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Gillard to lead Australian Labor gov't into next election: minister

(Xinhua)

08:50, September 05, 2011

CANBERRA, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) -- Australian federal Immigration Minister Chris Bowen on Sunday reassured that Prime Minister Julia Gillard will lead the Labor government into the next election.

Gillard's leadership is under scrutiny after the High Court's decision to reject the government's Malaysian solution for asylum seekers, with reports saying that some members of parliament (MPs) are discussing possible replacements for leadership, including her predecessor Kevin Rudd.

However, Bowen reject the reports, saying that Gillard is very firmly the leader of the Labor government, and she has firm support of the caucus.

He said every prime minister goes through periods of unpopularity.

Meanwhile, School Education Minister Peter Garrett said everybody he speaks to recognizes the government is going through a difficult spell, but is also fully supportive of Gillard.

He rejected any suggestion that former prime minister and current Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd should return to the leadership.

Earlier, Gillard also assured that her minority government would run its full term, with her as leader, until an election due in late 2013.

As a result of the High Court ruling, more than 330 asylum seekers the government wanted to transfer to Malaysia are in limbo on Christmas Island until a decision is made on where to send them for processing.

The ruling has also left the federal government reeling without a credible border protection policy, and increased the likelihood of a fresh wave of boat arrivals.

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