By Mehroz Siraj
Canberra: Kevin Rudd capped off a historic day by winning the leadership ballot against Julia Gillard and then praising her government’s achievements in a media conference that followed shortly after.
Fresh from a leadership victory, Kevin Rudd and the new Deputy
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese addressed the Australian media on the night of June 26 to deliver their first speeches since winning the Labor Party leadership earlier in the day.
Rudd, who would now be the new ALP leader and prime minister of
Australia, praised his predecessor, Julia Gillard.
“She is a woman of great strength and energy,” he said.
“She has achieved much under the circumstances of being held against a minority government,” he added.
He further remarked that without the tireless efforts of Gillard, massive legislations such as the Fair Work Act, Gonski reforms and the
National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) would not have ever been possible.
“She has been a remarkable reformer,” he said, emphasising that she should be proud of the achievements that her government had earned.
Rudd also lamented the rise of negative politics and fear-mongering in Australia over the last few years and said that it had made many people move away from politics.
“Politics has failed the Australian people over the last few years,” he said, accepting the idea that personal attacks and all out exhibitions of negativism had contributed towards a crash of public confidence in the federal government.
“I want to ask you to come back,” he said, while addressing those
Australians who were disillusioned with the state of political debate in the country.
“We want you to come back and support us,” he added, emphasising upon the idea that the viewpoints and involvement of young
Australians was required in order to lay the foundations for a prosperous future.
These views were also supported by Albanese who said that the successful transfer of power from Gillard to Rudd had laid the firm foundations of ensuring another Labor electoral victory in September.
If re-elected for a third term, the ALP government under Rudd would be facing immense economic and social challenges, Albanese said.
In their respective statements, both, Rudd and Albanese called for a unanimous approach to be undertaken with the aim of keeping a ‘negative’ Tony Abbott out of government.
“I cannot stand idle and allow an Abbott government into power,” Rudd said, when asked about his decision to challenge Gillard for the leadership.
Albanese and Rudd noted in their respective addresses that issues such as productivity in the economy and school education reforms were of a critical importance and that their government would have to address these issues.
“Time has come for us adjust to the new challenges,” Rudd said.
These challenges were about working towards lifting productivity across different sectors of the economy and about planning for a post-mining boom Australia, Rudd added.
Earlier in the day, the outgoing leader of the ALP, former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, resigned from her leadership positions as she accepted the damning outcome of leadership spill in which Rudd won 54 votes to her 45.
In her concession speech, Gillard talked about the challenges that her government faced since the 2010 federal election and also shed light on her administration’s many achievements.