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February 28, 2012

The Prime Minister Julia Gillard has been challenged to demonstrate the same passion for jobs in the Latrobe Valley as she displayed to retain leadership of the Labor Party.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said ‘nothing has changed’ in the wake of Ms Gillard’s win in the ballot against former Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd.

“Ms Gillard was prepared to fight hard to keep her own job, it’s just a pity that she doesn’t demonstrate any of that passion to help workers keep their jobs in the Latrobe Valley power industry,” Mr Chester said.

“Under this government’s ‘contract for closure’ scheme, there will be hundreds of local workers who will lose their jobs if power station closures are approved, and the flow-on impact to smaller businesses will be devastating for our region.

“The people who contact me don’t want an empty promise about a so-called ‘green’ job in the future, they want the job they have today.”

Mr Chester has predicted that Labor’s leadership fight will continue, despite Kevin Rudd moving to the backbench and claiming he would not initiate another challenge.

“Julia Gillard’s problems have not been caused by Kevin Rudd. It was her fundamental breach of trust with the Australian people when she ruled out a carbon tax and then cut a deal with the Greens to introduce the new tax. That’s why voters don’t trust her,” Mr Chester said.

“The leadership battle will continue and the government will remain a distracted rabble.

“The Australian people had a close up look at the internal machinations of the Australian Labor Party this week and it was an ugly sight.

“We’ve seen Ministers lining up to bully their colleagues and express a tribal hatred for one another which was alarming for everyone listening to their media interviews.

“If these Ministers can’t treat each other with respect, how can the Australian people have any respect for this Prime Minister and her government?

“The only way to fix the mess is to hold another election and let the voters decide who they would like to take Australia forward. We live in a great nation and we deserve better than this bitter and divided government.”

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