Gray stands by PM

His support comes despite a week of leadership rumours and an unprecedented battle to retain his own seat, once considered a Labor stronghold.

Ms Gillard toured Rockingham and Kwinana yesterday with Mr Gray, as polls suggested he could lose the seat of Brand in the September 14 election ” a seat that Labor has held since its inception in 1984.

Mr Gray has admitted to the Courier for more than a year that if an election was held now he would lose Brand and blames the ‘extreme negativity’ perpetrated by the Opposition.

At the 2010 election, Labor recorded a 5.5 per cent swing away in Brand while there was a 1.3 per cent swing to the Liberal party.

‘The future is not assured but the Prime Minister has a plan to strengthen the economy, grow jobs beyond mining and support families so that no one gets left behind,’ Mr Gray said.

Mr Gray was part-architect behind Ms Gillard’s leadership coup in 2009 and his continued support was rewarded with the Resources and Energy and Small Business portfolios recently. However, rumours of a Labor leadership challenge again hit the headlines this week.

Mr Gray told 6PR radio this week that Ms Gillard would lead Labor at the election.

‘She has the strength, she has the tenacity and she has the intelligence to do this job and to do it well and do it in the most difficult and trying circumstances,’ he said.

Ms Gillard is likely to return to the region before the election for more campaigning, while Brand Liberal candidate Donna Gordin confirmed to the Courier that Opposition leader Tony Abbott would also visit before polling day.

Ms Gordin said every vote would be crucial at the poll.

‘To those people that think their vote doesn’t count, it will,’ she said.

‘Labor is a party talking about themselves, not governing this country.’

The Greens announced this week that Dawn Jecks, who ran in the 2010 federal election and in the seat of Rockingham at March’s State election, would contest the seat again.

In 2010, the Greens received a 5.8 per cent swing in Brand built on its opposition to the proposed Mangles Bay marina.