DESPITE backing Kevin Rudd in his unsuccessful Labor Leadership challenge yesterday, Page MP Janelle Saffin congratulated incumbent Prime Minister Julia Gillard and said it was now time for the party to move on.
Below is a statement released by Ms Saffin yesterday after the leadership ballot.
Today the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party held a leadership ballot. The Caucus chose Julia Gillard, who will continue to lead our party in Parliament and lead the country as Prime Minister of Australia.
I have worked in the past with both Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard as Labor prime ministers, and have done so to the benefit of the Page electorate. Both have been good friends to our electorate and this relationship will continue.
Like Kevin Rudd, I've been a member of the Australian Labor Party for 30 years. I believe the ALP is the best vehicle to achieve fairness and justice in Australia society and I'll continue to represent the people of Page in an effective, strong and independent way.
I am heartened by the comments of both Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard today after the vote, and their gracious recognition of each others' strengths, abilities and achievements.
I know people may be disappointed, as like me, we all get to love our leaders. I know some would like to directly vote for leaders but we don't. It is not our law or tradition. The party that secures government does so.
I congratulated Prime Minister Gillard on her success and I congratulated former PM Kevin Rudd for his contribution to Australia and the Labor Party.
As Prime Minister, Kevin did Australia proud and is widely recognised as being right up there with the best. I want to say that he has left us a great legacy - leading us through the Global Financial Crisis, the Apology, the pension increases, paid maternity leave and more.
Julia as Prime Minister built on these and is building her own leadership legacy.
For me, I can say I am relieved that this is over as I stepped in a small way onto the national stage through the media as this was an important discussion.
I had declared publicly my support for Kevin Rudd and I stated my reasons. I pleased some and disappointment others, but I spoke truthfully as I do with my electorate.
I thank all the thousands of people who made their views known to me and say that I shall now continue to do what I do best - be a feisty local federal member and, in my words, get things done for the people of Page.
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