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Gillard Should Step Down So Policy Debate Can Flourish, Age Says

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June 22 (Bloomberg) -- Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, facing poor polling and media speculation she may be toppled in the coming week, should step down so policy-driven debate can flourish, the Age Newspaper wrote today.

“Voters have been so distracted by internal and external speculation about Labor’s leadership that efforts by the prime minister and her ministers to enunciate a narrative, a strategic vision, for the nation’s future beyond this year have failed,” said the newspaper, published by Fairfax Media Ltd. “A big majority of the electorate appears to have stopped listening.”

Gillard’s main rival, Kevin Rudd, who she beat in a February 2012 leadership ballot, yesterday again ruled out challenging for the top job. Even as polls show voters would give more support to a Rudd-helmed Labor, Australia’s first female leader has vowed she won’t resign. Parliament sits in Canberra for the final time next week before the Sept. 14 election.

Speculation Labor would return Rudd to the leadership to revive the party’s prospects for re-election resurfaced after he started campaign appearances for colleagues in marginal seats this month. Opinion polls indicate the Tony Abbott-led Liberal-National opposition is set to take government in a landslide win.

“Julia Gillard will be prime minister at the end of this week,” Matt Thistlethwaite, a Labor senator, said on Sky television today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Sharples in Melbourne at bsharples@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stanley James at sjames8@bloomberg.net

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