And you thought a week was a long time in politics. Two hours after the first intimations of action, Kevin Rudd has announced he will face a leadership challenge from Julia Gillard at 9am tomorrow. Speaking at his press conference, Rudd invoked indigenous issues, the mining tax, pensions and climate change in a clear pitch to the party’s left, whom he called on to stand tough against the machinations of the Right faction heavies who have brought the situation to a head.
For my money, if the party room’s electoral prospects are what matters to it, there is little choice for it but to back Gillard. The warlords have moved against Rudd because they are brutally aware that it is he who is dragging them down in the polls and threatening their re-election prospects. In his absence, the government will be able to modify damaging policies as Rudd could not afford to, for fear of being called out over another backflip. Labor would also enter the election with a credible and certain story to tell about the next three years, the lack of which defeated Howard more than any single factor with only the possible exception of WorkChoices. Then there’s the feel-good factor of our first woman prime minister, which most voters recognise as overdue. Finally, I suggest that Glenn Milne’s thoughts last week on the dynamics of a Gillard-Abbott election battle would end up looking highly prescient after the event.
Over to you.
UPDATE: And with what great timing, we get the long-awaited quarterly cumulative Newspoll. This combines polls five from April to June, which successively had Labor’s party vote at 54, 49, 50, 51 and 52, allowing state and demographic results to be provided from a reasonable sample size. The state breakdowns show a surprisingly mild move against Labor in Western Australia, from 51-49 behind in January-March to 53-47 in April-June. While Labor has crashed seven points on the primary vote to 31 per cent, the dividend has gone entirely to Greens and others. If the result was uniform, Labor would hold its own on those numbers. The only other state with Labor trailing is Queensland, where Labor fell from 51-49 ahead to 52-48 behind. New South Wales and Victoria recorded little change with Labor leading 52-48 and 56-44, while their lead in South Australia dived from 55-45 to 51-49.
There was little sign of recent turmoil among voters over 50, among whom the Labor vote held steady on 37 per cent. It was a case of other age groups falling to that level: Labor fell five points to 39 per cent among 18-34s, and seven to 36 per cent and 35-49s. The Coalition primary vote was up three points among men to 43 per cent but steady on 39 per cent among women, who have instead sent votes lost to Labor to the Greens and others.
UPDATE 2 (Thursday morning): Not sure how much it’s worth now, but The Advertiser ran a poll this morning of 530 voters from the seat of Adelaide, where Labor holds a margin of 8.5 per cent but has been said to be in trouble. The poll doesn’t entirely bear this out: Labor’s primary vote was down 7 per cent from the election to 41 per cent, but the Liberals are also down from 37 per cent to 35 per cent suggesting the undecided had not been distributed and most of the dividend went to the Greens, up 6 per cent to 16 per cent. In two-party terms, Labor retained a handsome 57-43 lead.
UPDATE 3 (Thursday afternoon): Comments thread talk tells us Galaxy are in the field, suggesting we can expect the first poll of the new era either in the Sunday News Limited tabloids.
2,812 comments on “Rudd vs Gillard: 9am tomorrow”
What double standards you possess – you were happy for the “Faceless Men” to elevate Rudd, but you attack them when his time was up.
Willagee By-Election – Gerry Georgatas knifed for Hsien Harper – not quite the PM, but a classic example of the “Party Machine” in operation.
Phew, just spent the last couple of hours reading through all the posts. Lots of passion and hard-headedness. Very sad about Rudd but I have also found Gillard to be extremely able. Gus, if you are still on, have a good night’s sleep.
Senator Faulkner was due to make an announcement this week on the future of Australia in Afghanistan. Perhaps that has been put back by other “events”. However, it will be interesting to see what announcement he eventually does make.
I think, for perhaps a small percentage of the electorate, this issue will determine how they view the Gillard government.
Note the following re Alan Carpenter:
The coup as the Advertiser sees it
“While Ms Gillard was sounding out her colleagues, a three-person delegation – Senator Feeney, Senator Farrell and Steve Hutchins, from NSW – paid a visit to Treasurer Wayne Swan. It was about 5.30pm.
The Treasurer, who had worked closely with Mr Rudd in devising the Government’s massive stimulus package, would be crucial to the final outcome of this coup.
They wanted him to support the move against Mr Rudd and become the Deputy PM.
Mr Swan gave no commitment but signalled to the Gang of Three (Mr Shorten was supposed to have been there, but had been delayed in the Parliament) that he wanted to consult with his colleagues.
The parliamentary day, the second last before the scheduled winter recess, was to become far more hectic for the growing group of plotters.
Industry Minister Kim Carr, a key Gillard ally, was brought into the leadership plot, as was NSW backbencher Laurie Ferguson. Minister of Border Protection Brendan O’Connor was by Ms Gillard’s side for most of the day. The plot had been kept secret as the numbers were counted.”
It seems Feeney is basking in the glory of being a “Queen Maker” and showing how powerful he really is. Probably also staking his “rightful” claim to a ministerial salary and leather seated car.
[ Labor MPs cited the case of one of the organisers of the Gillard coup, the Victorian Right senator David Feeney. Last September Mr Feeney led a delegation of Labor MPs to meet Rudd to discuss backbenchers’ concerns about the government’s decision to cut MPs’ printing allowances. Rudd directed an expletive-laden tirade at him.
”Feeney’s card was pretty much stamped ‘Never to be promoted’ and Feeney was publicly humiliated just for taking backbench concerns to the leader,” a factional ally of the senator said.
”Rudd left this group on the backbench in exile and over time their resentment has been growing and growing. Rudd left it festering. ]
When adversity struck, leader was without friends
And the award for sharpest and most entertaining poster goes to…Gusface!
Thanks everyone, I’m a bit jaded, but I feel a bit better now. I’m glad not the only one seething.
You may be seething now, but will have the same amount of rage when your iaction results in an Abbott Govt with Workchoices Mk 2 ??
While Feeney is basking in the glory of being a “Queen Maker” it seems that Arbib, who is clearly not an eejit, is attempting to distance himself from the coup.
[ Last night, while some said Arbib simply boarded the train that was the Gillard leadership push, others insisted he was instrumental, planting leaks in the press for weeks to undermine Rudd. ”He’s the biggest harlot in the caucus when it comes to the media,” an opponent said.
”If you’re now hearing that he was a passenger on the train, not the driver, that’s an attempt to guard his arse so it doesn’t look like he plotted to take down an elected prime minister.” ]
Arbib might have installed Gillard but opponents warn she’s no puppet
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