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Swan forced to defend Labor leadership at G20

Treasurer Wayne Swan has been forced to defend the Labor Party’s moves to oust former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd through caucus dealing at the G20 conference in Toronto, Canada.

Julia Gillard Wayne SwanWhen pressed about Julia Gillard ascending to Prime Minister in a leadership spill last week, Wayne Swan was confident that while Kevin Rudd had worked hard to deliver strong economic leadership during the GFC, that a change in leadership was necessary after a change in sentiment within the Labor Party.

“Well when I’m talking to people internationally, what I talk about, about Australia, is the strength of our economy. Of course they’ll ask me about recent political changes in Australia and I simply explain the fact that there was a mood in the Parliamentary Labor Party for a change of leader. It was something that many felt painful but necessary.”

“But what I then go on to talk about is the strength of the Australian economy because the Australian Labor Government put in place a set of policies that meant our economy grew when other economies went into recession. We were one of only two economies that didn’t go into recession. That’s a very substantial achievement for Australia, and a very successful achievement for our political leadership at the time, the political leadership of Kevin Rudd. But what I do say to people is that the Parliamentary Party took a decision and they changed the leader and the Government is united behind our new Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.” Mr Swan said.

Wayne Swan went to some length to praise former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in his speech at the G20 summit, highlighting the popularity of the former leader amongst the G20 delegates.

“There’s no doubt that Kevin Rudd was popular amongst many of the leaders here – he did a terrific job through those years when we were fighting to entrench the G20 as a replacement for the G7.” Mr Swan said.