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Oz Govt. crisis deepens with Gillard calling for party leadership vote next Monday

Melbourne , Thu, 23 Feb 2012 ANI

Melbourne, Feb.23 (ANI): Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has called for a Labor Party leadership vote next Monday, deepening the crisis in her government that arose with the resignation of Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd on Wednesday.


Gillard said that the leadership vote would take place at 10 a.m. on Monday, and added that she would move to the backbenches if she lost the ballot.


The Daily Telegraph quoted Gillard, as saying on Thursday that the ballot was necessary to reach a "final decision".


"For far too long, we have seen squabbling within the Labor Party that has .... obscured what we are doing to build a better future for Australia. Australians are rightly sick of this and they want it brought to an end," the Prime Minister said.


Gillard said she would renominate herself for the leadership at the ballot, and she expected to receive support from the majority of her Labor colleagues.


Her decision to call for a leadership vote arises after Rudd and his supporters failed to desist from running a campaign to regain the Labor leadership that he lost more than a year ago.


Rudd who announced his decision to quit from Washington, said he saw himself as Australia's political saviour and damned Gillard by saying she cannot win the next federal election.


Speaking at The Willard Hotel in Washington, Rudd confirmed publicly for the first time that he will test the numbers for a challenge to the Prime Ministership.


Desperate not to lose traction for his leadership bid as he enters more than 20 hours of dead time flying home to Australia, Rudd was asked if he regarded Gillard as a failed Prime Minister.


"I do not believe, I do not believe, that Prime Minister Gillard can lead the Australian Labor Party to success in the next election. That is a deep belief, I believe it's a belief also shared right across the Australian community," he said.


Gillard has admitted she made mistakes as a leader, but said she believed she remained the best person to lead the Labor Party.


"No government is perfect and I have made mistakes," she said.he said her government still had work to do, building on reforms that would be meaningful to Australian families.


She made reference to a period of 'paralysis' with Kevin Rudd - and said it had been "a very difficult and very chaotic work pattern".


Gillard acknowledged Rudd to be a very good campaigner, but she said a leader required different skills in government.


"Government requires consistency, purpose, method, discipline, inclusion (and) consultation," Gillard said.


"It requires you to lead a big team and lead it well. Kevin Rudd as prime minister struggled to do that and by the days of 2010 that struggle had resulted in paralysis in the government," she added.


Senior ministers have accused Rudd of undermining the government via a series of damaging leaks.


Gillard said she wanted the ballot to be the final decision by the Labor Party as to who should lead it.


"I will accept that decision and conduct myself accordingly. I believe Kevin Rudd should give the same undertaking," she said. (ANI)


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