Labor promises community cabinet meeting in Darwin 


Federal Labor’s deputy leader Julia Gillard has promised a Labor Government would hold a cabinet meeting in Darwin within 12 months of being elected.

Speaking on Charles Darwin University’s campus radio station Territory FM 104.1, Ms Gillard indicated Labor would initiate a series of so-called community cabinet meetings round the country.

Ministers would then fan out into the community after Cabinet deliberations to listen to what people had to say on a range of issues.

‘We will continue to listen to the community voice in government,’ Ms Gillard told interviewer Daryl Manzie.

Her studio discussion at Territory FM was part of a whirl of appearances in Darwin for the newly-elected deputy leader, whose teaming with new Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd has already sparked a surge of support for Federal Labor in the latest opinion polls.

Ms Gillard adopted a cautious approach to Labor’s new-found popularity on Territory FM, suggesting that increasing support for Labor should be seen as a protest vote against the Howard Government.

‘Even the Government’s strongest supporters think its best days are behind it,’ she said.

In response to questioning, Ms Gillard acknowledged that one of the biggest problems in dealing with such controversial issues as health and education funding was the ‘blame game’ – the conflict between federal and State and Territory jurisdictions over responsibility for providing services.

‘Kevin and I have talked a lot about the blame game, and we’re about finding solutions that work,’ she said. ‘We’ve got to make sure every dollar spent on health and education works, and doesn’t end up wasted because of the blame game.’

Ms Gillard’s visit to Darwin was the third on her whistle-stop tour of Australia over 10 days that will see her and Kevin Rudd meeting community groups and organisations to better acquaint themselves with the issues at the grassroots levels.

After visiting the campus radio station she was scheduled to make an appearance at the nearby Casuarina shopping centre.