The fallout from Thursday's political dramas in Canberra spilled into the Illawarra yesterday with Simon Crean absent from a series of planned engagements after he was sacked as Minister for Regional Australia and the Arts.
Mr Crean was due to open Father Chris Riley's new Youth Off The Streets school at the old Keelong juvenile justice centre site in Cordeaux Heights and join Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery to officially start the Crown Street Mall refurbishment project.
Mr Crean was sacked by Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Thursday for instigating the leadership spill.
Cunningham MP Sharon Bird conceded it was "interesting timing" for the local area, with Mr Crean booked to open projects and meet with partners.
"I do want to pay tribute to Simon ... he helped put regional development and the regions back on the federal agenda," Ms Bird said.
Ms Bird said Thursday "was obviously a very difficult day".
"I have always maintained the position of supporting the leader and I would have supported Julia Gillard," Ms Bird said.
"While the leader is critically important, each and every one of us is responsible for the outcome of the team."
Ms Bird said the outcome would make the party stronger before the election.
"In the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the Gonski school funding reforms and the National Broadband Network we have three generationally significant reforms ... one of them would be a major achievement let alone three."
Ms Bird said she had been uncertain about what Kevin Rudd would do on Thursday.
"He made the call and we have to take him on face value what he said," Ms Bird said.
Meantime, Gilmore MP Joanna Gash described the Labor Party's decision to retain Julia Gillard as Prime Minister as "depressing".
"This is all about political survival, not about leadership and caring for our country and that depresses me," Mrs Gash said.