THE Minister for Climate Change, Greg Combet, has called on colleagues to stop white-anting the Prime Minister and to concentrate on their jobs.
Mr Combet was frustrated that those casting doubt on Julia Gillard's tenure rarely, if ever, spoke on the record.
''We've got a huge job to do and I focus on my job and I think all of my colleagues should do their best to focus on theirs,'' Mr Combet said. ''I lose patience with people who are talking to journalists and there's no name attached to it and you wonder who on earth it was.''
The Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, attributed the latest bout of leadership talk to the fact that some MPs were nervous. Tough policy decisions had resulted in low polls.
''We've been taking hard decisions,'' Senator Conroy said, ''some popular and some unpopular. And we are going through some challenging times.''
The Treasurer, Wayne Swan, said Ms Gillard had ''strong support because she's a really strong leader''.
There is a common view in the ALP that Ms Gillard is struggling but opinions vary as to what to do.
One group supports returning to Kevin Rudd but it does not have a majority and, if a ballot were held today, Ms Gillard would win.
Others are worried about Ms Gillard's low popularity but fear the consequences of dumping a prime minister for a second time. Given that the next election is not due for 18 months, they urge there be no rush.
The consensus inside Labor is that if matters come to a head, it should not happen until after the Queensland election on March 24.
The Deputy Opposition Leader, Julie Bishop, tried to stir the matter yesterday by claiming Mr Rudd would move sooner, possibly in the next fortnight.