Sydney: Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard insisted she can win another term in office at September elections, giving a fiery defence of her chances when the ‘white noise’ of politics falls away.
She was responding to newspaper reports citing unnamed MPs from her Labour party saying they expected a drubbing, with recent opinion polls showing Gillard was headed for a crushing defeat to opposition leader Tony Abbott.
The country’s first female leader admitted it had been “politically tough” in the face of what she called “a relentlessly negative opposition”, but she remained confident that when it comes to the crunch, Labour can retain office.
“When people vote in September a lot of the white noise that is politics and has been in politics over the last few years will fall away,” she told ABC television.
“People will be there, in a polling place, with a ballot paper in front of them, and it will be a very clear choice: do I want me as prime minister, Julia Gillard, a majority Labour government, a focus on jobs and on the services my family needs, a clear plan for the future?
“Or do I want the leader of the opposition, Mr Abbott, with his very clear plan for cutbacks?
“I believe we can win, because at the end of the day Australians are a smart people, the facts matter, the policies matter, and there we are with the right answers.”
Labour scraped into office in 2010 with a minority coalition but is now unpopular with voters mistrustful of the factional warring that delivered Gillard to power and has seen two challenges to her leadership in as many years.
Abbott has been campaigning ahead of the September 14 polls on issues of trust after Gillard reneged on a pre-election promise not to impose a carbon emissions tax.
She was also forced in December to abandon a long-held vow to bring the budget back to surplus this year after plunging commodity prices caused by a slowdown in China hit government coffers.
Gillard said she listened to the negative commentary, but insisted the decisions she has made were in the nation’s best interests.
“I’m pretty used to the negative chit-chat and I’m pretty used to prevailing against that negative chit-chat, and I’ll do that again in September,” she said. “My job’s to lead by example and I will be doing that. I’m doing it here and I’ll do it every day.”