talk up the nation's economic prospects and set out her priorities for the year.

The tilt by the two leaders toward economic issues on Tuesday comes amid speculation a growing number of Labor backbenchers, particularly in Queensland and NSW, are concerned Ms Gillard is failing to make any gains with voters and may rally behind Mr Rudd.

The Newspoll showed satisfaction with Ms Gillard had dropped to 33 per cent, from 36 per cent last year, while her dissatisfaction rating was level with Mr Abbott's 55 per cent. But Mr Crean said it was time for MPs to move on from Mr Rudd. "One thing the Labor party has got to learn is that it doesn't solve its polling problems by simply changing the leader," he told ABC TV on Tuesday.

Mr Crean, himself a former Labor leader, said a challenge by Mr Rudd before the 2013 federal election was not inevitable because the foreign minister did not have the numbers.
"There is no capacity for challenge. There is no contender that has the numbers. And the sooner the party wakes up to that ... the better off we will be," Mr Crean told Fairfax radio.
"He (Mr Rudd) can't be prime minister again."He's got to accept that."

Mr Crean said it would be better for the government to try to sell its economic credentials and achievements like tackling climate change, while pointing to Mr Abbott's negativity.
"I think everyone (in the party) is solidly behind the view that the opposition is vulnerable, our agenda and our record is enormously strong and we're best concentrated on accentuating our positives and reminding people of Tony Abbott's negatives," Mr Crean told the ABC television.

Former Labor powerbroker Graham Richardson said the government had lost ground over its broken promise on poker machine reform with Independent Andrew Wilkie. "She (Ms Gillard) was always going to lose ground on the poker machine issue because it is about trust," he said. "I think it's a much better result then having all the pubs and clubs against you but still it hurt her."

Mr Richardson said he doubted Mr Rudd would reclaim the leadership because he didn't have the numbers in caucus. "But he's desperately trying, there's no doubt he and his supporters are out there every day bashing away," he said. "She is going to have a very tough year."

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