Eideard

Julia Gillard defeats Kevin Rudd – Why did he even try?

with 4 comments

Julia Gillard will remain as Australia’s prime minister after winning the resounding backing of her Labor party colleagues in a leadership ballot against Kevin Rudd.

The party room voted 71 to 31 to retain Gillard as leader of the party and therefore the country. It ends a week of vicious bloodletting by Labor parliamentarians, brought to a head with Kevin Rudd’s resignation as foreign minister to mount a challenge.

“This is an absolute massacre,” Michael Glesson, strategist at political lobbying firm Hawker Britton, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Before the vote it was clear that the numbers were hardening against Rudd. He reminded fellow Labor MPs that he was more popular with the public. But, that’s not how you manage leadership in a parliamentary government, dude. He should have known better.

Labor members on all sides upped their calls for unity following the vote. Blah, blah, blah.

Questions over the Labor leadership have dogged the party since Rudd was removed from office in 2010 in an internal party coup. The centre-left Labor party scraped through elections later that year to lead a minority government in a hung parliament. The party’s support has been flat-lining at around 30% of the primary vote for months, though a poll out on Monday did show a slight improvement.

The conservative opposition has again called for an election. They will be ignored. If they had sufficient support they could press a vote for no confidence in parliament. Obviously ain’t about to happen.

This was all happening on a Monday morning in Oz – Sunday evening in the United States. Which happens to be an evening with a certain amount of time parceled out for CNBC Asia and BloombergTV Asia in our household. The network and cable snooze channels are busy, tonight, covering the usual allotment of two or three “news” stories. One will be the Oscars – boring. Another will be the Republican primaries – worse than boring.

Watching business news channels gets us a modicum of realistic news throughout whatever region is being covered – which, on a Sunday night, will be Asia and Oceania.

Even there, Bernie Lo on CNBC was so heartbroken when it was obvious that Gillard would retain her position as PM that he resorted to the questions conservatives have used to whine about parliaments since Cromwell. “Won’t the world worry about Australia having a government that isn’t united?” Conflicts between the rank-and-file and the parliamentary members are common. Bernie knows better.

Cripes. How does the world look at a government like ours – with a stonewall Congress refusing to do any work at all?

Nope. All elections are local is a pretty apt slogan. Folks in Australia will mostly vote in the next national elections for the representatives they believe will do the best job for their locality. A certain portion of that equation will include their feelings about party leadership. But, that ain’t the killer that it can be in the United States where the range of our choices include the resident at 1600 Pensylvania Avenie in DC.

Personally, I’d rather vote for a parliament – one that at least is capable of calling a snap election and allowing us to kick the bums out in 30 days or so.

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Written by Ed Campbell

February 27, 2012 at 6:00 am

4 Responses

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  1. Mr Eidard

    I’d be careful what you wish for. There is little democracy in Australia. The two parties are closed shops where any dissent from the party line means loss of pre-selection for seats. The parties are so factionalised and trapped in their own ideological prisons, Labor especially, that they have no real direction. At no stage to any of the parties give the impression they are working for the people.Gillard is a do-nothing idealist hamstrung by her party and Rudd is smug no-nothing git who’s own ambition outweighs his usefulness. The Liberal party are pretty much the same thing except they pander to the conservative.

    The Greens are the only party that show any spine, but being small with no hope of Government they can afford to. So far they have been resistant to hijacking by ideologues and have greatly benefited by the demise of The Democrats, who were sort of a professional middle class center left outfit. I vote for these folks because they are the only party who stand up for freedom of speech.

    Mark

    February 27, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    • I was hoping you’d drop by with local comment, Mark. Stateside, we get a view of the Canadian experience which is someways similar, someways a lot more dynamic – especially with the NDP growing over the last 40 years or so on the Left.

      Unfortunately, the Progressive Conservatives seem gobbled up into Harper’s Conservatives for now – so, honesty is out the window.

      You still have more choices than we do, believe me. The TweedleDeeDum halves of the single corporate party we’re allowed offer little hope of straying from center/right cowardice and ennui.

      Pleased to see you’ve resumed life and hope after the weekend loss to Arsenal.

      eideard

      February 27, 2012 at 12:48 pm

      • Yes fortunately religion does not play as big a part in Australian political life as it does in ‘merica, but the Christian element, Catholic for Labor and Protestant for Liberal, is surprisingly influential and both political parties are reluctant to piss them off. The public are overwhelmingly agnostic or passively Christian. It really hits home when you realize just how religious Americans are, one the whole.

        As for choice, I’m really not sure that we do have more. The ‘closed shop’ mentality of the parties see to that and even ideologically the parties are so similar that elections are more like a local derby than any real choice. The Green’s are the only ‘third’ choice and they often side with Labour, though that seems to be no-longer a granted.

        Please don’t mention Sunday’s game again. It’s dead to me.

        Mark

        February 27, 2012 at 2:00 pm

  2. Little comparison for lemming-American voters led by their noses by politicians, priests and pundits.

    Can you imagine the head of an American party being a woman, an atheist, living unmarried with her significant other? The Beltway would crack open and swallow Congress whole.

    keaneo

    February 27, 2012 at 1:16 pm


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