25 Mar 2013

Attempts to overthrow Gillard continue - opposition

1:15 pm on 25 March 2013

Australia's opposition says efforts to overthrow prime minister Julia Gillard by members of her party are continuing.

Last week, Ms Gillard was able to stare down a botched attempt to replace her as prime minister.

Five ministerial positions are now vacant, the ABC reports: Simon Crean was sacked for calling the spill, and there have been further cabinet and frontbench resignations by Rudd loyalists since then.

There's also internal pressure for house leader Anthony Albanese to step down for reportedly being disloyal to Ms Gillard.

Mr Albanese had been named as a potential deputy leader if Ms Gillard was unseated.

Labor backbench MP Laurie Ferguson says he's a "gutless wonder" for staying on the frontbench but Mr Albanese denies supporting Ms Gillard's overthrow and says he will not quit.

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd, who decided at the last mibnute not to challenge Ms Gillard, has ruled out ever being Labor leader again - but the manager of opposition business, Christopher Pyne, has questioned whether that's genuine.

"I am still getting text messages from supporters of his in the caucus telling me that they plan to remove Julia Gillard in 71 days," Mr Pyne says.