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Australian PM Julia Gillard accuses own MPs of undermining her government

Julia Gillard

Julia Gillard

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has accused members of her parliamentary team of white-anting the government, as she demanded unity from Labor MPs.

The Prime Minister is understood to have today told parliamentary colleagues that she had been informed by members of the media that some within her ranks had contacted them over the summer, offering “negative assessments” of the government.

Ms Gillard raised the issue of leaks at today’s meeting of the Labor caucus, the first this election year.

The caucus meeting followed today’s poor Newspoll showing, which came in the wake of her surprise decision to name September 14 as the election date and the weekend resignation of two senior ministers.

Caucus sources said Ms Gillard told Labor MPs that journalists had said to her when they came back from leave that “they had a number of messages from people waiting to give negative assessments”.

Ms Gillard is then understood to have warned caucus of the importance of unity.

Caucus members elected Communications Minister Stephen Conroy unopposed as Senate leader, replacing Chris Evans who resigned from his Senate and ministerial responsibilities on Saturday.

Finance Minister Penny Wong was elected deputy Senate leader.

Addressing MPs, Ms Gillard also moved to justify announcing the election date and her controversial “captain’s pick” of Nova Peris for Labor’s top Northern Territory Senate spot.

Ms Gillard said the government’s alleged tactical advantage in setting the election date was very limited, and now the date was known it would give “shape and order” to the year.

The Prime Minister is understood to have been forced to respond to a question from one Labor MP who complained that Northern Territory Senator Trish Crossin, who has effectively been dumped by Ms Gillard’s choice of Ms Peris, had been treated unfairly.

Ms Gillard responded by referring to the importance of Labor having an indigenous member of parliament, and by praising Senator Crossin for her work.

Source: The Australian – “Julia Gillard accuses Labor MPs of undermining her government”

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