Unions to help Gillards ‘ defeat Abbott’


‘Unions will continue working with Julia Gillard and the Labor government to secure the economic recovery and ensure it delivers strong growth in jobs and benefits to all Australians.’

Mr Lawrence said the ACTU supported Labor’s economic, tax and social reform agenda, including its proposed tax on mining super profits.

He paid tribute to Mr Rudd’s legacy, including his leadership through the global financial crisis and his apology to the stolen generations, saying he had much to be proud of.

Australian Workers Union national secretary Paul Howes said Ms Gillard would move quickly to ‘re-establish Labor’s credentials’ among working people.

AWU secretary Bill Ludwig was instrumental in forcing out Mr Rudd, who he called ‘toxic’, saying Ms Gillard was the only option if Labor was to win the election.

‘Julia has played a central role in ridding Australia of the hated Work Choice laws,’ Mr Howes told a rally n Melbourne.

‘To keep our fair work laws for all Australians we need to get behind Julia Gillard – we cannot afford to see Tony Abbott in The Lodge.’

Mr Howes thanked Mr Rudd for ending the labour movement’s ‘years in the political wilderness’.

‘We will always be indebted to him for that important win,’ he said.

‘Kevin has done an important job, a good job but the voters have stopped listening to our message – it is important that we don’t get sidetracked by issues involving personalities.’

The Transport Workers Union said Mr Rudd’s ‘so-called colleagues and friends’ had ratted on him.

‘But that’s politics,’ Queensland branch secretary Hughie Williams said.

He said Ms Gillard would have some ‘dry gullies to cross’ but added: ‘She’s quite a clever person and I think with a little bit of help she’ll probably make a very good prime minister.’

The Australian Nursing Federation said Ms Gillard’s priorities must be health reform and industrial relations.

The powerful right-wing lobby group Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) said she must confirm Labor’s concern for the poor and the disadvantaged, and the social values that Mr Rudd held firm.

Academic Lauren Rosewarne, from the University of Melbourne, said Ms Gillard’s elevation was a fantastic day for women.

‘It would be wonderful if we didn’t need to draw attention to the fact that Julia Gillard is a woman,’ said Dr Rosewarne, who is an expert in feminist politics.

‘But she is, and it would be amiss not to pause and acknowledge this remarkable development.

‘The fact that we have to talk about her being the first female PM reminds us how far we have left to come.’

Green groups have called on Ms Gillard to put an emissions trading scheme back on Labor’s immediate political agenda.

‘We believe the Labor party’s backflip on the emissions trading scheme and its associated decline in the polls is a key reason we now have a new leader,’ WWF Australia’s chief executive Greg Bourne said.

‘No combination of energy efficiency, clean energy, soil carbon or any other policy will be enough without an ETS.’

Greenpeace said Ms Gillard should immediately introduce an interim carbon levy until an ETS could be implemented.