Julia Gillard during a visit to St George.
Julia Gillard during a visit to St George.

Gillard says she will stay as MP even if Labor loses

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has committed to staying on as the member for Lalor even in the likely event Labor loses the federal election.

A spokesman told The Australian on Monday morning Ms Gillard would "serve a full term" after the election.

The spokesman was responding to comments Ms Gillard made in an exclusive interview with The Guardian Australia, in which she refused to say whether she would force a by-election in Lalor if Labor lost power but she retained the seat.

Ms Gillard, who said she did not spend time thinking about post-election scenarios, holds Lalor by a comfortable margin of 22.15% after securing a 6.62% two-party-preferred swing at the 2010 election.

"I don't spend time thinking about the days beyond (the election). Obviously I spend a lot of time thinking about Australia and public policy and what we need to achieve, but I don't spend time thinking about what would I do as the member for Lalor if, so any of those questions you'd need to ask me some time after the 14th of September," Ms Gillard told The Guardian.

"I feel an incredible sense of privilege to be the member for Lalor ... but I am not going to sit here war gaming what would I do if we were in government, what would I do if we were in opposition. I don't spend my time thinking about it, so I couldn't give you a thought through answer. That's not what I spend my efforts doing."

The practice of prime ministers and long-serving senior ministers resigning from politics after an election is not unusual.

For example, former prime minister Paul Keating forced a by-election in the seat of Blaxland after Labor lost the 1996 poll.