STEPHEN SMITH’S comments came as an Essential Media poll released on Monday showed Labor’s primary vote at 30 per cent, down two points from a week earlier, and the coalition’s at 49 per cent – which would translate into a landslide win for Tony Abbott.
Ms Gillard’s personal popularity has also slumped since her carbon tax announcement earlier this year, and the High Court’s rejection of the Malaysia asylum seeker deal has renewed pressure on her leadership.
Mr Smith, who has been mentioned in media reports as a potential leader, told reporters in Canberra on Monday there was “no vacancy”.
“I am a very strong supporter of the prime minister,” Mr Smith said.
“There’s no point other than acknowledging that we are going through a tough time.
“That always happens to a government when you are seeking to effect big reforms and that’s what we are doing.”
Mr Smith said the prime minister was taking a “long-term view”.
“She’s very assiduously, and in a very determined way, applying herself and the government to the issues which confront the nation – that’s a good thing,” he said.
Former Labor leader and now Regional Development Minister Simon Crean told AAP he supported Ms Gillard.
“I reiterate my support for Prime Minister Gillard,” he said.
“My support for the leader has been consistent in my 21 years in parliament.
“Consistent, too, has been my very strong view that resorting to the revolving door of leadership challenges is not the solution to current problems.”