Gillard, Hawke laughed off Bishop claim

Former Labor prime minister Bob Hawke believes Julia Gillard ‘will not go the distance’ and Greg Combet will be the party’s next leader, the opposition says.

Deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop says Mr Hawke aired his views of the Labor leadership at a University of Western Australia Valentine’s Day foundation dinner in Perth.

Mr Hawke denied writing off Ms Gillard, telling News ltd he had a lot of confidence in the prime minister who he said ‘inherited from the election an extraordinarily difficult situation’.

But he said Mr Combet would be an excellent successor as Labor leader.

‘Look, I am very satisfied with the leadership we’ve got. if the position became vacant? He (Mr Combet) would be excellent material,’ Mr Hawke said.

Ms Bishop said Mr Hawke ‘stunned’ guests at his table with his comments about the Labor leadership.

‘I can certainly confirm that at the dinner he was very open about his views that Julia Gillard would not go the distance,’ Ms Bishop told News ltd.

‘And that Bill Shorten was not the answer, but that Greg Combet would be the leader of the Labor Party sooner rather than later.’

Gillard, Hawke laughed off Bishop claim

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