Aussie PM Survives Party Revolt

Plus: She apologizes for decades of forced adoptions

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 21, 2013 8:40 AM CDT

(Newser) – Australian PM Julia Gillard dodged a bullet today, avoiding an ouster when potential challenger and predecessor Kevin Rudd opted not to run against her. A Labor minister called for a leadership ballot for the struggling party ahead of elections in September. Viral rants aside, Gillard has faced popularity issues since replacing Rudd. The Cabinet minister said an election victory depended on returning Rudd to the helm—but in a surprise move, Rudd rejected the opportunity, leaving Gillard unopposed on the leadership ballot, the New York Times reports.

Rudd said he was honoring a promise not to challenge Gillard. "I’ve given that word, I gave it solemnly in that room after the last ballot and I will adhere to that word today," he said. Also today, Gillard apologized on behalf of the government for some 225,000 forced adoptions between 1951 and 1975, AFP reports. Often, unmarried pregnant women were pushed into giving up their babies; a victimized mother called it "kidnapping." "To you, the mothers who were betrayed by a system that gave you no choice and subjected you to manipulation, mistreatment, and malpractice, we apologize," she said.

Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard makes a statement to the media after a leadership ballot in Canberra, Australia, Thursday, March 21, 2013.   (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)
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