Wednesday 29 February 2012

Overkill' of candidate signs in Cairns highlights 'hypocrisy'

Tarina White
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
© The Cairns Post

Speaking volumes: Several signs for Labor candidate Kirsten Lesina line Sheridan St, which has been labelled “overkill” by LNP Cairns candidate Gavin King. Picture: MARC McCORMACK

CAIRNS Labor candidate Kirsten Lesina has been accused of hypocrisy for her volume of posted campaign signs after calling for a limit to be set during her term on council.

Ms Lesina, the former Division 4 councillor for Cairns Regional Council, put forward a motion last September requesting that a limit of 100 signs per candidate be imposed during a state election campaign.

The proposal was defeated by the majority of her former colleagues on the basis that it would be impractical to monitor and enforce the rule and that it could potentially threaten free speech.

Ms Lesina estimated she had about 110 signs posted throughout the city at any one time, noting that about 70 had been torn down."It just highlights the hypocrisy of it," Katter’s Australian Party Cairns rival Darren Hunt said, adding he has about 150 signs erected across the city.

LNP Cairns candidate Gavin King said many of Ms Lesina’s signs were spaced a short distance apart along Sheridan St. and it was "overkill".

Ms Lesina said she was not breaking any election rules by posting as many signs as she wanted wherever she chose.
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Tuesday 28 February 2012

A revitalised Prime Minister sets her sights on Tony Abbott.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard vows to move forward from Australian Labor Party in-fighting

Monday 27 February 2012

Cr Sno Bonneau not running for re-election

Monday, February 27, 2012 

© The Cairns Post

After 17 years as a councillor, Sno Bonneau has decided not to contest the next Cairns Regional Council elections on April 28.

Cr Bonneau said that he had made the decision along with family members for a number of reasons. "17 years is a good part of your life to give to the community" he said. "During my 17 years representing the community we have seen an amazing transformation and substantial improvements to the northern beaches area." 

I am pleased to have been able to serve the community and be re-elected on four occasions, and I thank all those who have supported and worked with me over the years

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Vote a stay of execution for Julia Gillard, says Tony Abbott

TONY Abbott says Julia Gillard's victory in the Labor leadership battle is a stay of execution, rather than a new start for Labor.
Ms Gillard on Monday won the ballot against Kevin Rudd, 71 votes to 31.
Mr Abbott said there were still 31 members of caucus who did not have confidence in Ms Gillard. "What I think today is likely to be is not so much a new start for 
this prime minister but merely
a stay of execution," he told
 reporters in Canberra.

Mr Abbott said there would still be Labor's carbon tax, "border protection chaos" and not enough focus on the jobs of Australian workers. While Ms Gillard was saying a good government had been dragged down by a wrecker, Mr Abbott said it was more likely people would see a bad government exposed by a whistleblower. 

"The public will not quickly forget Kevin Rudd's critique that this was a government that was run by faceless men," he told journalists in Canberra. "That this is a government which is actually damaging our country and that this is a government led by someone who has fundamentally forfeited the trust of the Australian people."
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Labor plans eight more Wild Rivers

Daniel Strudwick 
Monday, February 27, 2011
© The Cairns Post

Labor would expand its controversial Wild Rivers program if re-elected, declaring protections for eight more Cape York wetlands including the state's largest perennial river.

The laws have been criticised by prominent indigenous groups and the Liberal National Party, which has vowed to overturn Wild Rivers declarations on the Cape if elected next month.

On Saturday, Premier Anna Bligh threw a fishing line into the Coleman River at Pormpuraaw, which is one of three Far Northern ecosystems to be protected by Wild Rivers legislation during the next term of government under Labor.

Ms Bligh said she also wanted to start the declaration process for the Jannie, Jacky Jacky, Ducie, Jardine and Holroyd rivers. The environmental controls were introduced by the former Beattie Government to protect Queensland’s unspoilt river systems from the damaging effects of development such as mining and damming.

Thirteen river systems are currently controlled under Wild Rivers laws. "They are some of the most pristine river systems in Australia and all of them are home to very special and, in some cases, very unique flora and fauna," Ms Bligh said.

Campbell Newman’s LNP will scrap Wild Rivers in favour of its own policy to protect sensitive river systems through consultation with locals and stakeholders.
"Unlike Labor, the LNP will not adopt a one size fits all policy," the party’s environment spokesman Andrew Powell said.

But Ms Bligh insists the Government has a "special duty" to protect pristine river systems.
She said Labor would appoint an extra 50 Wild Rivers rangers by 2015, doubling the number of indigenous rangers employed under the program. "We want to make sure that these river systems are looked after by traditional owners and indigenous people through the Wild Rivers program and we want to make sure they’re protected from over-development," she said. "A Wild River declaration doesn’t mean that you can’t do things on this river system, it just means you can’t do things that interfere with the flow of the river."
The announcement was welcomed by the Wilderness Society and Queensland Greens, even though it falls short of Labor’s 2004 commitment to have 19 rivers protected during that term of government.

"It’s five years late, and the target has not yet been met, but at least we’re moving in the right direction," Greens spokesman Adam Scott said.
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Fears Julia Gillard win won't end Labor warfare

JULIA Gillard is poised to win today's Labor leadership ballot but faces ongoing political turbulence, with her critics predicting MPs will seek to draft Kevin Rudd to the leadership later this year.

While the Prime Minister has demanded party unity after today's ballot, Mr Rudd has said he fears her supporters will continue a campaign of "character assassination," to make him the scapegoat for future Labor errors.

Mr Rudd hit out at Labor's "faceless men" yesterday as his supporters warned MPs that opinion polls showed Ms Gillard was so unpopular with voters that Labor could lose 30 seats at the next election and spend the next generation in the political wilderness. Arriving at Canberra airport last night, Mr Rudd said today's ballot would be a "very tough race". "I know I'm up against it in terms of the combined horsepower of the factions of the ALP," he said.

He reiterated that if he were unsuccessful in today's ballot, he would not challenge again.
Both camps said they expected Ms Gillard, who ousted Mr Rudd from the prime ministership in June 2010, to win today's 10am (AEDT) ballot in Canberra.

The latest estimates give Ms Gillard about 67 of the 103 caucus votes. Despite Mr Rudd pledging that if he lost, he would be loyal to Ms Gillard until the next election, his supporters predicted that if the Prime Minister failed to lift her party's fortunes in opinion polls, Mr Rudd could be drafted to the leadership in the future. "You can't rule out those options, I think," said political consultant and Rudd supporter Bruce Hawker.

ormer Queensland premier Peter Beattie agreed, arguing that few Labor people expected Mr Rudd to move quietly to the backbench."Most believe he will simply wait to be drafted for another challenge later in the year if the government doesn't improve in the opinion polls," Mr Beattie writes in The Australian today.

Labor has been gripped by open warfare since Mr Rudd quit as foreign minister on Wednesday, while on government business in the US, after a series of attacks over his loyalty from ministers.

He returned to Australia on Friday to declare his candidacy for the leadership, warning colleagues Ms Gillard could not win the next election because she did not have the trust of the Australian people.

Last night, despite a series of opinion polls indicating Mr Rudd was more popular than Ms Gillard, it appeared the majority of the caucus had accepted the Prime Minister's argument that Mr Rudd ran a dysfunctional government while she had been able to deliver policy outcomes.

The Gillard camp put Mr Rudd's level of support at about 30 votes, although Rudd backers insisted the number was higher.

As Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said Mr Rudd should abandon all leadership hopes if he failed to attract 40 votes, Ms Gillard appeared confident of victory, saying she had the strong support of colleagues. "I believe Labor, all of us, will unite after Monday's ballot," the Prime Minister said in Melbourne. "We will unite tomorrow, and we will get our shoulders to the wheel delivering Labor's program and plans.

"The important thing is that tomorrow's ballot ends this, there is a result and following that result everyone accepts it and unites and gets on with the job, and I am absolutely confident that will happen."

Ms Gillard's expected win will relegate Mr Rudd to the backbench, and the Prime Minister will need to fill his vacant foreign affairs post. She is likely to opt for a minimal cabinet reshuffle that could see Defence Minister Stephen Smith return to foreign affairs or Trade Minister Craig Emerson take on a broader role and assume the portfolio.

After refusing to accept the resignation of senior frontbencher Anthony Albanese, the Transport Minister and Leader of the House, Ms Gillard has signalled that she is likely to avoid bloodletting in the interests of unifying the party. The opposition, keen to capitalise on Labor's woes, will immediately step up its attack when the House of Representatives sits for question time this afternoon.

Tony Abbott will renew his call for the independents to force an early election by moving a vote of no confidence . As MPs began arriving in Canberra for today's ballot, the Opposition Leader demanded an election, calling on crossbench independent MPs supporting the government to move a no-confidence motion at today's resumption of parliament.

Mr Hawker, who has been advising Mr Rudd on his campaign, put pressure on marginal seat holders by predicting an electoral rout for Labor under Ms Gillard. "As somebody who has been a member of the Labor Party since 1988, I believe it is unconscionable for anybody in the caucus to do anything other than support Kevin Rudd when this ballot comes on tomorrow," he said.

Labor would be in massive trouble if its primary vote did not rise above the 29 per cent to 32 per cent level being delivered by Ms Gillard, Mr Hawker said before the release of today's Newspoll showing ALP support at a year-high 35 per cent. "If that happens we're not just going to lose a few seats," he said. "We're going to lose 30 seats. That means Labor could be out of government for the best part of a generation."

In his final pitch to colleagues, Mr Rudd said he had changed since his period as prime minister, adding that no minister had ever approached him about concerns over his administration. Mr Rudd told the Nine Network he had been subjected to an unprecedented onslaught from Wayne Swan and senior ministers Tony Burke, Stephen Conroy and Simon Crean.

Urging factional faceless men to "lay down the cudgels" after today's vote, Mr Rudd said he feared their "character assassination" would continue in future, and that he would be blamed if Labor lost the coming Queensland state election or continued to lose in opinion polls at the federal level. "I think it's time people actually accepted responsibility for their own actions," he said.

In comments aimed squarely at Ms Gillard, Mr Rudd said: "I didn't draft that speech to the (Labor) national conference. I didn't go out there and make a promise to (independent MP) Andrew Wilkie. I didn't do a whole lot of those things which were done by others, but I seem to be blamed for the consequence fairly consistently."

School Education Minister Peter Garrett, who as environment minister handled Mr Rudd's controversial home insulation scheme, said that if Mr Rudd won he would not be prepared to serve in a Rudd ministry. Ms Roxon, the former health minister, gave the same commitment last week.

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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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Saturday 25 February 2012

Katter's party in $32m pledge for new hospital

Saturday, February 25, 2012
© The Cairns Post

Health plan: Katter's Australian Party Mulgrave candidate Damian Byrnes and leader Bob Katter announce their plans for a second hospital in Cairns.

Katter's Australian Party has pledged to build a $32 million second hospital at Edmonton by 2014 to ease pressure on Cairns Base Hospital.

Dr Damian Byrnes, the KAP candidate for Mulgrave and former member of the Cairns Health Community Council, said his party would pay for the 22-bed hospital by diverting money from the "makeover" at Cairns Base Hospital. "We would like to start this immediately once the election is over," he said.

The current construction of Block D at Cairns Base Hospital, which is expected to create 168 new beds, would continue as planned under the proposal, Dr Byrnes said. With the support of his party leader Bob Katter, Dr Byrnes said a new hospital in the south was urgently needed because cyclone Yasi showed Cairns Base Hospital was vulnerable to severe weather events. "A fully operational hospital at Edmonton is a non-negotiable item of critical infrastructure, especially as the Cairns Base Hospital is directly in-line for catastrophic cyclonic storm surges," Dr Byrnes said.

Dr Byrnes showed a copy of the 3000 signatures his party had collected in support of the second hospital for Cairns. Mr Katter said one hospital was not enough for Cairns because it took residents in his electorate 40 minutes to drive to Cairns Base Hospital.
"Cairns is a very narrow strip; you really do need two hospitals," Mr Katter said.
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Friday 24 February 2012

Festival fallout - Holowacz quits over budget cuts and lack of resources

Jesse Kuch
Friday, February 24, 2012
© The Cairns Post

Cairns Festival producer Eric Holowacz has quit, citing budget cuts, the shutting down of Festival HQ and a lack of management support behind the decision.

The shock move puts a cloud over this year’s event, one of the biggest annual celebrations in the city. Last year’s 17-day festival in August attracted an audience of about 110,000 people with an economic impact of more than $5 million for the region across 106 events.

Mr Holowacz said after such successful 2010 and 2011 events, including last year’s Cairns Festival 50th anniversary celebration, it was a shame Cairns Regional Council had cut support for the city’s flagship community and cultural festival. "Given the decreasing internal council support for the festival and the good work of our small team, it was the right time to move on," Mr Holowacz told The Cairns Post.  "I just didn’t have the energy to keep fighting for decent resources, program support, community engagement ideas, and a more co-operative work environment."

The Cairns Festival 2011 Evaluation Report, released last year, shows Cairns Festival’s 2011 event ran $131,760 over its projected budget of $606,313. "Recent budget adjustments have diminished capacity in the current fiscal year, and will impact seasonal staffing, technical production, marketing, and scope of events for the 2012 festival," the report said.
The council’s Community, Sport and Cultural Services general manager Ian Lowth declined to comment on Mr Holowacz’s resignation.

But he said "Cairns Festival has always been a team effort and a combination of internal and contracted staff will work together to ensure the 2012 festival goes ahead without disruption". "The budget for the 2012 Cairns Festival remains in the vicinity of $600,000," Mr Lowth said. "As in all areas of council at the introduction of the last budget, reductions in operating costs have needed to be implemented. "This is not expected to impact on the quality of the festival, as it is more aimed towards increasing efficiencies and streamlining operations throughout council as a whole."

He also addressed the closure of Festival HQ in City Place. "When the botanic gardens visitor centre was completed, the festival team joined their branch colleagues in the new offices," Mr Lowth said.

Mr Holowacz said he planned to stay in the region to "develop a few new projects for Far North Queensland into the near future". Among Mr Holowacz’s accomplishments are the Opening Notes project, the Man vs Fascinator exhibition, free concerts and film events at Fogarty Park.
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Thursday 23 February 2012

Cairns company wins Entertainment Precinct contract

    Author:   Grace Uhr      Thursday  February 23, 2012   © The Cairns Post

On site: Tony Cawte and Richard Field, of Richard Field Constructions, which has just been awarded the first contract for the Cairns Entertainment Precinct. Picture: MIKE WATT

A CAIRNS-based construction company has been awarded the first contract for the Cairns Entertainment Precinct with work to begin within a month.

Richard Field Constructions will begin investigative works on White’s Shed next month with a $351,000 contract that is expected to run for three months and employ 20 people.

Construction manager Richard Field said the work will involve removal of 1500 sq metres of concrete flooring, temporary removal of the timber flooring and examining the structural integrity of the building.

A detailed plan will be drawn up following the work for refurbishment within the requirements of the heritage status of White’s Shed. He said he hoped it would be the first of other successful tenders in relation to the CEP site. "We want to keep working on the site and we’ll be applying for the Tier 1 tender when it comes up," Mr Field said. "We’re very delighted to have secured the work. "This is a big thing for us because it means we go to full employment now, which is great, and we’ll be going from two apprentices to three."

Several councillors have voiced concerns over the potential issue of contaminated soil at the site and have called for further investigations.

Mr Field said he had encountered the issue on other sites, although it was rare. "We’ve done contaminated soil on previous jobs and an engineer does a design solution and a resolution is found," he said.
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Mayor slams scare tactics on Cairns Entertainment Precinct

Nick Dalton
Thursday, February 23, 2012
© The Cairns Post

In the red zone: An artist's impression of the Cairns Entertainment Precinct.

The $155m Cairns Entertainment Precinct would be in the blast zone if there was a major shipping explosion at the Port of Cairns, a new risk analysis report outlines.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland report sent to regional councillors highlights the dangers of the precinct being built alongside a working port, including the potential for an explosion from warships or ammonium nitrate chemicals.

However, last night Cairns Mayor Val Schier lashed out at opponents of the precinct, accusing them of running a scare campaign. She told The Cairns Post that some councillors and community members were running a "fear and emotion" campaign in a belated attempt to stop the development.

The report prepared by Cummings Economics says the precinct was within 200m of container yards and wharves over which explosives are likely to be handled or be on board ships and within the usual "overpressure" zones. The report also raises concerns about dangerous goods, fertilisers, fuel storage, smell nuisances and other hazards. 

As well, there are economic concerns with the seaport operations having "a very significant impact on the regional economy many times greater than the economic impact of the proposed new theatre". "It is a major deficiency that councillors in their decision-making on this question appear not to have already been presented with comprehensive analysis of potential hazards and risks... "Council has a duty of care to theatre users over the coming decades and to ratepayers that it invests in a facility that is not burdened by a range of safety and ambience complications that come from being located next to an operating port," the report said.

Chamber chairman Brett Moller said the report had been compiled for councillors so that "impacting issues should be brought to the table so that they can be considered, addressed and dealt with in the decision-making process." Cr Schier said the issue would be discussed at a March 12 workshop.
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Comment: Mayor Val Schier.

If visitors to the CEP are going to be in danger then the cruise liner passengers will be in worse danger as will the Convention Centre attendees!! Ports North currently manages risks and ALL the issues raised in the report have been identified and are being analysed and mitigated by the project team.

Comment : Annette Sheppard ( Candidate Division 6 )

Val, These are issues I have brought up previously, as have others. If you look at the maps you will see that the CEP falls well within the radius from the epicentre, the cruise terminal does not, and a small section of the convention centre is also affected. However, this measurement is taken from Wharf 7 - 8. Should an explosion occur at Wharf 4 - 5 - 6, then the CEP would be almost at ground zero and the cruise ship terminal and the convention centre would be well within the blast radius. 

Exactly how do you mitigate in these circumstances? Would you propose to have bomb proof walls and glass? Your comments in minimising this risk are seriously flawed and either ignorant or misleading. Anyone who was here at the time of the gasworks explosion will know just how destructive industrial explosions can be. Maybe you also need to investigate exactly what hazardous cargoes are moved within the vicinity of the proposed CEP. It just shows that the State Government has been recalcitrant in its duty of care in not making consideration of these issues in their decision to locate the cruise terminal and the convention centre in this area. 

They have further compounded the problem by offering this site for the CEP. The fact is that the site is unsaleable and it was their way of offloading responsibility on to the Local Government. In the risk analysis have you calculated the cost of the insurance, both public liability and property?

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Enough faceless men to go round

Kudelka cartoon
Cartoon by Jon Kudelka. Source: The Australian

Despite Kevin Rudd's attempt to label Julia Gillard as a product of the scheming of faceless men, both camps are led by their fair share of powerbrokers. Rudd is relying on Kim Carr and Martin Ferguson, out of the Victorian Left - ironic, given that they hail from the factional grouping the Prime Minister is a part of.

Added to this pair are senior right-wing ministers from NSW, such as Chris Bowen and Robert McClelland, not to mention NSW left-wing powerbroker Doug Cameron, who has poured scorn on Simon Crean for his attacks on Rudd. However, for the most part, the Rudd camp is a bottom-up movement. For example, backbenchers who have informed power brokers backing Gillard that they will not be following directions to support her if a ballot is called because they are worried about losing their seats and believe Rudd is Labor's only saviour.

The Gillard camp's strongest defenders are those who imposed her over the top of Rudd in the first place. Bill Shorten, Mark Arbib, David Feeney and Don Farrell have formed a praetorian guard around the Prime Minister, perhaps only to protect themselves from Rudd's revenge. All won promotion after Gillard took over the prime ministership. Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan will also support Gillard, so long as his Australian Workers Union backers (read Paul Howes) oppose Rudd.

The swinging votes that are likely to determine this showdown, whenever it eventuates, are Anthony Albanese and Mark Butler, left-wing powerbrokers in NSW and South Australia respectively. Convince one to shift his support to Rudd and the other will surely follow. If they decide Gillard is finished, they are likely to block any attempt at a third spoiler candidate designed to thwart Rudd, knocking out a Crean or Stephen Smith candidacy. A move to Rudd by Albanese or Butler would give Rudd the momentum he needs to create an inevitability about changing leaders.

The most difficult read in this looming showdown is what senior ministers will do. So far they have largely been supportive of the Prime Minister, which Gillard backers have argued is evidence that the Rudd push is doomed. But as members of the executive it is impossible for ministers to publicly move behind Rudd without resigning. Even Bowen and Carr have been silent on their support for Rudd. His camp will want such backers in the ministerial tent, if only to provide intelligence.

The new dynamic favouring Rudd as a backbencher is one of options. By moving to the backbench he can say what he likes, do what he likes, challenge when he likes. In short, he can begin campaigning for the leadership. If Gillard supporters thought he was campaigning before now, they have seen nothing yet.

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ALP | Political suicide been committed in Camberra

Julia Gillard v Kevin Rudd  |  Part II

Wednesday 22 February 2012

Wayne Swan pulls no punches after Kevin Rudd quits as Foreign Minister

Wayne Swan has attacked Kevin Rudd as a Labor saboteur who never understood the  party after Mr Rudd dramatically quit his as foreign minister tonight ahead of a likely leadership challenge next week. 

Mr Rudd stood down from the ministry at a hastily arranged media conference in the United States tonight, just after 1am Washington time, citing attacks on him by Labor ministers and "faceless men", and Julia Gillard's failure to repudiate them. He said the party had turned into a soap opera, and caucus colleagues should ask themselves who was best placed to take on Tony Abbott.

In a statement released this evening, Ms Gillard said the Foreign Minister had not warned her of his plan to quit, nor raised his concerns about the direction of the Labor Party."I am disappointed that the concerns Mr Rudd has publicly expressed this evening were never personally raised with me, nor did he contact me to discuss his resignation prior to his decision," she said The Treasurer unleashed on the former prime minister, who was deposed by Julia Gillard in June 2010. He said the Labor Party had given Mr Rudd every opportunity, but he wasted them with his "dysfunctional decision making and his deeply demeaning attitude towards other people including our caucus colleagues".

Mr Swan said Mr Rudd had placed his own interests ahead of those of the broader labour movement "and that needs to stop". "The Labor Party is not about a person, it's about a purpose. That's something Prime Minister Gillard has always known in her heart but something Kevin Rudd has never understood," Mr Swan said. "He was the Party's biggest beneficiary then its biggest critic; but never a loyal or selfless example of its values and objectives. "For the interests of the labour movement and of working people, there is too much at stake in our economy and in the political debate for the interests of the labour movement and working people to be damaged by somebody who does not hold any Labor values"

Mr Swan said Ms Gillard had the "overwhelming support" of the caucus. "She has a consultative, respectful relationship with caucus while Kevin Rudd demeaned them," he said."She's cleaned up a lot of the mess he left her and has established a good, Labor agenda.She's delivering major reforms, and getting things done that her predecessor could not. Colleagues are sick of Kevin Rudd driving the vote down by sabotaging policy announcements and undermining our substantial economic successes."

According to Sky News, Ms Gillard will tomorrow make an announcement confirming a leadership ballot will take place in the party caucus on Monday morning.Mr Rudd made the dramatic announcement he was resigning as Foreign Minister at a media conference in Washington DC at 1.20am local time (5.20pm AEDT), after supporters of the Prime Minister said she was prepared to sack the Foreign Minister for disloyalty.

Mr Rudd said he would return to Brisbane on Friday and consult with his party and with his colleagues before making a full statement about his future by next Monday. He told caucus colleagues that the one overriding question they should ask themselves was, who was best placed to take on Tony Abbott.

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Kevin Rudd quits as Foreign Minister


Mr Rudd's decision comes after days of speculation that he was threatening Ms Gillard's leadership. Senior Labor figures had today urged Ms Gillard to bring the issue to a head.

Mr Rudd said the Australian people regarded the speculation as little more than a soap opera. “They are right,” he said. “Under the current circumstances, I won't be a part of it.”

To continue in the job would be distracting for the government, Mr Rudd said. “While I am sad to leave this office I am sadder still that it has come to this.”

He said a number of ministers and “faceless men” had publicly attacked his credibility and he would no longer serve as Foreign Minister while he did not enjoy the Prime Minister's support. “The last time I resigned from a position of public office was when I resigned as prime minister of Australia. Regrettably there have been some similar factors today. “It's time for some plain speaking on this. “The truth is I can only serve as Foreign Minister if I have the confidence of Prime Minister Gillard and her senior ministers.

“In recent days Mr (Simon) Crean and a number of other faceless men have publicly attacked my integrity and therefore my fitness to serve as a minister in the government.
“When challenged today on these attacks Prime Minister Gillard chose not to repudiate them. “I can only reluctantly conclude that she therefore shares these views.” Australia must be governed by the people, not party factions, Mr Rudd said. “I promise you this - there is no way, no way, that I will ever be part of a stealth attack on a sitting prime minister elected by the people,” he said. “We all know that what happened then was wrong and it must never happen again.”

Mr Rudd said it was now up to caucus to decide on the Labor leadership. He said he had few options in announcing his resignation overseas. “The truth is I feel very uncomfortable doing this from Washington and not in Australia,” Mr Rudd said. “But I don't feel like I have a choice given the responsibilities over the days ahead.”

Mr Rudd said the ongoing leadership speculation about the federal party was hurting Labor's prospects in the coming Queensland election. He said the saga was bad for his friend, Queensland Premier Anna Bligh. “I believe the good people of Queensland deserve some clear space over the coming month as they make up their minds on a very important decision on the future of Queensland, my home state,” he said.

Mr Rudd called for sweeping reform of the Australian Labor Party. “I deeply believe that if the Australia Labor Party, a party of which I have been a proud member for more than 30 years, is to have the best future for our nation then it must change fundamentally its culture and to end the power of the faceless men “Australia must be governed by the people, not the factions.”“We all know that what happened then was wrong and it must never happen again.”

Tony Abbott said Mr Rudd had confirmed that the “faceless men” were running the Labor Party and that the instability at the top of the government was damaging the nation. “Kevin Rudd's statement tonight confirms that this government is unworthy to continue in office. “Only the Coalition can provide the strong and stable government that will address the issues facing our country and restore hope, reward and opportunity for all Australians. “ Mr Rudd said he would leave Washington later today.

Meanwhile, other Australian officials would replace him at scheduled international events over the next few days. “Under no circumstances do I want Australia's international reputation brought into disrepute because of this ongoing saga,” Mr Rudd said. “Therefore, Ambassador (Kim) Beazley will discharge my functions here on my behalf in Washington tomorrow and the permanent secretary of my department, Dennis Richardson, will represent me in London and in Tunis.”

Mr Rudd said he was proud of his department's work to re-engage with Europe, Africa and Latin America, which he labelled the “major economic regions of the future”. He also cited the appointment of Australia's first ever ambassador for women and girls and hoped the government would still honour a commitment to appoint its first indigenous Australian as an overseas ambassador.

He thanked his family wife Therese and children Jessica, Nicholas and Marcus. "Chatting to them over the course of the last several hours, I thank them for their encouragement and their support as always,” he said. Mr Rudd said he now had “much, much to do” and ended his press conference without taking questions.

Mr Rudd's daughter Jessica tweeted: “Effing proud of you, Dad xxxx”.
His wife Therese Rein responded: “Me too, Kevin xxxx”.

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