On 26 June 2013, backbencher and former PM, Kevin Rudd, challenged flailing Labor PM Julia Gillard in a ballot for the leadership of the party, and the country, winning 57-45.
This brought to an end a tumultuous and dysfunctional Gillard Labor government marked by a string of terrible polls, Budget blowouts and policy disasters combining to indicate Labor was heading for electoral oblivion.
Rumours began spreading that a caucus petition was circulating, via Rudd supporters, for a vote to challenge then PM Gillard’s leadership. Gillard said she was unaware of this “Loch Ness Monster” petition nobody had seen nor advised her about. Nonetheless, that afternoon, she called a ballot for 7pm which brought Rudd out of the shadows, nominating that he would contest. Bill Shorten – the key “faceless man” and factional warlord in the original knifing of PM Rudd – then pivotally backed Rudd and the revenge was complete.
In the seven weeks before calling a 7 September election, PM Rudd 2.0 announced:
- a new Pacific solution to curb the boats and deaths at sea
- a swag of new taxes, and
- a deteriorating Budget.
Rudd’s Labor lost the election to Abbott’s Coalition but apparently Messrs Rudd and Shorten “saved the furniture”. Shorten – the man on the winning side of every internal Labor dispute – then won the party’s leadership and thereby became Opposition Leader. Ironically, Shorten was also protected by new rules pledged by Rudd– that a Labor leadership spill/ballot could only be forced if 60% of Caucus members signed a petition requesting a ballot (75% when in government).
Mark yet another unseemly chapter in the 10 years of ugly leadership spills in Canberra by:
- watching the ABC’s “The Killing Season” – a three-part series on the trials and tribulations of the chaotic Rudd-Gillard-Rudd governments, including the initial knifing and revenge attacks
- perusing another ABC piece on Gillard's tumultuous three years in power
- remembering what Labor Cabinet ministers thought of Rudd in the February before their party re-instated him as its leader and PM only four months later
- re-living the ad that encapsulated the disastrous six-year era of Labor party governance
- reflecting on the chaos and dysfunction that bad governments and flaky characters have wreaked on our body politic over the last decade and why we need to burst the Canberra bubble, and/or
- sharing this Action Plan post on social media with family, friends and those wanting principle, civility and common sense to return to Australian politics.