Arbib advises Kevin Rudd against calling an early election

The man who played a leading role in securing Kevin Rudd’s leadership of the Australian Labour Party (ALP) says he would advise the prime minister against an early federal election.

The New South Wales (NSW) right-wing factional heavyweight, Mark Arbib, was sworn in as employment participation minister at Government House in Canberra on Tuesday.

He said the government should wait for the effects of its stimulus packages to flow through before calling the next election.

“We’ve got a stimulus package that is going to roll out over the next 18 months and there are projects underway now that need time to get moving,” he told ABC television.

“We have got construction workers on sites now so I think we should go long and get that work done so we can go to the electorate and say `this is what we have done to bolster the country, to cushion the country from the global recession.’

“I think the next election will be in 18 months.”

Mr Arbib used polling and approached key ALP MPs to topple Kim Beazley from the ALP leadership.

The opposition argues Mr Rudd’s frontbench reshuffle rewards his factional allies, including Mr Arbib.

Mr Arbib said Mr Rudd promoted people on merit.

“It wasn’t based on whose power base is here or whose power base is there and do I need to protect myself – he doesn’t,” he said.

Mr Arbib denied he was part of Mr Rudd’s inner circle.

“If you want to know who Kevin Rudd’s inner circle is, (deputy prime minister) Julia Gillard would be the key person in the prime minister’s inner circle and people like (defence minister) John Faulkner and (infrastructure minister) Anthony Albanese and I’m certainly not at that level,” he said.


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