ROLLING UPDATES: Live: Labor leadership crisis
PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has been elected unopposed after there was no challenge in the Labor leadership ballot.
Kevin Rudd declared he wouldn't challenge for the Labor leadership after Senior ALP frontbencher Simon Crean called on Ms Gillard to call a spill of the Labor leadership early this afternoon. She retaliated by agreeing, with a ballot due at 4.30pm.
Mr Crean said: "Something needs to be done to break this deadlock . . . for once and for all."
''I am asking her to call a spill of all leadership positions,'' Mr Crean told journalists in Canberra. ''I will not be standing for the leader. I will be putting myself forward in the leadership team for the deputy leader.''
Bendigo MP Steve Gibbons declared he would again vote for Julia Gillard.
Mr Gibbons voted for Julia Gillard in last February’s leadership challenge. He said at the time Mr Rudd had lost the support of his colleagues and his former job because of a “chaotic and deeply offensive style of leadership”.
For anyone interested I will be voting for Gillard today.— Steve Gibbons (@SteveGibbonsMP) March 21, 2013
He also labelled Mr Rudd a prima donna, a psychopath and an egomaniac in a rant on twitter in February 2012.
Mr Gibbons said he did not know much about the circumstances which led to Simon Crean’s call this afternoon for a leadership spill.
“I didn’t expect Simon Crean to do what he’s done,” he said.
“I don’t know the circumstances leading up to it.”
He said he said he was still positive Labor could be led to an election victory in September’s poll.
“I’ve always believe that when the election properly gets underway, Labor will be very competitive. “I’ve never been spooked by what my colleagues will.”
Labor candidate for Bendigo Lisa Chesters said she would continue to campaign regardless of who the leader of the party was.
“Does this help the Labor situation? No," she said.
“Simon Crean has spoken about how it is distracting from the achievements of the Labor government.
“What I’m keen to be talking about is policy."