27 Feb 2012

PM sends congratulation text to Gillard

7:00 pm on 27 February 2012

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key as sent a text to Australian counterpart Julia Gillard congratulating her on what he says was a decisive win in the leadership ballot.

Ms Gillard survived a challenge for the leadership of the Australian Labor Party from former Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, with a vote of 71 to 31 in her favour on Monday.

The leadership was decided at a meeting of 102 caucus members at Parliament House in Canberra and the margin is the biggest win in a Labor leadership ballot in 30 years.

Mr Key says Ms Gillard can now get on with the job of being prime minister.

He says they have been in contact by text on Monday afternoon and spoke over the weekend.

Mr Key says he knows her well and sometimes leaders need a bit of support.

However, he would not offer an opinion on Kevin Rudd's future, saying that is up to Mr Rudd.