Justine Elliot and Kevin Rudd walking through Tweed City Shopping Centre last October.
Justine Elliot and Kevin Rudd walking through Tweed City Shopping Centre last October. Blainey Woodham

The people want Rudd: Elliot

FEDERAL Member for Richmond Justine Elliot has backed Kevin Rudd in his bid to return to the Prime Ministership.

Ms Elliot, who has served as Parliamentary Secretary for Trade under Kevin Rudd as Foreign Minister, said her decision reflected the will of local voters.

"Locals have been telling me that they want Kevin Rudd to lead the Labor Party," Ms Elliot said.

"I believe that Kevin Rudd is the best person to lead the Labor Party and I will be voting for him if he is a candidate in Monday's ballot."

Prime Minister Julia Gillard called a leadership ballot for 10am Monday after former Prime Minister Rudd's shock resignation as Foreign Minister in Washington on Wednesday night.

Mr Rudd, who toured the Tweed City Shopping Centre with Ms Elliot in October last year and received a warm reception from shoppers, has not yet declared that he will be a candidate in that ballot, although he is widely expected to put his name forward.

Ms Elliot holds her seat of Richmond by a 7% margin. Seats below 5% margins are normally considered marginal but Federal Labor's low standing in national opinion polls means the seat could come under attack at the next Federal Election.

Earlier several senior cabinet ministers, including Martin Ferguson, announced they would back Mr Rudd if he stood in Monday's ballot.

It is not known how the crossbench MPs that the Gillard Government counts on for support would react to an unexpected Rudd victory on Monday, however both Tony Windsor and Rob Oakshott have reiterated that their deal to support a Labor government was directly with Julia Gillard, not the Labor Party.

A change in leadership could mean a fresh Federal Election could be called almost immediately, with Opposition Leader Tony Abbott saying he would advise an election straight away if he was called on by Governor General Quentin Bryce to form a government.



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