Australia's ruling party launches re-election bid

CANBERRA - Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has staked her government's campaign for victory in a tight election race this week on its economic record in steering Australia clear of recession during the global downturn.
Gillard used her speech to her Labor Party's official campaign launch Monday to describe how her government had prevented hundreds of thousands of Australians from losing their jobs through stimulus spending that carried Australia through the crisis with a single quarter of economic contraction.
"I acknowledge not everything went according to plan, but look at what we achieved together," Gillard said. "We emerged from this global economic crisis ... stronger than any other major economy in the world."
She also used her 40-minute speech to praise the legacy of Kevin Rudd, the prime minister she overthrew in an internal party coup in June. She explained at the time that she had ousted Rudd because the government "had lost its way."