| 05.12,11. 01:14 AM |
Gillard fans the winds of change
December 05, 2011
PRIME Minister Julia Gillard may have unwittingly delivered more support to Kevin Rudd with her Labor conference snub of the former PM, according to several Labor MPs and ministers.
And Mr Rudd sought to play up the issue yesterday when he went out of his way to praise Ms Gillard and Treasurer Wayne Swan during his own speech in the closing hours of the ALP national conference.
Straying outside his portfolio of foreign affairs, Mr Rudd warned about the dangers for Australia's economy and a second global financial crisis in an energised speech to delegates.
Observers noted that Mr Rudd's speech appeared a deliberate attempt to highlight the snub that Ms Gillard had delivered to him in her opening address to the conference on Friday, in which she failed to mention him in a roll call of past contemporary Labor prime ministers.
"It was also pretty obvious that when he praised her and (Mr) Swan for their contributions around the cabinet table on the GFC, he was referring to when he was prime minister," one observer said.
Privately, several senior ministers were scratching their heads as to why Ms Gillard would have deliberately omitted Mr Rudd in her speech.
"It beats me," one minister said. "It was unnecessary."
But MPs were more forthright in what they claim was a tactical mistake by Ms Gillard and, while dismissing suggestions it would in itself be a trigger for leadership change, admitted it would further inflame the leadership issue.
"It was quite a significant development," one MP said. "They didn't need to do it."