Katharine Murphy July 26, 2012
Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
WITH corrosive leadership speculation swirling, Prime Minister Julia Gillard has pushed back defiantly against her detractors, declaring she will contest the 2013 poll as Labor leader in order to lock in her policy legacy.
Ms Gillard used a television interview with the ABC last night to inform twitchy colleagues she was the leader for the task, and was not going anywhere. ''I want to lock these reforms in and I want to build on them. I've got more to do,'' she said.
The Prime Minister deployed many of her standard rhetorical formulations when pressed about her travails - that she was ''governing'' and making the ''tough decisions'' - and that explained the government's poor standing in the opinion polls. But she was also marginally more personal.
Ms Gillard said she had career options other than politics, ''alternatives'' that she chose not to pursue, because she was motivated by a desire to improve equality and opportunity, particularly in education.
''There are easier ways to live, there are easier jobs to do,'' she said last night.
''I'm someone who had alternate career pathways, I came out of the law, I made a decision to do [politics] - I made a decision to do it first and foremost because I was incensed as a young person that there were kids who weren't getting a decent education. It's what propelled me into politics. It's propelling me on today.''
Ms Gillard said she would be the Prime Minister until the election in 2013, and then it would be over to the voters.
''The pressure is there because we're doing the big things, we're doing the Labor things, we're shaping this nation's future and my confidence is we've got so much more to do and I'm the person to drive it, and drive the team as we get there.''
Asked what she'd say to reassure nervous colleagues, Ms Gillard said: ''I would say, well, there are times in politics that are tough, and that's probably telling you you're getting the big things done.''