Australian deputy PM rules out leadership speculation

17:15, May 10, 2010      

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Australian Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Monday ruled out replacing Prime Minister Kevin Rudd as leader before the next election.

According to the latest Nielsen poll, published in Fairfax newspapers, Rudd's approval rating slumped by 14 percent in a month.

This figure represents the biggest slump in a prime minister's approval rating in a decade.

For the first time, Rudd's disapproval rating is higher than his approval rating, although he is still the preferred prime minister over Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.

Gillard brushed off suggestions she could be the next leader of the Labor Party.

"I'm focused on my job as Deputy Prime Minister. I love it and particularly I am proud of our achievements in education and in workplace relations.

"We've so much more to do, including rolling out, for example, national testing this week," she said.

According to the poll, Labor and the Coalition are now even on a two-party preferred basis.

Gillard said tough decisions are behind the government's slide and she still supports Rudd as prime minister.

"He is leading the government in what has been some difficult circumstances, as we front up to some hard decisions, and provide the economic leadership that people want and need," she said.

Source: Xinhua
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