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Australian PM committed to make predecessor top minister

world Updated: Jul 16, 2010 19:36 IST
Prime Minister

Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Friday pledged to give a senior Cabinet post to her predecessor Kevin Rudd if she leads the ruling Labour party to victory in elections, which could be held in late August.

"I have said that Rudd will serve as a senior minister in a re-elected Gillard government," said Gillard, the country's first woman prime minister.

The prime minister said she would be sticking to a pledge to give her predecessor Rudd a senior ministry in a re-elected Labour government.

"That is my commitment, I will honour that commitment," said Gillard, who successfully challenged Rudd for the leadership of the ruling Labour Party three weeks ago in a shock internal coup.

Amid speculation that the Prime Minister could call the election for August 28, Gillard declined to comment on the poll date.

The Prime Minister will reportedly call the election for August 28, triggering a six-week campaign that has unofficially been under way since she deposed Rudd as prime minister on June 24, media reports said.

The Australian constitution permits the prime minister to decide on an election date, which is kept secret until it is authorised by the governor general.

It has been revealed that the Prime Minister reneged on an apparent deal with Rudd that would have allowed him to stand down before an October election.

However, Gillard and Rudd have refused to elaborate on what was said on the night before she became Prime Minister in June.

The opposition predicted there will be "massive" instability within a Labour government that includes Rudd on the frontbench.

The opposition said that it can only lead to trouble.

"We are going to be in for three years of massive instability," said Joe Hockey, the opposition finance spokesman. "We've only seen the start of it now."

Labour leader Craig Emerson dismissed reports that some party members did not want Rudd back on the frontbench.

"Julia Gillard has said if Kevin Rudd seeks a position on the frontbench he will be given a very senior position," he said.

"The fact is we are a united party, we're moving forward, that's what's important to the Australian people," Emerson added.