Saffin quits as whip after leadership spill
MEMBER for Page Janelle Saffin was one of the 20 Labor MPs in Kevin Rudd's office yesterday afternoon urging him to challenge for the leadership of the ALP and a return to the prime minister's office.
And following the retention of Julia Gillard as Prime Minister, Ms Saffin quit as a government whip.
Ms Saffin said Mr Rudd chose not to stand after Ms Gillard declared a leadership spill, because he had given his word not to stand against his leader and did not want to split the party.
She said there was no talk of numbers in the room as they tried to get Mr Rudd to change his mind.
"He just stuck to his word. He's a person of honour that way," Ms Saffin said.
"If he ran, the party would have been divided down the middle and he said he wouldn't run."
Ms Saffin said Gillard backer and former Arts Minister Simon Crean to call for the spill was strange, but she didn't think it smacked of panic.
She did not want to second- guess Mr Crean's motives, but denied it reflected a lack of unity.
"There's no lack of unity. There's a clarity that Tony Abbott should not be the person who becomes the prime minister."
Ms Saffin said the job for her was to ensure she served her electorate to the best of her ability.
"Locals know I've been a supporter of Kevin Rudd's for a long while, that's no secret and I'm very disappointed Kevin chose not to run for the Labor leadership," Ms Saffin said.
Ed Husic and Joel Fitzgibbon also quit as whip and chief whip.