New Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
New Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Bligh shocked by Rudd's departure

PREMIER Anna Bligh admitted she was shocked at the “ruthless” tactics that led to the demise of Kevin Rudd.

Ms Bligh, on a flying visit to Toowoomba yesterday, welcomed Australia’s first female prime minister and farewelled former leader and close friend, Mr Rudd.

Ms Bligh said Mr Rudd would go down in history as one of the country’s hardest-working prime ministers.

“He will be remembered as the prime minister who led Labor out of a very long opposition and into government,” she said.

“(He was) a prime minister determined to make every second count.”

Ms Bligh was quick to admit she was taken by surprise at the events that preceded Mr Rudd’s ousting.

Mr Rudd stood aside early yesterday morning after it became clear he had lost crucial support.

“I, like many other people, am a bit shocked by the speed with which this has happened and it has been pretty ruthless,” Ms Bligh said.

“The game of politics and the business of politics are savage and brutal at times and over the last 24 hours we’ve seen that at work here in Australia.”

The premier said Julia Gillard must reconsider Labor’s proposed mining tax and its stance on an emissions trading scheme.

“There’s obviously no point changing leadership unless the federal party makes some decisions about changing the direction that Australians have been, I think, indicating they don’t want to see.”

A suggestion that her position might go in the same way as Mr Rudd’s was firmly quashed by Ms Bligh.

“As momentous as the machinations in Canberra might be, there are certainly no similar moves here in Queensland,” she said.

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