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Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott are both facing possible caucus revolts this morning over their handling of the manufacturing industry.
Ms Gillard yesterday rejected calls for an inquiry into the industry after meeting with steel workers in Wollongong who were about to loose their jobs.
“We don’t want to be held up by having an inquiry. There are things we need to do now,” she told reporters yesterday.
Ms Gillard’s stance sparked an angry response from some Labor MPs, with Senator Doug Cameron labelling the move “politically dumb,” according to the Australian.
“I just think it’s premature to be saying there should be no inquiry. It’s economically irresponsible not to take a close look at the manufacturing industry,” he said.
Mr Cameron said he would be pushing for an inquiry.
“I will move at the next caucus that we should have an inquiry.”
Greens MP Adam Bandt said he would also be seeking support to back an inquiry.
On the other side of politics, the Daily Telegraph is reporting that Tony Abbott is under increasing pressure from senior Liberal frontbenchers over his “protectionist” economic policy.
The Liberal disquiet follows a speech by Mr Abbott in which he appeared to support moves to protect jobs in the ailing industry.
“The government should be investigating what can be done to ensure a genuinely level playing field with a fair go for Australian companies,” he told the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia in Melbourne this week.
“If there’s a respectable case that can be made for maintaining a heavy manufacturing base on the grounds of national security … there needs to be a forum where it can be addressed.”