RE-ELECTED Ballarat MP Catherine King’s immediate focus is on making sure promises for her electorate are fulfilled, rather than speculating on the ALP’s current leadership battle or her own parliamentary aspirations.
“I am proud to have been returned a fourth time by the people of the region,” Ms King said.
“They have put their faith in me again, and I absolutely intend to honour that faith.”
Although she now becomes Ballarat’s second-longest serving member after Alfred Deakin, and was a two-time minister in the previous government, Ms King is refusing to be drawn on whether she could become a party leader.
“I don’t intend to discuss leadership matters. They are for the caucus and the party.
“I will not presume any particular position within the parliamentary Labor Party, but would be happy to take on any role I am invited to fill.”
Ms King was appointed Road Safety Minister in March this year by former prime minister Julia Gillard before being promoted to Regional Services, Local Communities and Territories Minister by Mr Rudd.
Previously, she was parliamentary secretary in the health and ageing, and infrastructure and transport portfolios.
When Mr Rudd deposed Ms Gillard in June, he brought in new rules the Labor parliamentary leader had to be elected by 50 per cent of MPs and 50 per cent of rank and file party members.
It also meant the support of 75 per cent of caucus would be needed to force a ballot against a sitting prime minister, or 60 per cent for a Labor opposition leader.
At the time, Mr Rudd said he wanted to ensure “the prime minister the Australian people vote for is the prime minister the Australian people get”.
Current frontrunners for the ALP leadership are former minister Bill Shorten and former deputy leader Anthony Albanese after former treasurer Chris Bowen ruled himself out of the race yesterday afternoon.