Illawarra MPs pledge support for Gillard

The Illawarra’s two Federal Labor MPs have both pledged their support for Prime Minister Julia Gillard, ahead of Monday’s leadership test.This morning Cunningham MP Sharon Bird said in a statement Ms Gillard "has always had, and continues to receive, my total support."“For the good of the government and the community we represent, the leadership issue must be resolved on Monday”, she said.It echoed comments by Throsby MP Stephen Jones who said in a text message issued an hour after Mr Rudd resigned as foreign minister in Washington yesterday, that ‘‘I’ll be backing the prime minister’’.

  • Kevin Rudd’s resignationMr Jones, a co-convenor of Labor’s left faction elected to Parliament at the August 2010 election, was wrongly named in two metropolitan newspapers this week as a Rudd supporter.Gilmore Liberal MP Joanna Gash said Mr Rudd’s claims about factional influence over the leadership proved Labor did not deserve to hold office.“Gilmore residents are sick and tired of this government and it’s time Labor stops playing musical chairs with the Prime Minister’s office and gets on with the job of running the country instead of personal agendas,’’ she said.“This ongoing leadership tension is damaging not only Gilmore residents but every Australian citizen. ‘‘There is no faith or confidence left in our government.’’In a direct pitch to nervous Labor MPs, Mr Rudd said Opposition Leader Tony Abbott was on track to become prime minister.‘‘There is one overriding question for my Caucus colleagues and that is who is best placed to defeat Tony Abbott at the next election,’’ Mr Rudd said.‘‘Mr Abbott, I believe, does not have the temperament or the experience to ever be elected to hold the high office of prime minister of Australia.‘‘But at present and for a long time now he has been on track just to do that.’’ See tomorrow's Illawarra Mercury for full coverage.

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