New found sense of unity can heal Labor, Elliot says
THE Member for Richmond Justine Elliot backed Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at last night's leadership spill.
The long-time supporter of Rudd said she was very pleased with the outcome because Rudd was the best person to lead the party.
"He is the best person to defeat Tony Abbott," she said.
However, she conceded the path ahead would be a difficult one for the bitterly divided government.
"We have had a difficult time, but already there is a new sense of unity to be part of the healing," she said.
"There is a lot at stake and we must deliver on Labor's commitments."
She said failure to do so would be devastating for families in the seat of Richmond.
"We have to beat his (Abbott's) extreme policies," she said.
"All he has is a negative agenda, but Kevin Rudd will talk about a positive agenda."
The 46-year-old, who holds Richmond by 6.99%, said she was even more confident of holding her seat with Mr Rudd leading the Labor Party.
Mrs Elliot said Mr Rudd was "adored" in Richmond.
"It's been important to us for a long time to really have a strong, viable alternative to defeat Tony Abbott," she said.
"Now we have that."
Mrs Elliot said her office had already started receiving messages of support for the decision to reinstall Mr Rudd
Mrs Elliot said she would not be seeking a senior position within the Government because she wanted to focus on the fight against coal seam gas.
Earlier this year Mrs Elliot resigned as a parliamentary secretary so she could concentrate on issues on her seat, chiefly to stop the expansion of coal seam gas in the area, and to spend more time with family.
"It is my number one priority to work with the people of Richmond to stop CSG mining."
Mrs Elliot said she expected Mr Rudd would announce the date of the election and his new cabinet very soon.