Topics:  australian labor party, janelle saffin, julia gillard, kevin rudd

Saffin backing Rudd in ALP vote

Ms Saffin and Ms Elliot both said people in their electorates were telling them they wanted Mr Rudd back in the driver's seat.
Ms Saffin and Ms Elliot both said people in their electorates were telling them they wanted Mr Rudd back in the driver's seat.

PAGE MP Janelle Saffin has rejected Prime Minister Julia Gillard's attack on Kevin Rudd's time as Labor leader.

Ms Saffin, along with Richmond MP Justine Elliot, who was Minister for Ageing under Mr Rudd, yesterday said she would support the former prime minister in a leadership ballot.

However she warned it was time for Labor MPs to stop publicly discussing the issue and handing ammunition to the Opposition.

During a press conference to announce the Labor leadership would be put to a ballot on Monday morning, Ms Gillard variously described Labor under Mr Rudd as having been "chaotic", "paralysed", and "dysfunctional".

Ms Gillard's comments followed criticism and invective from several senior cabinet ministers, among them Attorney-General Nicola Roxon, Treasurer and Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan, Regional Development Minister Simon Crean, Health Minister Tanya Plibersek, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and Trade Minister Craig Emerson.

However, Ms Saffin disagreed with the Prime Minister.

"I didn't see it like that," she said.

"My view is the less they (Labor MPs) say on any side ... the better."

Ms Saffin said the people responsible were only now starting to tell the story behind their decision, when they should have done it at the time.

Ms Saffin and Ms Elliot both said people in their electorates were telling them they wanted Mr Rudd back in the driver's seat.

"It's clear people across Page - not all of them but most - overwhelmingly they still support him and see Kevin Rudd as a leader and the best person to lead us into an election," Ms Saffin said.

"People have been saying that to me every day since it (Mr Rudd's dumping) happened in 2010 and I'm out everywhere in the electorate doing things."

Ms Gillard and her supporters have said she is expected to easily win Monday's ballot.



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