Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard defended her job Friday after newspapers reported rifts in government ranks over her leadership and a scuttled policy to send hundreds of asylum seekers to Malaysia.
The government is reeling from a High Court ruling on Wednesday that thwarted its plan to send 800 asylum seekers to Kuala Lumpur in a policy aimed at deterring others from journeying to Australia by boat.
The ruling is a major blow to the credibility of the ruling Labor Party, which was already plumbing record lows in opinion polls. Anonymous government sources told newspapers Gillard could soon be overthrown as her party's leader in an internal government coup.
But Gillard told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio on Friday that none of her colleagues had raised with her frustration with her leadership.
"I'm not going anywhere," Gillard told ABC. "I'm the best person to do this job and I'll continue to do it."
Poor opinion polling prompted Labor lawmakers to dump then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in favor of Gillard in June last year.
But Labor's polling has now worsened to catastrophic lows under Gillard two years out from the next election.
Gillard was re-elected in August last year with a promise to send asylum seekers to a regional processing center that Australia would build on East Timor. East Timor never agreed to the plan, so Gillard turned her attention to Malaysia with a policy that is now in tatters. The High Court ruling also casts doubt over another proposal to send asylum seekers to a malaria-prone island off Papua New Guinea.
The government is also weighed down by Gillard's broken promise to never introduce a tax on carbon gas emissions, and most commentators give her administration no chance of retaining power at 2013 elections. Instead, most argue that Labor must focus on limiting the looming loss.
"The idea of replacing her is no longer pie in the sky," an unnamed government minister told The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.
The Herald Sun newspaper cited unnamed senior government figures as saying Gillard had "lost her authority" and must weigh up whether remaining prime minister was in Labor's best interests.
Senior government figures spoke out in support of Gillard on Friday.
"She's the right person at the right time for this nation," said government minister Bill Shorten, who is touted as a future potential prime minister.
Under the deal with Malaysia, Australia agreed to accept 4,000 registered refugees in return for Malaysia processing the refugee applications of 800 asylum seekers. The government has indicated that Australia will honor the agreement by resettling those refugees over four years.
Authorities expect the High Court ruling will trigger a surge in asylum seekers leaving Malaysian and Indonesian ports by boat bound for Australia.
(This version CORRECTS spelling of former prime minister's name.)