Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott Blaze Early Campaign Trail for 2013 Federal Election
By Erik Pineda | January 25, 2013 3:57 PM EST
Labour and the Coalition have pushed the campaign buttons early in 2013, analysts said. Prime Minister Julia Gillard is consolidating her power-base within the ruling party while Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has instructed Liberal MPs to spread words about the party platform.
Ms Gillard was attempting to put up a winning lineup for her party, still lagging in opinion polls, and she thought it wise to pull off a 'politically correct' manoeuvre. She picked out sports celebrity Nova Peris out of the blue for the top Northern Territory senate seat.
A prominent member of the Australian indigenous community, the move to suddenly thrust Ms Peris into limelight appears calculated and will redound to Labor's benefits. But the promotion also meant that somebody inside Labor will have to give up a seat.
In this case, it was Senator Trish Crossin, a 15-year veteran at the federal parliament. Claiming in a statement that she is Labor through and through, Senator Crossin wondered aloud if she deserved the Gillard treatment.
Ms Gillard thanked the NT senator for her long service but insisted that the Labor member needs to move out and graciously make way for the outsider Ms Peris.
The prime minister summer up her reasons with these words: "There has never been an indigenous Australian who has served as a federal Labor representative. I'm determined that, at the 2013 election, we change that."
Labor figures cried foul. Senator Doug Cameron called the ousting of Senator Crossin as brazen display of power on Ms Gillard's part.
"(Senator Crossin) is a loyal, hard-working, competent senator, who was well respected within parliament, being treated like we would never accept for an ordinary worker," Senator Cameron was quoted by News Ltd in a report.
Political analysts offered that if Ms Gillard was trying to win political points, starting in a brutal manner just to flex her muscle will not help at all. They point to the national surveys, which suggest that she is popular compared to Mr Abbott.
However, it is Mr Abbott who will likely occupy The Lodge later this year because the Coalition remains poised to win the federal election. The opposition still commends comfortable margins both in primary and preference contests.
But he is aware that unlike in the early months of 2012, the Liberals are not unbeatable anymore.
In a conference with colleagues, Mr Abbott urged the party to target Aussies at grassroots and make them aware of his "positive plans for Australia."
His campaign to become the next prime minister will centre on visions "for a strong and prosperous economy and a safe and secure Australia," Mr Abbott told the phone conference attendees, which numbered to 165 MPs, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
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