Australian Prime Minister Concedes to Deputy PM

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Australian Prime Minister Concedes to Deputy PM

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Wed Jun 23, 2010 12:23 pm UTC

EDIT: the Economist article is quite tidy and illustrative.
Spoiler:
Rudd on the tracks as Gillard takes over
Losing popularity, the Labor Party stages a surgical strike in the leadership

Jun 24th 2010 | SYDNEY
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LESS than a year ago Kevin Rudd rode high as one of Australia’s most successful prime ministers. Suddenly, his spectacular career has come to a crashing end. With his rating in the opinion polls sliding disastrously, and a federal election due soon, a panicked ruling Labor Party on June 24th dumped Mr Rudd as leader. They replaced him with Julia Gillard, his deputy. She will give a country once branded as a bastion of male chauvinism its first female prime minister.

As his support crumbled among Labor’s 115 federal parliamentarians, Mr Rudd had declared defiantly the previous evening that he would fight a leadership challenge from Ms Gillard. But the coup turned out to be bloodless. Faced with a humiliating defeat, when the moment came Mr Rudd stood aside. His colleagues elected Ms Gillard unanimously. Wayne Swan, the treasurer, will take over as deputy prime minister.

Instead of making a scheduled visit to the G20 summit in Canada, where he was due to meet Barack Obama, Mr Rudd has now become the only prime minister Labor has ditched during a first-term government. The speed of his demise has astonished Australia’s political class. Labor had hailed him as a reformist hero after he led the party to power in late 2007, unseating the 11-year conservative coalition government under John Howard.

Mr Rudd started by ratifying the Kyoto protocol on climate change, then issued a long-awaited formal apology to Australia’s indigenous people for past injustices. His approval rating reached 71% in April 2008; it was still at 63% last October. Until recently the Liberals, the main opposition party, looked as if they would present no threat in this year’s election: since their defeat, they have swapped leaders three times.

All that changed in early May, when polls turned badly against Labor. In one month Mr Rudd’s approval rating fell by 11 points, to 39%. Another poll earlier this month, showing the government’s vote had fallen to 33%, sent tremors through Labor powerbrokers. Votes leaked more to the Greens than to the Liberals; but the poll still gave the opposition a winning lead, even after the distribution of second-preference votes.

The trigger was Mr Rudd’s decision in late April to defer a planned emissions-trading scheme (ETS) until at least 2013. Legislation for it is stuck in the Senate, the upper house of parliament, where Labor lacks a majority. Mr Rudd had made attacking climate change a defining pledge of his platform. His apparent decision to abandon it dismayed voters and damaged his credibility on other issues.

One of these was a “resources super-profits tax” which Mr Rudd announced last month. From 2012, it would tax mining profits at a rate of 40% after they reach a certain level. A noisy campaign against the tax by big mining companies drowned out Mr Rudd’s claim that it was only a fair way of returning a mining boom’s riches to Australians. Polls indicate public opinion is evenly split on the tax.

Fears about the government’s crumbling fortunes unleashed unhappiness among Mr Rudd’s colleagues over his management style. A workaholic, he tended to control government as a one-man band, running the public service in Canberra ragged and shutting some colleagues out of key decisions. One environment minister learned of the ETS’s deferral only by reading about it in the press. And Mr Rudd’s short temper had won him few friends to call on when the final crisis loomed.

Choked with emotion after seeing Ms Gillard take over, he took credit for invoking a swift response to the global financial crisis with a fiscal stimulus that helped Australia avoid a recession. But Australians no longer seemed to be listening to his boasts about this and other achievements.


The campaign starts here

At 48, and with a reputation as one of parliament’s most combative debaters, Ms Gillard must now find ways to make them start listening again. Born in Wales, she emigrated with her parents as a small child. She entered parliament 12 years ago, after working as a lawyer. Her red hair, broad Australian accent and sharp mind have made her one of the most watched figures in Australian politics. From her base among Labor’s left faction in Melbourne, Ms Gillard has moved pragmatically to the centre. She oversaw the Rudd government’s partial dismantling of the Howard government’s workplace laws, which had vested power mainly with employers. But she has also managed to forge cordial relations with business.

Ms Gillard fronted her first press conference as prime minister by declaring that a “good government was losing its way”. She offered to “re-prosecute” the case for a price on carbon. And she proposed a deal to end the mining-tax row. She will cancel an expensive series of television ads the government had bought to sell its case (to no apparent avail), and ask the big mining companies to do the same. Both decisions will help give Ms Gillard something of a political honeymoon, and space to build support before the election she says will happen “in coming months”. Human-rights leaders, though, worry that she may be tempted to “lurch to the right” (as Mr Rudd promised not to) on another issue draining the government’s support: the growing number of asylum-seekers arriving in northern Australia by boat.

Tony Abbott, the latest opposition leader, rates poorly with women voters. Ms Gillard is popular across party lines. Still shocked, the government can only gamble that her fresh approach and capacity to charm will prove the weapon it needs to win a second term.

It is a little like the Blair/Brown struggles in Australia at the moment, where the Prime Minster Kevin Rudd may well be displaced by his deputy, Julia Gillard.
Spoiler:
Labor to dump Rudd for Gillard
By political editor Chris Uhlmann

Kevin Rudd looks likely to be dumped as Prime Minister.

Factional powerbrokers have spoken to the ABC and are awaiting the outcome of a meeting between Deputy Leader Julia Gillard and Mr Rudd.

The move against Mr Rudd began several weeks ago in a discussion between Mark Arbib and David Feeney from the NSW right faction.

The pair met Ms Gillard this morning and by noon had told her they had the support of the NSW right, the SA right and the WA right.

They told her that the party could not win the next election with Mr Rudd as Prime Minister but with her they could go forward with a strong message.

The two powerbrokers said even without having picked up the phone they would get a 60-40 split on the right, with the left split down the middle.

Mr Feeney and Mr Arbib said they had done their work and were now waiting to see the outcome of the discussion with Ms Gillard.

Senior party strategists and some cabinet ministers are now convinced Mr Rudd cannot win the next election.

One senior party source said: "This crypto-facist made no effort to build a base within the party and now his only faction - Newspoll - has deserted him. He is gone."

Labor sources do not believe there is any way back for Mr Rudd from this crisis.

Rudd's popularity has been dwindling rapidly these last months, and he is perceived as quite artificial by the Australian public. Still, I am not sure this is the right time for Gillard to assume leadership. The election is fast approaching, and with such short notice she won't have a strong platform to secure enough votes to remain in power more than a few months. One wonders what the Labor right is thinking.
Last edited by Pez Dispens3r on Fri Jun 25, 2010 5:18 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Australian Prime Minister May Concede to Deputy

Postby JayDee » Wed Jun 23, 2010 12:40 pm UTC

It's sad that elections are the things politicians have to worry most about.

I'd really like for Julia to be our PM, but that's at least half because I've met her.
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Re: Australian Prime Minister May Concede to Deputy

Postby Gelsamel » Wed Jun 23, 2010 12:46 pm UTC

Not that I focus on my own country's politics that much or anything... but just from what I gather it seems like labor is in a pretty bad state now. The filter, the whole mining tax thing. Maybe the NBN will help them but to me it looks like they'll get stomped and hopefully they will, I don't really want a filter. Even more hopefully maybe some minor parties will get a bigger share this time around (Iei sex party).
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Re: Australian Prime Minister May Concede to Deputy

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Wed Jun 23, 2010 12:59 pm UTC

JayDee wrote:I'd really like for Julia to be our PM, but that's at least half because I've met her.

I saw her at the airport once. But, no, really, she is a fine politician. I could listen to her being interviewed all day. Rudd does have this fake charm about him, but I think opinions focus too much on his forced charisma and not enough on his actual role. This is why I can't support the Labor right suddenly supporting Gillard. It just smacks of demagoguery.

EDIT: I should add the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, came out to announce he'll be contesting the leadership vote which will take place tomorrow at 9.00 am, Canberra time. He mentioned that if he wins, he will lead a government intent on delivering on ETS and will continue to pursue a more humanitarian approach to asylum seekers.
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Re: Australian Prime Minister May Concede to Deputy

Postby EmptySet » Wed Jun 23, 2010 2:17 pm UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:He mentioned that if he wins, he will lead a government intent on delivering on ETS and will continue to pursue a more humanitarian approach to asylum seekers.


Yes, that's what he said before. Then he dropped the ETS and put asylum applications on hold for six months.

The article wrote:Senior party strategists and some cabinet ministers are now convinced Mr Rudd cannot win the next election.

...

Labor sources do not believe there is any way back for Mr Rudd from this crisis.


Not even getting trashed and visiting a strip joint? It worked pretty well last time.

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Re: Australian Prime Minister May Concede to Deputy

Postby Vaniver » Wed Jun 23, 2010 2:27 pm UTC

JayDee wrote:It's sad that elections are the things politicians have to worry most about.
Better elections than revolts, but yeah, their incentives are pretty disgusting.

Pez Dispens3r wrote:[Labor] just smacks of demagoguery.
Say it ain't so! :P
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Re: Australian Prime Minister May Concede to Deputy

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Wed Jun 23, 2010 2:37 pm UTC

EmptySet wrote:
Pez Dispens3r wrote:He mentioned that if he wins, he will lead a government intent on delivering on ETS and will continue to pursue a more humanitarian approach to asylum seekers.

Yes, that's what he said before. Then he dropped the ETS and put asylum applications on hold for six months.

The current government has a much more liberal approach to asylum seekers than the previous government, and the ETS was only taken off the table because of Fuckstick Wankface. The ETS isn't dropped, it is just there is no support from the Liberals or Greens to get it through.

Vaniver wrote:
Pez Dispens3r wrote:[Labor] just smacks of demagoguery.
Say it ain't so! :P
But this is the internal muscling, which just seems ill-considered and short-sighted. I mean, if Rudd lost the next election the Labor right would have the party in their grip. So why act now? It's setting themselves up for a short term victory, followed by a long term defeat. (On the chance my terms are unclear to you, I refer to a right-leaning faction within the Labor party, rather than the Labor right as a distinct party on its own terms. Sorry if you already understood that.)
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Re: Australian Prime Minister May Concede to Deputy

Postby jestingrabbit » Wed Jun 23, 2010 9:48 pm UTC

I've gotta say, Gillard will be great, but this isn't a great way to start. And, normally, I have a pretty good feel for what they're doing and why, but lately, walking away from the CPRS and now this are out of nowhere, and whoever it is that's creating this instability needs to pull their head in. That's basically Mark Arbib and the rest of the right faction.
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Re: Australian Prime Minister May Concede to Deputy

Postby GhostWolfe » Wed Jun 23, 2010 11:57 pm UTC

Australian Prime Minister DOES Concede to Deputy.

KEVIN Rudd - the man everyone said was not a party man - has done the best thing possible for the Labor Party and avoided a leadership ballot.

Faced with an overwhelmingly and humiliating defeat the Prime Minister decided to pull the plug at the last minute and stop the hurt for Labor.

After Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan had signalled a joint team as leader and deputy on the way into the caucus room this morning it was clear Rudd had no chance.

Despite his vow to fight and declaration he could win after announcing the challenge last night the numbers and reality have run against Rudd.

But he's done the decent thing for himself and the ALP and decided not run.

Gillard will now be Prime Minister and Wayne Swan the Deputy Prime Minister.
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Re: Australian Prime Minister May Concede to Deputy

Postby Hawknc » Thu Jun 24, 2010 12:28 am UTC

Cautiously optimistic with this. Gillard seems to be more progressive than Rudd ever was (and hopefully won't hold leadership debates that can only be viewed by Christians) but time will tell if her principles stand any kind of chance against the interest groups like ACL that have inserted themselves firmly in Labor.

Also, can we get Kate Lundy in as communications minister while we're cleaning house?

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Re: Australian Prime Minister May Concede to Deputy

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Thu Jun 24, 2010 12:30 am UTC

Well, Australia has its first female Prime Minister. Only took one hundred and nine years to happen. Unfortunately, the way she has been shot into power, she may not last to see a full term. Thank Christ she only has that dipshit conservative to beat.
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Re: Australian Prime Minister May Concede to Deputy

Postby jestingrabbit » Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:31 am UTC

Just watching Kevin now, he started his speech and I thought "wow, if you'd spoken like this a month ago you'd still be in the job". And then his speech just kept going and going and going...
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Re: Australian Prime Minister May Concede to Deputy

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:55 am UTC

Yeah I walked off after a bit, once I realized it wasn't going anywhere revealing or profound. It started off as genuine but then it ended up feeling forced and plastic. Again.
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Re: Australian Prime Minister Concedes to Deputy PM

Postby jestingrabbit » Thu Jun 24, 2010 2:41 am UTC

Gillard's first press conference was pretty great. I didn't like the note that she struck on asylum seekers, although at least she wasn't calling them illegals.

I think that this signals a return to the cabinet making decisions, and with any luck, after the election there'll be a single balance of power party whose jib I like the cut of, the greens. Government returning to functional, stable arrangements is a good thing.
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Re: Australian Prime Minister May Concede to Deputy

Postby EmptySet » Thu Jun 24, 2010 4:05 am UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:
EmptySet wrote:
Pez Dispens3r wrote:He mentioned that if he wins, he will lead a government intent on delivering on ETS and will continue to pursue a more humanitarian approach to asylum seekers.

Yes, that's what he said before. Then he dropped the ETS and put asylum applications on hold for six months.

The current government has a much more liberal approach to asylum seekers than the previous government, and the ETS was only taken off the table because of Fuckstick Wankface. The ETS isn't dropped, it is just there is no support from the Liberals or Greens to get it through.


They had a more liberal approach to asylum seekers until it became politically inconvenient, at which point they started spouting rhetoric about being tough on people smugglers and decided to let a bunch of people rot in detention for months. They are still more liberal than the Coalition, but far from being a pinnacle of compassion and humanitarian values. On the ETS, they could have gone to a double dissolution, and would almost certainly have been returned to power with control of the senate and thus been able to push the ETS through. I'm not sure why that didn't happen. Apparently Rudd wasn't willing to risk it, even over "the greatest moral issue of our time".

I agree that Gillard's press conference was pretty good.

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Re: Australian Prime Minister Concedes to Deputy PM

Postby Gelsamel » Thu Jun 24, 2010 5:30 am UTC

I feel sorry for Rudd, as with most leaders when they're hated to the point they're kicked out. Often they're just trying to do what they think is right. Intraparty politics is brutal...
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Re: Australian Prime Minister Concedes to Deputy PM

Postby Bearboy » Sat Jun 26, 2010 1:34 pm UTC

16 year old Aussie Student here who thinks he knows more about politics than most of my peers.

The thing i hate most about this is heaps of my friends going on about why Julia is such a better Prime Minister when they can't even give me a reason why K-Rudd sucks apart from "he's a smug arsehole". Me personally I hope this helps Labor keep the Majority in the next election so we can avoid going to the Conservatives.

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Re: Australian Prime Minister Concedes to Deputy PM

Postby Hawknc » Sat Jun 26, 2010 2:00 pm UTC

They only have a majority in the house of reps. To pass any bills through the senate they need the support of either the coalition or every other party. (This is, incidentally, why you should always vote below the line - it might take longer, but the senate is more likely to feature minor parties, and it is your opportunity to make sure your vote goes to the party you want, rather than the one selected by party preferences. If you truly want the conservative parties to stay out of power, put them last on your list. At 16 this probably isn't going to be relevant to you until next election, though.)

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Re: Australian Prime Minister Concedes to Deputy PM

Postby ampednz » Sun Jun 27, 2010 4:15 am UTC

Australia what have you done. A woman at the top, look what happened to us when we did that in New Zealand, well she did do a good job in the end, so it just may work for you, well done then.

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Re: Australian Prime Minister Concedes to Deputy PM

Postby Diadem » Sun Jun 27, 2010 3:40 pm UTC

What's this ETS you guys keep talking about? Wikipedia suggests "Emissions trading scheme". Is that correct?
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Re: Australian Prime Minister Concedes to Deputy PM

Postby Kulantan » Sun Jun 27, 2010 4:43 pm UTC

Yep.
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Re: Australian Prime Minister Concedes to Deputy PM

Postby ConMan » Mon Jun 28, 2010 6:27 am UTC

Yes it is. The rough progression of it is something like this:

1. Our previous Prime Minister refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol, just like GWB, and claimed the Government was investigating some kind of alternative that would preserve the economy as well as reducing emissions.
2. One of Rudd's big policies to get Labor elected was that he would sign the Protocol and introduce an ETS.
3. He became PM and signed.
4. Because Labor didn't have a majority in the Senate, to get the ETS bill passed would require either getting most of the minor third parties on side (and given that they range from crazily left-wing to crazily right-wing, pretty much unfeasible), or doing a deal with the Opposition.
5. At the time, the leader of the Opposition was actually somewhat amenable to a deal on ETS.
6. The leader of the Opposition changed, and the new leader was probably the one man less likely than the previous PM to agree to deal with Labor.
7. Rudd, being hamstrung on the issue, decided to drop the ETS bill until after the next election (the alternative being to call a double dissolution election, which *probably* would have worked but would also probably cause a fair amount of political upheaval at the same time).
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Re: Australian Prime Minister Concedes to Deputy PM

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:35 am UTC

ConMan wrote:4. Because Labor didn't have a majority in the Senate, to get the ETS bill passed would require either getting most of the minor third parties on side (and given that they range from crazily left-wing to crazily right-wing, pretty much unfeasible), or doing a deal with the Opposition.
5. At the time, the leader of the Opposition was actually somewhat amenable to a deal on ETS.
6. The leader of the Opposition changed, and the new leader was probably the one man less likely than the previous PM to agree to deal with Labor.
7. Rudd, being hamstrung on the issue, decided to drop the ETS bill until after the next election (the alternative being to call a double dissolution election, which *probably* would have worked but would also probably cause a fair amount of political upheaval at the same time).

To elaborate slightly, the Liberal government's then-leader, Turnbull, was opposed to an ETS but thought one they could negotiate on was better than one they couldn't. His party disagreed, and it looked he was going to be replaced by either Hockey or Abbot. We sometimes talk of the Liberal party being divided into two camps*, much moreso than the Labor party is, and it could be fairly said Hockey and Abbot represented the sides of that fence. Abbot, being the socially conservative one, who did not believe in Climate Change, and was so bloody Catholic he used to practice pull-and-pray with his old girlfriend, was not expected to win, but did because Hockey was still willing to negotiate an ETS. To my mind, this illustrates exactly why I can't vote for the Liberals in the next election -- they still refuse to take an active stance against Climate Change, and chose their weakest potential leader to ensure no such thing went through. They claim rationality in economic matters, but seem to hold it nowhere else.

Emptyset, I agree Labor does not represent the pinnacle of humanitarian values, but I do not discount the government for not going down the path of double dissolution. Not only is it risky, it shouldn't have had to have been an option in the first place. The Liberals and the minor parties/independents were positioned to make sure a responsible ETS went through.

*It goes that at the start of the twentieth century you had two pragmatically-opposed parties in Australia: the Protectionists and the Free Trade party. When the Labor Party emerged as a socialist threat, they formed into the Commonwealth Liberal Party of which today's Liberal Party of Australia is a spiritual successor. The contradictions are still there.
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Re: Australian Prime Minister Concedes to Deputy PM

Postby Argency » Mon Jun 28, 2010 10:09 am UTC

Bearboy wrote:16 year old Aussie Student here who thinks he knows more about politics than most of my peers.

The thing i hate most about this is heaps of my friends going on about why Julia is such a better Prime Minister when they can't even give me a reason why K-Rudd sucks apart from "he's a smug arsehole". Me personally I hope this helps Labor keep the Majority in the next election so we can avoid going to the Conservatives.


I agree with you that Kevin Rudd's policies were fairly close to what Julia Gillard's are, but I don't think that policy was the reason Rudd "sucked". His policy was actually incredibly exciting coming out of so many years of Howard (except the filter) but what he failed at was the social part of politics. I'm not just saying he came across as a cold fish to the electorate, it's more important that within Labour itself he didn't know how to make friends and keep them. He couldn't lead the party effectively because he couldn't inspire loyalty. Instead of basing his intra-party policy on what would strengthen the party he went for the options that would be "safest". I think that's why he ended up ditching the ETS, and that's why he lost Labour's support.

A good leader can't just want to accomplish the right things, they also have to have the cajones to bind their supporters together, and Rudd was too weak to do that. Still, I'll be sad to see him go, he was a nice enough guy.
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Re: Australian Prime Minister Concedes to Deputy PM

Postby ConMan » Tue Jun 29, 2010 12:27 am UTC

Argency wrote:I agree with you that Kevin Rudd's policies were fairly close to what Julia Gillard's are, but I don't think that policy was the reason Rudd "sucked". His policy was actually incredibly exciting coming out of so many years of Howard (except the filter) but what he failed at was the social part of politics. I'm not just saying he came across as a cold fish to the electorate, it's more important that within Labour itself he didn't know how to make friends and keep them. He couldn't lead the party effectively because he couldn't inspire loyalty. Instead of basing his intra-party policy on what would strengthen the party he went for the options that would be "safest". I think that's why he ended up ditching the ETS, and that's why he lost Labour's support.

A good leader can't just want to accomplish the right things, they also have to have the cajones to bind their supporters together, and Rudd was too weak to do that. Still, I'll be sad to see him go, he was a nice enough guy.

There's also the suggestion that in recent times he was only working with a very small group of his ministers, and not keeping the rest of the party well-informed. Case in point being where Peter Garrett (former frontman of Midnight Oil, now Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts) apparently learned about the ETS being dropped after he read it in the newspaper. Now admittedly he's not the Minister for Climate Change (that would be Penny Wong), but it's still close enough to his portfolio that you'd think he'd be kept in the loop.

Also, Conroy is still BCDE. Godsdamnit.
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