‘Gillard factor’ blamed for Labor’s election loss


‘Gillard factor’ blamed for Labor’s election loss

ABCUpdated March 11, 2013, 8:50 am



A senior Western Australia Labor figure is calling on Julia Gillard to resign as prime minister, warning Labor faces an “absolute massacre” in the federal election if she stays on.

Alannah MacTiernan, who has been involved in West Australian politics for decades, made her comments after Labor suffered a resounding loss at the weekend’s state election.

The ABC’s election computer predicts Labor, led by Mark McGowan, will hold just 19 seats in the 59-seat WA legislative assembly.

Some ALP figures have said the unpopularity of the Federal Government contributed to the loss, with Defence Minister Stephen Smith admitting that federal Labor was a “drag” on its state counterpart.

“Our federal difficult period, which coincided with the campaign, was clearly a drag on Mark. It wouldn’t have affected the substantive outcome,” he said.

“We’ve got a range of tough political issues to work through between now and September. I’ve always been of the view when we have that election in September, it will go down to the wire.”

Ms MacTiernan has warned that the party can expect worse results at the federal election unless Ms Gillard stands aside.

“It doesn’t cause me any pleasure to say that,” she said.

“I really feel deeply for her because I know she’s trying exceptionally hard.

“But at the end of the day the Labor voters have said we don’t accept her as our leader, and if we do not take note of this there is going to be an absolute massacre in the federal election.”

Ms MacTiernan says voters in Labor’s WA heartland told her that while they voted for the ALP yesterday, they will not support the party federally.

“They’re saying they don’t like Julia Gillard, they don’t believe her,” she said.

“The only way that we can dig ourselves out, [or] have got any hope of digging ourselves out of this Greek tragedy, is for the Prime Minister to stand down.”

Ms MacTiernan’s comments and the WA election result will ensure a fresh round of leadership questions when federal Parliament returns this week for another sitting fortnight, the last before the May budget.

Special Minister of State Gary Gray, who represents a WA seat n Canberra, says: “I think it’s unreasonable to suggest that there are no federal implications of the West Australian poll.

“Premier [Colin] Barnett, the Liberal Party and the National Party were able to work together in harmony by not sniping internally, by not back-biting, by remaining focused on good governance and good government and focusing on that, rather than on themselves.”

One Labor MP has told AM the question of leadership change is now becoming more urgent.

Mr Gray is urging his federal colleagues to view a Newspoll due out this week with calm and perspective.

“Let’s not get too diverted by the week-to-week, day-to-day opinion polling that will happen on a regular basis between now and September 14,” he said.

Ms Gillard released a statement on Sunday afternoon congratulating Mr Barnett on his re-election, and WA Labor for their hard-fought campaign

“The Gillard Government looks forward to continuing to work with the Barnett Government on a range of important initiatives which will benefit the people of Western Australia and recognise the importance that WA plays to the national economy,” she said.
Counting will resume today, with the seats of Kimberley, Collie-Preston, Eyre, Warren-Blackwood, Belmont and Midland yet to be decided.

One thought on “‘Gillard factor’ blamed for Labor’s election loss

  1. Neville

    11 March, 2013

    MP. Stephen Smith was very honest in the election Telecast
    He called the situation, as any one watching, would have
    agreed seeing the Labor losses as they came in.
    There is no doubt that the Gillard Leadership was a contributing factor to the Labor loss in WA,

    Perhaps Stephen Smith should replace Gillard as PM.
    At least he is honest and truthful.

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