Rudd blasts Labour 'defeatism culture'

2013-06-08 08:00
Kevin Rudd (Picture: AFP)

Kevin Rudd (Picture: AFP)

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Sydney - Former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd on Friday hit out at the "culture of defeatism" in Julia Gillard's ruling Labour party, which is facing an election drubbing in September.

With just under 100 days to go until the polls, Rudd launched a television blitz to rally the Labour troops, urging them to resist "hauling up the white flag".

"There's too much of a culture of defeatism on the part of various folks on our side," said Rudd, who remains far more popular according to opinion polls than the woman who ruthlessly ousted him as leader in 2010.

"What I'm saying very loud and clear to all those folks is that this is not the time to start constructing alibis for defeat, this is a time to implement a strategy for victory."

Rudd, who launched an unsuccessful challenge to Gillard in 2012 and was at the centre of another botched leadership coup in March, insisted she now had his support.

He added that she was showing "very strong leadership under difficult circumstances" for Labour.

The party is facing an election wipe-out with opinion polls last week showing that the conservative opposition was ahead 58-42 on a two-party basis, which excludes the minor players.

Asked why the public did not seem to be listening to Gillard, Rudd said: "You know the great saying in politics that a week is a very long time. Well let me tell you, 100 days is an eternity."

Labour’s ‘strong record’

He added that Labour has a "phenomenally strong record" on the economy, pointing to Australia's low interest rates, unemployment and debt levels.

"We, on the basis of our economic record, deserve re-election," he told ABC television.

Labor scraped into office in 2010 with a minority coalition, but is now unpopular with voters mistrustful of the factional warring that delivered Gillard to power.

The prime minister has withstood two challenges to her Labour leadership, the most recent in March when Rudd declined to put his hand up and she won unopposed.

Opposition leader Tony Abbott has been campaigning ahead of the 14 September polls on issues of trust after Gillard reneged on a pre-election promise not to impose a carbon emissions tax.

She was also forced in December to abandon a long-held vow to bring the budget back to surplus this year, after plunging commodity prices caused by a slowdown in China hit government coffers.

Read more on:    julia gillard  |  kevin rudd  |  australia
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