Oz opposition leader says Rudd wrong choice for foreign minister

Saturday, September 11, 2010

PERTH - Australia’s Deputy Opposition Leader, Julie Bishop, has said that Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s decision to appoint Kevin Rudd as foreign minister could put the country’s relations with the outside world at risk.

Bishop told reporters here this afternoon that Gillard had missed an opportunity to “clear away the wreckage of the Rudd-Gillard government”.

“The leader that was sacked by his own party because he led the government off course … is now expected to navigate Australia through our foreign policies. The leader who was sacked by his own party because he could not get along with people is now Australia’s number-one diplomat,” the Herald Sun quoted Bishop, as saying.

“The relationship between the prime minister and the foreign minister should be one of absolute trust and confidence,” Bishop added.

Bishop said Rudd had caused damage to some of Australia’s most important international relationships and was now being sent back to repair that damage.

“The Australian people know it was the Kevin Rudd camp that released information and so breached cabinet confidence against Julia Gillard and revealed her opposition to pension increases and a paid parental leave scheme,” Bishop said.

She also said it was “the Rudd camp” that had leaked the news that Gillard did not attend all national security meetings and had sent her staff instead.

Bishop said Mr Rudd’s appointment presented a risk for Australia “because of the fractured relationship between Ms Gillard and Mr Rudd”.

Bishop said Stephen Smith, who had now moved from foreign affairs to defence, had been “a steady hand on the wheel” and there was no reason why he should have not remained in foreign affairs. ANI)

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