'Proud' PM's vow to union faithful
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has vowed to fight for the Labor cause ''each and every day'' as she attempts to stare down critics and energise her base.
In the wake of the latest Fairfax/Nielsen poll, which showed Labor's primary support slump to 30 per cent, Ms Gillard used a speech to union faithful to declare Australians would regain confidence in the government's plan.
''I come here to this union's gathering as a Labor leader,'' she told the audience at an Australian Workers' Union dinner on the Gold Coast on Monday night.
''I'm not the leader of a party called the Progressive Party, I'm not the leader of a party called the Moderate Party, I'm not the leader of a party even called the Social Democratic Party.
''I am leader of the party called the Labor Party - deliberately because that is where we come from, that is what we believe in, that is who we are.''
The declaration drew hearty applause from the hundreds of union members in the audience.
Joining the Prime Minister in speaking at conference will be Treasurer Wayne Swan, who will tell union member on Tuesday that Labor would not have wasted the boom years as former prime minister John Howard and treasurer Peter Costello did.
Mr Swan will also insist that Labor can win the election on September 14, comparing the Coalition to the Tea Party movement in America as the ''party of the few''.
''There's no sure thing in a two-horse race, especially when one of the jockeys is called Tony Abbott,'' he will say. ''We can win. We have to.''
''What I fear - what I really fear - is that a decade from now we will look back on this period as the establishment of the Australian Tea Party under the leadership of Tony Abbott,'' he will say.
''We must reject the callous Tea Party-inspired ideology which says 'you're on your own' and instead agree that ours is a country that takes care of its own.''
Ms Gillard, who earlier on Monday refused to comment on the latest poll, said she was proud to be Labor leader and would fight for the cause every day before the September 14 election.
''I am very confident that as we fight that campaign Australians will see that we have the plan for the nation's future that is right for their families and for their children and for the nation.''
In the determined speech, Ms Gillard stressed her plans to reform school funding to improve education and to launch the National Disability Scheme to better support Australians.
The Prime Minister said Labor abolished the former government's WorkChoices legislation ''because it wasn't the Australian way'', but there was more to be done to improve decency and fairness.
Ms Gillard joked that AWU secretary Paul Howes - who was influential in the dumping of Kevin Rudd in 2010 - had been labelled a faceless man ''but no one's ever accused him of being a voiceless man''.
After a standing ovation for Ms Gillard, Mr Howes said the speech had filled him with confidence about the year ahead.
He said he was ''pretty confident'' the AWU's 140,000 members would ''march towards September and make sure we re-elect Julia Gillard and her government''.
The AWU's national conference runs until Thursday.