Australia's Labor roiled by resignations after failed leadership coup
CANBERRA (REUTERS) - Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard faced a string of ministerial resignations on Friday in the wake of a botched leadership coup against her, forcing a reshuffle of her Labor government just months from potentially disastrous elections.
Resources Minister Martin Ferguson said he would step down, joining departing Cabinet colleagues Simon Crean and Chris Bowen, as well as junior minister Kim Carr. All had backed Ms Gillard's chief rival Kevin Rudd as the party's best hope to reverse polls pointing to a thrashing by conservative opponents at the Sept 14 elections.
"I have a view it's the only honourable thing to do. I would have voted for Kevin Rudd yesterday and Simon Crean to try and give this party a fresh start," an emotional Ferguson told reporters at parliament in Canberra.
The political unrest in the country threatens to cloud decision making with elections just six months away and as the minority government readies to take leadership of the Group of 20 (G-20) and after Canberra became a rotating United Nations Security Council member.