Alexa

Australian PM vows to make predecessor a minister

 Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard speaks at the national press club in Canberra, Australia, Thursday, July 15, 2010.  Australia's government b...
 Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard speaks at the national press club in Canberra, Australia, Thursday, July 15, 2010.  Australia's government b...

Australia Politics

Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard speaks at the national press club in Canberra, Australia, Thursday, July 15, 2010. Australia's government b...

Australia Politics

Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard speaks at the national press club in Canberra, Australia, Thursday, July 15, 2010. Australia's government b...

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard vowed Friday to give her once-popular predecessor a senior Cabinet post if her government wins elections, which could be called as soon as Saturday.
Gillard successfully challenged Kevin Rudd for the leadership of the ruling Labor Party three weeks ago in a shock internal coup. Rudd was then excluded from her Cabinet.
Opinion polls show Australia's first woman prime minister has boosted the government's popularity to an election-winning position, although public disquiet remains about Rudd's sudden political demise.
"I have said Kevin Rudd will serve as a senior minister in a re-elected Gillard government," the prime minister told reporters on the island state of Tasmania. "I will honor that commitment."
Under the Australian political system the prime minister decides an election date, which is kept secret until it is authorized by the governor general. An election called Saturday would be held on Aug. 21 or 28.
Gillard declined to say whether she would call an election on Saturday. "I'm not engaging in election speculation," she said.
Australian media reported Thursday that Gillard reneged on a confidential deal with Rudd that would have allowed him several weeks to attempt to improve the government's popularity before she moved to grab power. If he had failed, he had would have voluntarily handed power to her, his deputy at the time, news reports said.
The unsourced allegations could undermine Gillard's popularity. Labor sources accuse a bitter Rudd of damaging the government's re-election chances by leaking details of his conversations with Gillard to the media, The Australian newspaper reported Friday.
Both Gillard and Rudd, who is in the United States, declined Friday to publicly comment on the reports.
Australian National University political scientist Norman Abjorensen, who predicted an Aug. 28 poll, said Rudd could become a destabilizing influence on her government and Cabinet.
"He's practiced in the dark arts of political undermining," Abjorensen said. "If Gillard has read history, you don't have an ex-prime minister close to the levers of power."
Rudd became a Labor hero when he led the party to a crushing election victory in November 2007.
He remained one of the most popular prime ministers in modern Australian history until he made a series of unpopular political moves earlier this year, including shelving a pledge to make major industries pay for the carbon gas that they emit.


Updated : 2020-12-06 09:27 GMT+08:00