The current disaster that is the ALP is caused entirely by the 2010 decision to roll Rudd. For whatever reason the Australian public has never been happy with the way that was done. While Australia is indubitably a parliamentary system and you only vote for your local member, campaigns have for a long time run as presidential style campaigns. It is all about the leader and in 2007, the Kevin 07 campaign was, in my opinion, more presidential than any other. It was all about Rudd with the occasional mention of his team. They crafted a narrative about Rudd and he campaigned well.
Come his time as PM sure he made mistakes and he was at times, well most times, prone to prolixity. But he remained popular until Gillard and Swan persuaded him to drop the ETS. When he did that the Australian public thought him a charlatan, a man that stood for nothing. The grand irony is that the ETS ended up killing Rudd’s stratospheric popularity in the electorate and the similar carbon tax has done a similar thing to Gillard’s more humble “popularity”. But I digress.
That the ALP thought it somehow possible to roll a PM before he even fought his first election as an incumbent is gobsmacking and arrogant in the extreme. Blokes like Bill Shorten, Mark Arbib and that fat useless David Feeney managed to remove a still popular PM and install a PM that many thought would be an ALP messiah (great wrong calls there). Sadly their actions destroyed the ALP and any chance Gillard had. Oh she helped with a very poor campaign, and yes leaks occurred but I am pretty sure it wasn’t Rudd there. But the reality is the public have never accepted her legitimacy nor have they liked how she got the role of PM.
And failing to gain a majority in the election she called after 5 weeks as PM, another stupid move, has let that illegitimacy become a fact of law in the eyes of many, even thought she succeeded in gaining the support of a majority of the House of Reps which is all the PM has to do. Sadly this has resulted in massive unpopularity aimed at Gillard and this has not been helped by her poor statements about a carbon tax before the election and then her inability to explain the carbon tax is actually a trading scheme with a fixed price on opening.
And this is the problem, Gillard is popular in caucus for her negotiation and consultation but hated by the public cause she cannot sell a message with warmth nor does she appear genuine, so the public think she the epitome of the lying pollie. Whereas Rudd is disliked in caucus, many who will vote for him only do so out of desperation, he is viewed in the party and an outsider and a tyrant; yet to the public he is great. So what will they do. Well if Rudd wins there won’t be another challenge and they may win the election. If Gillard wins there will be another challenge, so more disunity and they will lose the next election. If I was an MP I would go for Rudd, not cause he is better as a PM than Gillard, but because if I was sitting on the Opposition benches after the next election I wouldn’t want to be thinking, what would have happened if we went back to Kev.
Here endeth the rant.