Prime Minister Julia Gillard has declared she’s “in control” of her government, amid debate over Labor’s direction and the influence of the Australian Greens.
The opposition has been taunting the prime minister over her minority government’s “Green lean”, while left and right factions are at odds over the policy settings of the ALP.
Ms Gillard, who is holding a community cabinet meeting on Brisbane’s bayside on Thursday evening, on Thursday told Fairfax Radio she had her own agenda.
“Definitely I’m in control – of course, I’m prime minister,” she said.
“(Greens leader) Bob Brown is not in the study of The Lodge all the time.”
Ms Gillard said she met regularly with Senator Brown and independent MPs.
“I meet with our ministers, I meet with our backbench and importantly I meet with Australians out and about.”
She hoped to “work productively” with the Greens on issues such as putting a price on carbon.
But Ms Gillard said Labor had its own identity.
“We have our own values, own ethos, own ways of working, we’ve got our own beliefs – the Greens are their own political party.
“They have different beliefs from us, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some things we can get together and agree on.”
The Labor leader said her party – which will tackle the issues of nuclear power and same-sex marriage at its national conference next year – could survive rigorous debates over policy.
“We can be a government and a party of ideas – we’ve got a mechanism for those passionate people to come and have their say … about a huge range of issues,” she said.
“But I will be leading the government and getting on with governing.”