JANELLE SAFFIN: We felt it was the right thing to do after we had been the ones to encourage Kevin to stand.
JANELLE SAFFIN: We felt it was the right thing to do after we had been the ones to encourage Kevin to stand.

Resignation as whip the right thing to do: Saffin

PAGE MP Janelle Saffin said she stepped down as government a whip after Thursday's leadership spill because it felt like the right thing to do.

Ms Saffin, fellow whip Ed Husic, and chief whip Joel Fitzgibbon all resigned their posts after the Caucus meeting after they failed to convince Kevin Rudd to challenge Julia Gillard for the leader's post.

Ms Saffin said she, Mr Husic and Mr Fitzgibbon were the first to urge Mr Rudd to challenge Ms Gillard after the Prime Minister announced she would put her leadership to a vote.

Mr Crean was stripped of his ministerial portfolios even before the vote took place and, in the end, neither he nor Mr Rudd nominated to challenge Ms Gillard or Deputy PM Wayne Swan.

However, Ms Saffin and her fellow whips voluntarily gave up their positions following the spill.

"We felt it was the right thing to do after we had been the ones to encourage Kevin to stand," Ms Saffin said.

Ms Saffin said there had been no plan for Mr Rudd to challenge Ms Gillard ahead of yesterday's spill, but once Mr Crean demanded the vote and Ms Gillard agreed to it, the three whips moved quickly to persuade the former Prime Minister to put his hand up.

Apart from again highlighting internal issues within the Labor Party, the spill also overshadowed the Prime Minister's apology to the victims of forced adoption and the passage through the Lower House of the Government's changes to the Environmental Conservation and Biodiversity Act, which Ms Saffin had previously said would effectively block coal seam gas drilling on the Northern Rivers.

Asked about the anger expressed in some quarters about the leadership debate overshadowing the apology, Ms Saffin said nothing could take the apology away from the victims of forced adoptions.


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