The new Australian Prime Minister – Julia Gillard (49) – was struggling today after having to back down over her policy announcement of a refugee processing centre in East Timor, or New Zealand. Late today Gillard was backing off her earlier announcement saying that the proposed centre would not necessarily be in East Timor after all.
The backtrack comes in the wake of revelations that the inexperienced Prime Minister consulted with the wrong political leader in the Timorese government. Instead of speaking with her counterpart – the Prime Minister of Timor – Ms Gillard spoke with the Head of State – the President. It would be the equivalent of President Obama phoning our Governor General for a chat about defence policy – rather than John Key.
Meanwhile Opposition Leader Tony Abbott was making the most of Ms Gillard’s flip flop just days into her new job. Some of the ALP must be starting to wonder whether they hurried the leadership decision a couple of weeks ago.