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Australian PM Gillard remains head of Labor Party

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Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard addresses a press conference in Canberra on March 21, 2013.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has managed to hold onto her position as the leader of the country’s Labor Party.

The 51-year-old Gillard remained the party leader after a vote on Thursday, as MP Kevin Rudd failed to garner enough party support to replace her.

“This is a difficult day for the Australian Labor party. It is a difficult day for the Australian government. But I take my word seriously…and I will adhere to that word today,” said Rudd, while referring to a promise that he would not challenge Gillard unless he gained overwhelming support from his party.

This marks the third time that Gillard defeated Rudd in his attempt to seize control of the party, with the previous dispute thwarted in February 2012.

As Australia’s first female prime minister, Gillard led a successful coup against Rudd in June 2010, angering many voters who still hold resentment for the way she became leader.

A number of parliamentary members pushed ex-Prime Minister Rudd to take over the Labor Party amid additional fear that Gillard would damage the party’s image during the upcoming general elections slated for September 14, 2013.

Numerous opinion polls have suggested that Gillard’s conservative opposition opponent Tony Abbott has a better chance of winning the election as the Labor Party is riddled with one crisis after another.


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