Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 8 August 2010





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Government Gazette

Lagging Australia PM calls truce with knifed ex-leader

SYDNEY, Aug 7, AFP Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard buried the hatchet with former leader Kevin Rudd in a strategy meeting Saturday as the ruling Labor party battles a dangerous lag in the election race.

It was the first time the pair have seen each other since the brutal backroom coup which saw Gillard snatch the top job from Rudd, and follows his blistering return to the scene with a promise to join her campaign.

Both wearing black and grimly determined, the duo reconciled over maps of Queensland, Rudd’s home state, where Labor is suffering an angry backlash about the coup which could see them lose office after just one term.

Gillard is bleeding support in must-win Queensland seats and Rudd’s explosive return to the scene and vow of support for his former deputy is seen as a potential boost for Labor’s badly flagging campaign. Polling published Saturday showed a one-point shift to Labor following Rudd’s promise to tour Queensland with Gillard, but the Nielsen survey put Labor’s vote at 49 percent to rival Tony Abbott’s 51 percent.

The meeting was a tightly-controlled affair, with just one cameraman and one photographer granted access and no reporters allowed, and only snippets of their conversation audible.

The reunion was palpably uncomfortable, with Rudd unable to meet Gillard’s eye as they discussed a health-focussed strategy to win over voters in Queensland, which the ex-leader said was of chief concern in his home state. The pair will hit the hustings together in the vast mining, farming and tourism state Sunday in a bid to steal the thunder from Abbott’s chief campaign rally, a glitzy show of his policies to the conservative party faithful.

But managing Rudd will be a delicate balancing act, with Gillard desperate to cash in on his popularity with voters but anxious that he doesn’t overshadow her authority as leader or distract from her message.

In another bizarre and unwelcome turn for Gillard, short-lived Labor leader Mark Latham entered the fray Saturday to report on the campaign for a commercial television network.

LANKAPUVATH - National News Agency of Sri Lanka
Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL)
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