Rudd vs Gillard: 9am tomorrow

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.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

2,812 comments on “Rudd vs Gillard: 9am tomorrow”

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  1. really we have a choice now between Abbott and the mystery factional men … oh please if only we had a greens party with any credibility ….

  2. Psephosis toast.

    And to think he derided me for being a consiracy nut?

    Feeney’s been in on it from the start.

    Vale Psephos.

  3. Presuming Julia gets up she should at the first opportune time knock the block off the OO or any of its sycophants if they try on the same old stuff in their quest to get the unhinged one into The Lodge.

  4. [Has anyone heard if Gillard will stand for the leadership?? Very interesting dynamic possible if she choses not to.]

    She has to if she ever wants to be leader.

  5. [Can you imagine the number Andrew Bolt would do on Julia Gillard? She is a lefty and a woman the two things BoltA hates most in the world.]

    Bolta actually adores Gillard. I’m not kidding. Evidently she is very pro-Israel.

  6. Socrates – he said they wouldn’t lurch to the right on asylum seekers, would implement the ETS, and one or two other things. In short, it sounded to me like he was telling the right wing factional bosses that this is their fault, not his. But also sounded like a guy who knows he’ll be a backbencher tomorrow afternoon.

  7. [Just think for a moment what other world leaders will make of this. Australia have weathered the GFC better than any nation on earth and this happens to the leader.]
    Wasn’t it Psephos that lamented the Japanese PM’s resignation a couple of weeks ago, over a “minor” issue?

    It seems Australian politics has frivolous leadership spills too.

  8. Now talking about Turnbull on Sky.

    The hacks cant help it. They smell blood and go into a feeding frenzy. Rudd is not even cold and the talk about Turnbull starts.

  9. Julia should have told the traitors that she would only consider standing IF they agreed (in Shorten’s case) to not stand at the election. That’d test their loyalty to the cause – self interested bastards.

  10. Well I’ll give Rudd credit for his speech but the only reason he is contesting the leadership is because of the people who write the History books.


  11. I still DO think it was an MSM beatup – one that has encouraged a few opportunist, faceless nobodies from the NSW and Vic right to pursue their own ambitions.

    A coup by media- aided by rats.

    I for one hope Rudd holds on – I liked his new narrative “I was thrown off course by those who specialise in losing: the factional leaders the NSW Right”.

    If he does – I want to see the political dead strewn over Sussex St. A night of the long knives.

    If not… all hail the first female PM, (and her 3 month reign as a political zombie of the moribund NSW right?)

  12. [The First thing that Gillard need to do is to get rid of the idiots that put her there, and call a reshuffle of the cabinet.]
    Who are the few weak links that should go?
    I’ll kick off with Justine Elliot.

  13. They are totally F’d in the Head. They are going down big time. The MSM will eat them alive. Gillard is a part of the ‘kitchen cabinet’ so they are going to roast her even more. The public don’t like getting rid of a PM in one term, how are they going to react now. Insane.

    I have voted Labor federally all my life, but I think can say now I’m happy not to vote for them this time. Chaos.

  14. Before the Common Era – i.e. about half an hour ago – I uploaded Kerry O’Brien’s interview with ABC political editor Heather Ewett to YouTube, which only appeared on The 7:30 Report in WA. You can view it here. Ewatt provides a very good overview of the factional situation.

  15. This is unbelievable!

    I can’t believe it!

    Rudd has done a good job. Everything he said in his presser is true.

    Who really runs this country where our PM can be destroyed with a record like Rudd’s.

  16. That’s the third time in the past couple of weeks I’ve written a post only to find comments are closed and a new thread is up! I lose my post every time.

    Not sure Howes is on sold ground there. He appears to think a switch of leaders will ensure Labor wins the next election. He’d better be right for the AWU’s sake.

  17. When Kevin first won the election I said, ” Congratulations to all that supported him may he become a great Prime Minister.” I now say, ” may Julia Gillard become a great Prime Minister!”

  18. I predicted months ago that Rudd would be gone soon after the next election, but I had expected him to contest it as PM and win…just. Seems I gave, depending on your view, the party too much/little credit.

    This is the worst possible outcome. The NSW Right needs to be defanged. As I understand it they are the rabble that bought NSW a series of dysfunction Labor governments and nit looks like they have now spread their ambitions to the Fed party.

    Sadly for him the best result for the party would be if Rudd gets rolled tomorrow. Even a big win would leave him wounded and he’s in enough trouble already. I agree with William, he won’t ever get back the level of support he had until early this year. The punters have stop listening to him.

  19. “Earlier this evening Julia Gillard requested a ballot for the leadership. I will be writing to the secretary of caucus to convene a special meeting at 9:00am tomorrow morning,” he said.

  20. [That’s the third time in the past couple of weeks I’ve written a post only to find comments are closed and a new thread is up! I lose my post every time. ]
    Me too, tonight Aguirre.

  21. [Julia should have told the traitors that she would only consider standing IF they agreed (in Shorten’s case) to not stand at the election. That’d test their loyalty to the cause – self interested bastards.]

    Kidding aren’t you? Gillard is a child of the Labor party, and has covetted the PM’s job.

    Don’t try to play the “poor old Julia” card. She is in it up to her eyeballs and wants to stay in government, and thinks that Rudd will lose.

  22. I’m gobsmacked. Still, if it has come to this I hope those behind the “clear the decks” policy in April are now taking up positions as branch organisers in Wilcania. That sort of cynical frat-boy politics has destroyed a competent leader. I can recall several of us who criticised it at the time getting shouted down by some who said we couldn’t see the long term picture. Well that picture looks pretty stupid now.

    As for the factions – Mark Arbib and co would make their best contribution to Labor politics with a defection to the Libs.

    If Gillard does stand she will win (and needs ot for the parties sake). In that case she shoudl imediately announce a review of the ETS policy, do a deal with the Greens, and go to an election before there is time enough for the attacks to bite.

  23. [Julia should have told the traitors that she would only consider standing IF they agreed (in Shorten’s case) to not stand at the election. That’d test their loyalty to the cause – self interested bastards.]

    With us, or against us? I love it.

  24. Abbot was unelectable. An election campaign would have destroyed him. Now I am not so sure – labor are idiotically wounded by this.

    One suspects the politics of personality have played out, over common sense.

  25. Glen, do you remember how you pleaded with the Labor Bludgers to give Howie one more term because he did not deserve to go?

    Well now I’m pleading with you. Please not Abbot, I will take Cossie anyday instead but not Abbott, pretty please 😥

  26. “This cryptofascist never bothered to build a base in the party, and now that his only faction – Newspoll – is gone, he’s buggered” – unnamed Labor insider quoted on ABC

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