Labor Party Finally Goes With Rudd

Kevin Rudd Re-installed as Leader and Prime Minister by the Labor Party

Labor Party Finally Goes With Rudd


The Labor Party rectified two mistakes on Wednesday 26 June, the first being to replace Kevin Rudd as party leader and Prime Minister, and the second being the delay it has taken to rectify the first mistake - better late than never.

In a day of high drama, Mr Rudd defeated Ms Gillard 57-45 in a party-room vote, but the switch came with significant political fallout as six ministers resigned, including Treasurer and deputy leader Wayne Swan, who is replaced by the Left's Anthony Albanese as deputy Labor leader and leader of the House of Representatives. The job of Treasurer has gone to former immigration minister-turned key Rudd numbers man Chris Bowen.

Mr Rudd's promotion marks a stunning turnaround for the former prime minister and polling suggests the federal election scheduled for September will be more closely fought. Addressing reporters in Canberra on Wednesday night, Mr Rudd said he resumed his old job with ''humility, with honour, and with an important sense of energy and purpose''.

The new Labor leader praised Ms Gillard as a ''remarkable reformer'', describing her as a woman of great intelligence, strength and energy. But Mr Rudd said that in recent years politics had failed the Australian people. ''There has just been too much negativity all round,'' he said.

Mr Rudd said he was taking on the challenge of the Labor leadership because, ''I simply do not have it in my nature to stand idly by and to allow an Abbott government to come to power in this country by default''. Mr. Rudd added that his government would work "very closely" with business, "We have been natural partners in the past, we can be again in the future." He also had a special word for young people, urging them to re-engage with politics, saying, "I understand why you have switched off. It is hardly a surprise but I want to ask you to please come back and listen afresh."

Ms Gillard will return to the backbench and will leave politics altogether at the election. Her demise brings to an end a tumultuous three years which saw Labor's vote slump to a position where it faced almost certain defeat. 

Ms Gillard's spectacular removal followed a sustained campaign by backers of Mr Rudd which culminated in the circulation of a caucus petition seeking a leadership spill followed by Ms Gillard's decision to call it for 7p.m., saying, “I believe anybody who enters the ballot tonight should do it on the following conditions: that if you win, you're Labor leader; that if you lose, you retire from politics.'' In a hastily convened 5pm press conference Mr. Rudd advised that he would take Ms Gillard's deal, and confirmed he was a candidate for the leadership. He said, ''The truth is many, many MPs have requested me for a long, long time to contest the leadership of the party, because of the parlous circumstances we now face,..... For the nation's sake I believe it's time for this matter to be resolved.'' He added, “The truth, if we’re all being perfectly honest about it right now, is that we’re on course for a catastrophic defeat unless there is change.”  Rudd also spoke of the support he has from the public, saying,  “So today I’m saying to you, the people of Australia, I’m seeking to respond to your call that I’ve heard from so many of you to do what I can to prevent Abbott from becoming prime minister.”

Two strong Gillard supporters and senior ministers, Bill Shorten and Penny Wong switched allegiances to Mr. Rudd, Shorten telling Fairfax Radio that he believes Mr Rudd has learned lessons from his previous experience as prime minister. Mrs. Wong said that it was the most difficult decision of her political life but, ''I had to decide who I thought would offer the best contest at the next election against Tony Abbott.

On Thursday 27 June, Kevin Rudd was sworn in once again as Prime Minister of Australia in a short official ceremony at Government House in Canberra , Governor-General Quentin Bryce has also sworn in Anthony Albanese as Deputy Prime Minister and Chris Bowen as Treasurer. Mr Rudd's family, including his wife Therese Rein, daughter Jessica, son Marcus and granddaughter Josephine, watched as he was made Prime Minister for the second time.

The Rudd effect: Labor bounces back in poll

The resurrection of Kevin Rudd as Australia's Prime Minister has led to an immediate bounce in support for Labor, which has recorded a 6 per cent jump on a two-party preferred basis in the first poll conducted since the leadership showdown, but the national poll conducted on Thursday night, still has the Opposition leading the Government despite a marked swing in support for Labor. Current polling shows 52-48 per cent in favour of the Coalition in the two-party preferred vote after preferences are distributed, compared to 58-42 per cent in the same category for the last poll of Gillard’s leadership.

Most of those polled also believed Kevin Rudd would make a better Prime Minister than Tony Abbott, 51.6-48.4 per cent , as compared to 40.6-59.4 per cent for Mrs. Gillard against Abbott.

PM weighs up new poll date

Kevin Rudd has dumped Julia Gillard's proposed September 14 election date and is weighing up whether to go earlier or delay the poll.  Mr Rudd highlighted the clash of the September 14 date nominated by Ms Gillard with a G20 leaders' summit the previous week and the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur.

Mr. Rudd also challenged Tony Abbott to debate the economy at the National Press Club and used the final day of Parliament to push the case for ''the politics of hope'' above ''the old politics of negativity''. 

With new Treasurer Mr Bowen, Mr Rudd will receive briefings from bureaucrats on the weekend that could incline him to going later and bringing back Parliament.

(Re-written by Middle East Times from various sources)


Copyright 2007