Days after she crushed a Kevin Rudd comeback, Julia Gillard faces questions about her authority after a botched attempt to parachute former NSW premier Bob Carr into the plum foreign affairs job.
The audacious "Carr to Canberra" plan was abandoned just hours before it was to be made public on Tuesday when WA frontbencher Stephen Smith made it known he wanted his old job back.
Mr Smith agreed to surrender foreign affairs to Kevin Rudd after the 2010 election as part of Ms Gillard's peace agreement with the man she deposed.
_The West Australian _ understands Ms Gillard spoke to Mr Carr about filling a casual Senate vacancy at least twice on Monday night.
The vacancy was created when NSW powerbroker Mark Arbib unexpectedly announced his resignation from the ministry and the Senate a few hours after the Labor leadership ballot.
Ms Gillard spoke to Mr Carr after NSW Labor general secretary Sam Dastyari spoke with Mr Carr that day and raised the prospect of him taking the foreign affairs or defence portfolio.
It is understood Mr Carr made known his preference for foreign affairs to Mr Dastyari.
With Mr Carr preparing to fly to Canberra for an announcement on Tuesday, the story was leaked to the Fairfax website with a view to scuppering the agreement.
Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan rang Mr Carr that morning to say Mr Smith and others resisted the proposal and the offer was off.
Ms Gillard said yesterday that reports the appointment had been vetoed by colleagues and that she had offered Mr Carr the job last week were untrue.
"Let me make this very clear, of course my door is open to talk to people as I work my way through the reshuffle, but the decisions are mine and I'll make them," she said.
Mr Carr said that though party officers had talked to him about him filling the NSW Senate vacancy and being considered for foreign minister, "Prime Minister Gillard had definitely not made any offer about the foreign affairs ministry nor had anyone on her behalf".
Mr Smith said the allocation of ministries was up to Ms Gillard.
Deputy Opposition Leader and shadow foreign minister Julie Bishop taunted Ms Gillard for turning to an outsider in Mr Carr.Ms Gillard promised Ms Bishop: "Whoever I select won't break into a sweat wiping the floor with her."
It was a pleasure to meet with Danae, Jayden and Shannon, finalists in the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience http://t.co/IvhlEvNtUg
New machingery/equip spend down for 4th consecutive quarter. Lowest level since Dec 2010.
Confirmed: Don Randall has stepped down from the Privileges and Members Interests Committee.
My story today on Indon spy scandal: English classes in Jakarta taught by Oz teachers put on hold http://t.co/Z5N4CADHAv
RT @nickbutterly: Audio now up of Def Min warning worst on leaks could be to come http://t.co/IOMRyIrEhO
RT @looksouth: Opaque justice: Greenpeace Activists Detail Russia’s Capricious Justice System, via @nytimes #arctic30 http://t.co/mOWWmTPFPG
'The West Australian' is a trademark of West Australian Newspapers Limited 2013.
All rights reserved.
Select your state to see news for your area.