Federal industry minister Greg Combet has resigned from his portfolio, citing his support for former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who was beaten in a caucus ballot on Wednesday night.
Combet congratulated Kevin Rudd, officially sworn in as PM on Thursday morning, and explained that, “In the circumstances, I believe it is appropriate that I resign from my position as Minister for Climate Change, Industry and Innovation.
“It is now important that Mr Rudd has a clear opportunity to argue Labor’s case and to appoint his own team to take up the fight to [opposition leader] Tony Abbott.”
Combet’s time as a minister was significant for the installation of the government’s carbon tax, which the opposition has vowed to repeal if it is elected, and his overseeing a period of difficulty for the manufacturing industry, highlighted by Ford’s announcement in May that it would stop making cars in Australia in 2016.
In recent days Combet’s stated loyalty to Gillard has been under question, after reports that he tried to cut a deal with Rudd in late 2011, offering to serve as federal treasurer if Rudd were to defeat Gillard. Combet is said to have been unhappy with then-PM Gillard’s presentation of the carbon tax.
"Minister Combet met with Mr Rudd in 2011, in Mr Rudd's then capacity as foreign affairs minister, to discuss upcoming international climate change negotiations," a spokeswoman for Combet told The Daily Telegraph.