A new Australian PM by Monday?

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A new Australian PM by Monday?

Postby Mechanicus » Thu Feb 23, 2012 5:11 pm UTC

Kevin Rudd, just-resigned Foreign Minister and former PM, has pretty much launched his bid to retake the leadership of the Labor party, and hence prime minister-ship of Australia less than two years after he lost it. Julia Gillard, current PM, has set the ballot for Monday and all members of Labor's caucus will get to vote (currently 72 members of the House of Representatives).

Gillard's been slipping in the polls and on current polls, Labor would lose in a landslide to the opposition Liberal-National coalition headed by Tony Abbot. The reality is that both Gillard and Abbot are very unpopular and many in the party see Rudd as their best chance of winning the next election which must be held in 2013 (the public much prefer Rudd to Gillard, even if half the party hates him). But if Rudd is elected as leader, Labor will probably lose the support of the independent members of the House who hold the balance of power. He's also an appalling leader, who held constant briefings against his own enemies within cabinet and whose leadership, or lack of it, led to a dysfunctional government.

Australian politics is wonderfully spontaneous - can't wait for Monday.

More here.
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Re: A new Australian PM by Monday?

Postby Game_boy » Thu Feb 23, 2012 8:23 pm UTC

From what I understand, Tony Abbott is very socially conservative and thus unelectable also?
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Re: A new Australian PM by Monday?

Postby Mechanicus » Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:08 pm UTC

Well, the first poll to come up on google is this one. The two-party preferred poll (a simple toss-up between the two main parties) has the coalition slightly ahead and the preferred prime minister poll has Gillard slightly ahead, but the actual polls show a *fifteen point* lead for the coalition what with the Greens and other parties taking votes away. That fits with the stuff I've been reading. And yeah, pretty sure Abbot is very socially conservative, doesn't believe in global warming, that sort of thing.
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Re: A new Australian PM by Monday?

Postby jestingrabbit » Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:40 pm UTC

No chance that Rudd will win the vote on monday, and with him out of the way there's some hope that people will focus some attention on policy and make more considered choices about the two parties. I mean, what does Abbot offer? What's a positive change that you can expect from him?

Its so ridiculous that the ALP aren't doing hugely better. Unemployment is close to 5% in the middle of a global economic crisis that's been rumbling for 4 years, and people think there's a better set of outcomes to hope for?
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Re: A new Australian PM by Monday?

Postby Hawknc » Fri Feb 24, 2012 7:34 am UTC

Game_boy wrote:From what I understand, Tony Abbott is very socially conservative

Very.
and thus unelectable also?

Sadly, not the case. It's a testament to how deep a hole the ALP has dug itself that an Abbott-led government is not only a possibility, but a likelihood if an election were called tomorrow. Currently both parties are making a strong case for me to find a job overseas.

One of the biggest problems is how out of step the ALP is with its constituency. Rudd was the only politician in nearly two decades to deliver them an outright victory at an election, but they ditched him midway through his term because of internal squabbling. His replacement - a child-free, atheist, unmarried redheaded woman - could have been some kind of divine miracle handed down by the gods of godlessness to us bleeding heart liberal types. Instead, her only real policy victory of note (the carbon pricing system) was only possible because she was unable to win an election outright, and was forced to ally herself with the Greens to form government.

Right now, I don't care if it's Rudd or Gillard. Hell, promote that staffer who caused the tent embassy scuffle on Australia Day, for all I care. Just give us an alternative to Abbott and quick, because right now he's already redirecting his mail to The Lodge and wondering how quickly he can set fire to the gay marriage bills currently under debate in Parliament.
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Re: A new Australian PM by Monday?

Postby Joeldi » Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:36 am UTC

In the event of a Rudd victory, and subsequent vote of no confidence from Oakeshotte and or Windsor, will that trigger an election in both houses or just the House of Reps? If it's both, we're screwed, but if it's just the HoR, an Abbott victory will result in the lamest of ducks, right? What with the Greens blocking everything he throws their way. And hopefully by the time an another election comes around, people will have realised how much worse Abbott was than anyone in the Labour party. Unless he gets knifed in favour of Turnbull, who might be able to slip something past a left-wing Upper House. That'd be hilarious.
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Re: A new Australian PM by Monday?

Postby Hawknc » Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:47 am UTC

I'd forgotten the Greens hold the balance of power in the Senate! My day just got considerably brighter.
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Re: A new Australian PM by Monday?

Postby yurell » Fri Feb 24, 2012 11:49 am UTC

If this continues, maybe the Greens can win a few more seats. It's nice having a progressive party with some power.
I just find it amazing that Labor went from a landslide victory to the first minority government in ages when their opposition was Abbott. Something is just wrong when that happens.
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Re: A new Australian PM by Monday?

Postby jestingrabbit » Fri Feb 24, 2012 1:18 pm UTC

What went wrong was Rudd. He thrashed around, he didn't deliver on shit, and after he was kicked he leaked against Gillard relentlessly, and kept leaking and kept thinking himself a contender. He's not a contender, he's an arsehole. If he gets less than 30 in the vote on monday it will be final and complete and he can sod the fuck off, knowing what everyone else knows, that he's an arsehole.

eta: and just to correct something, there are 102 labor members of parliament, and they all get a vote in the selection of a leader. Only getting 30 would be hugely telling about the fact that people generally think that Rudd can't be worked with.
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Re: A new Australian PM by Monday?

Postby Mechanicus » Fri Feb 24, 2012 3:31 pm UTC

eta: and just to correct something, there are 102 labor members of parliament, and they all get a vote in the selection of a leader. Only getting 30 would be hugely telling about the fact that people generally think that Rudd can't be worked with.
Oh, I didn't realise the Senate caucus got to have a say too. In that case, yeah, it's looking less likely for Rudd to win. Still, two full days to go...
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Re: A new Australian PM by Monday?

Postby aldonius » Sat Feb 25, 2012 11:52 pm UTC

Joeldi wrote: Unless he gets knifed in favour of Turnbull, who might be able to slip something past a left-wing Upper House. That'd be hilarious.

There is this.
(quickie edit: google "rob oakeshott would switch allegiance but only for malcolm turnbull" to see the full article).
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Re: A new Australian PM by Monday?

Postby ConMan » Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:44 pm UTC

From what I've managed to understand of all the stuff flying left, right and centre, having Rudd back as PM would be a pretty poor choice, but keeping Julia is only marginally better. And while I rank having Abbott in charge as being several thousand rungs down the ladder compared to either, it's getting dangerously likely the more this kind of thing goes on. At the moment, I think my preferred result would be Julia staying as PM, and Abbott replaced by someone a bit more moderate and less likely to run smear campaigns, but I'm still hoping for a surprise by-election that brings back Barry Jones just in time to make him ALP leader and bring forth a golden age of light and prosperity.

Turnbull would be my preferred Opposition Leader, not least because he was actually willing to discuss and negotiate things rather than just knocking everything back, but I think the conservatives still hold too much power in the Coalition to let him take over.

Failing that, let's see if we can break the traditional bipartisan mold and bring forth a Greens-Independents-Sex Party Coalition government next election. It's worth a shot ...
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Re: A new Australian PM by Monday?

Postby yurell » Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:48 pm UTC

ConMan wrote:Failing that, let's see if we can break the traditional bipartisan mold and bring forth a Greens-Independents-Sex Party Coalition government next election. It's worth a shot ...


A minority government, I hope ...

But yeah, I would rather having even Gillard (did I mention I really dislike her? I'm from Lalor) as PM to Abbott, and would have preferred Turnbull to either of them.
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Re: A new Australian PM by Monday?

Postby ConMan » Sun Feb 26, 2012 11:45 pm UTC

yurell wrote:(did I mention I really dislike her? I'm from Lalor)

Oh, you poor thing. I grew up in Bennelong (and moved out in 2007 so I missed out on the real fun) so I feel your pain.
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Re: A new Australian PM by Monday?

Postby jestingrabbit » Mon Feb 27, 2012 12:05 am UTC

Gillard - 73, Rudd - 29.

Labor caucus to Kevin "Go back to Queensland Kevin, we don't need your help."

... and the official number is 71-31. Boo twittervese, boo.
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Re: A new Australian PM by Monday?

Postby yurell » Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:30 am UTC

Ouch, I would think a full quarter of your caucus not supporting your leader would be something to be very concerned about.
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Re: A new Australian PM by Monday?

Postby Joeldi » Mon Feb 27, 2012 3:15 am UTC

yurell wrote:Ouch, I would think a full quarter of your caucus not supporting your leader would be something to be very concerned about.


Yeah, she's in a tight spot, but we knew that already. With any luck, this will have a chance to die down now.
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Re: A new Australian PM by Monday?

Postby ConMan » Mon Feb 27, 2012 3:51 am UTC

yurell wrote:Ouch, I would think a full quarter of your caucus not supporting your leader would be something to be very concerned about.

It's actually the lowest number of votes by a challenger and the highest by a standing leader of any leadership ballot in Australia, apparently. Certainly not confidence-inspiring, but at least it means that most of the MPs still think she's a better choice than Kevin. It may also be the boost she needs to throw off some of the things that have been hanging around since his PM-ship that may have still been holding the party back.
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Re: A new Australian PM by Monday?

Postby Hawknc » Mon Feb 27, 2012 8:03 am UTC

Yeah, it's not surprising in the slightest given the factioning within Labor. Rudd's closer friends and ardent Labor Right MPs would have voted for him, while Gillard would have safely had the support of the left. That it was so overwhelmingly in Gillard's favour speaks volumes to how many MPs prefer working with her over Rudd, but I still worry about her electability.

One of the interesting bits of fallout from today's caucus vote was the resignation of Mark Arbib, a Labor Right powerbroker and largely considered one of the "faceless men" prior to his promotion by Gillard. I'm not sad to see him go - IMO he embodied so much of what is wrong with the ALP, the party can only be better off without him.
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Re: A new Australian PM by Monday?

Postby Deep_Thought » Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:23 pm UTC

I'm amazed and impressed that Australia can get something like this done so quickly. Do the other parties have similar leadership election schedules? Over here in the UK each party has their own Byzantine method of leadership election, and to my knowledge none of them can be completed in a weekend :(
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Re: A new Australian PM by Monday?

Postby Zamfir » Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:00 pm UTC

I might be reading it wrong, but this Australian thing sounds closer to a vote of confidence. At the very least, it's not a leadership decision by the whole party, only by the parliament fraction.

By coincidence, the Dutch Labour Party is going through a similar thing. But they are not in power so it's not as drastic in its consequences.

Two weeks ago, the fraction leader gave an interview in a newspaper. A few days later, a very critical internal email from another member of parliament about that interview was leaked to the press. This raised long-standing questions about the authority of the current leader. Last monday, he 'voluntarily' gave up his position, without a clear successor.

In this case, the party members (and not just the MPs) will vote on the new leader. This requires several public debates, and the final vote is some where half of March.
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Re: A new Australian PM by Monday?

Postby Mechanicus » Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:53 pm UTC

I might be reading it wrong, but this Australian thing sounds closer to a vote of confidence. At the very least, it's not a leadership decision by the whole party, only by the parliament fraction.

By coincidence, the Dutch Labour Party is going through a similar thing. But they are not in power so it's not as drastic in its consequences.

Two weeks ago, the fraction leader gave an interview in a newspaper. A few days later, a very critical internal email from another member of parliament about that interview was leaked to the press. This raised long-standing questions about the authority of the current leader. Last monday, he 'voluntarily' gave up his position, without a clear successor.

In this case, the party members (and not just the MPs) will vote on the new leader. This requires several public debates, and the final vote is some where half of March.
I think Australian parties have always elected purely by the parliamentary caucus. The wider party isn't really taken into account. In Canada, it's the wider party and leaders are sometimes parachuted into parliament after being elected without a seat, and currently both the New Democrats and the Liberals are engaged in months-long leadership contests with the New Democrats holding leadership debates. In the UK, both main parties* are somewhere in-between, with the Conservatives having several rounds and then the wider party members choose between the final two candidates and Labour having preferential voting with three equally weighted groups: MPs, party members and union members. There's generally months of campaigning, but no real debates.

UK PM John Major did something similar in 1995, resigning and holding a leadership election with himself as one of the candidates (that was in the old system, which was just MPs).

*Liberal Democrats are the exception, with a Canada-style one, but the candidates are generally chosen from parliament - it's just the culture I think.
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Re: A new Australian PM by Monday?

Postby jestingrabbit » Mon Feb 27, 2012 8:33 pm UTC

Deep_Thought wrote:I'm amazed and impressed that Australia can get something like this done so quickly. Do the other parties have similar leadership election schedules? Over here in the UK each party has their own Byzantine method of leadership election, and to my knowledge none of them can be completed in a weekend :(


Yeah, the cost of being able to do this quickly is that its only the parliamentary party that votes for them. Mind you, they know the candidates best, and will actually have to work with them. I think that it works pretty well, but I'm pretty comfortable with the "representative" part of "representative democracy".

One of the undercurrents in all this is that people feel like they elected Rudd prime minister (two elections back) and that the labor party changing stuff around like this is kind of cheating, they feel like they should have been able to vote him out. Hopefully, the labor party learns that this sort of thing makes them no friends in the electorate in the long run, and this is the last time they mess around like this for a long time.
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Re: A new Australian PM by Monday?

Postby Joeldi » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:43 pm UTC

One of the undercurrents in all this is that people feel like they elected Rudd prime minister (two elections back) and that the labor party changing stuff around like this is kind of cheating, they feel like they should have been able to vote him out. Hopefully, the labor party learns that this sort of thing makes them no friends in the electorate in the long run, and this is the last time they mess around like this for a long time.


I'm so not a fan of two party systems. I'd be so much happier if there was less emphasis on the party line, and that people voted for what their local members stood for.
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