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Prime Minister Julia Gillard is this morning facing renewed pressure from the Labor caucus over her leadership.
A Kevin Rudd-Stephen Smith alliance is now being openly discussed as a viable option to Ms Gillard, raising doubts over Labor’s future line on the carbon tax, manufacturing industry, and refugee policy.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, senior Labor sources believe the government has lost its authority following mismanagement of the manufacturing industry and refugee policy.
Ms Gillard has also come under fire following her attack on the High Court, where she accused Chief Justice Robert French of acting inconsistently.
Labor insiders have labelled Ms Gillard “unelectable,” and have called for her replacement.
Earlier this week Ms Gillard was criticised by Senator Doug Cameron, who labelled her rejection of an inquiry into manufacturing as “politically dumb.”
Mr Cameron today highlighted further divisions in the party by warning against a new round of tough refugee policy.
“We can’t go down [the path of] a Pacific solution,” he said.
But right-wing Labor senator Mark Bishop has gone on the record supporting a revaluation of the Nauru option, which Ms Gillard has not yet ruled out.
Mr Bishop also criticised Immigration Minister Chris Bowen’s handling of refugee policy.
He said Mr Bowen had failed to think of the consequences of his decisions on the wider Labor movement.
“Ministerial appointment necessarily involves proper regard for the policy of the government, the broader Labor movement and the caucus itself,” he said.
“There are now repeated instances of that being disregarded.”
Mr Bowen has rejected suggestions he will resign over the policy failing.
He said had an obligation to Ms Gillard and the country to continue.
Tony Abbott said that now the Government’s Malaysia policy was in tatters it should look at reopening Nauru.