Martin Ferguson, the Minister for Resources and Energy, has resigned from the Gillard government.
Following yesterday’s leadership spill debacle, Ferguson said his resignation was “the only honourable thing to do”. He voted for Kevin Rudd in last year’s leadership ballot and would have voted for Rudd yesterday if the former prime minister had contested the ballot.
Ferguson is the second minister to resign today. The Minister for Tertiary Education, Chris Bowen, announced his resignation this morning.
- Listen to Ferguson’s press conference (27m)
Ferguson said he doesn’t support the idea of by-elections and would re-contest Batman at this year’s election.
Ferguson is also the Minister for Tourism. He has held both portfolios since the election of the Rudd government in 2007. He has been the member for Batman in Melbourne since 1996. He has been a member of the frontbench in opposition and government continuously since 1996.
Prior to entering parliament, Ferguson was President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) from 1990-96. He succeeded Simon Crean who was ACTU President from 1985-90. Crean was sacked yesterday after calling on Prime Minister Julia Gillard to call a leadership spill.
In his resignation press conference, Ferguson pointedly referred to Labor values. He spoke of his pride in being involved in implementing The Accord during the Hawke government and transcending “class war”. He praised social wage measures such as Medicare and called for more “give and take”.
Ferguson said the debate over media policy over the past two weeks demonstrated the need for the government to improve its cabinet processes.