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Saturday, 25 February 2012

Ruddsurrection or Ruddsecution?

(ABC Photo)

There is a leadership vote to be taken by the Labour party in Australia regarding the PM's chair.  Rudd or Gillard, who will it be?

The vote is in about 30 hours, and for those of you who don't know, there is plenty of bad blood between these two.  In 2007, Kevin Rudd, (pictured left) was elected to the office with a groundswell of support that saw him handily replace the incumbent John Howard.  His was a populist movement that came from the grassroots of Australia.  "Kevin oh seven," was the battle cry.  Upon winning the office he appointed Julia Gillard (right) deputy. PM.

Through the GFC, Rudd and his caucus made some hard choices, and by all indicators, Australia survived it in relatively good condition.  Rudd, I suspect, thought his leadership assured, but someone decided he was no good.

An outfit known as the Right Faction (in NSW and Victoria) pushed to get him out, and must have approached Ms. Gillard to challenge him.

In a back room, behind closed doors, and without any sort of transparency, a leadership vote was called for, to be held the following day, with little or no explanation given.  Two meetings later the same day, also behind closed doors, and with Kevin probably still trying to come to grips with the depth of the betrayal (given the expected leadership votes in favour of Julia some had likely been campaigning against him for many days) Rudd was convinced to stand down.

This was all done without public input or consent.  There was no transparency on the day, with the media, as I recall, only getting wind of the story by chance.  This dictatorial way of selecting the PM is not lost on many, raising questions about Gillard's ambition, her taking the opportunity to seize the PMO in such an undemocratic and despicable fashion.

Is this 21st century Australia or 20th century Soviet Russia?

Kevin has reminded us that democracy needs be fought for, even at home, and sometimes even in parliament.

In a not completely unexpected move, he has publicly challenged Gillard for the leadership.  He is taking back his own, win or lose, and he is doing it right.  He has been open, and given Julia more time than she ever gave him to prepare for the challenge.  He is proving himself to be someone I can, at least, respect, even if I don't agree with his politics.

The public is on his side, according to the latest polls.  Kevin is proving himself something of a fighter, coming back after being kicked around.  Staying in government at all must have been very difficult for him.  I am also not surprised that it has taken a couple years to get the knife out of his back.

Will Rudd win back the PMO?  Current estimates are that he won't.  Julia's got the caucus by the nuts and that suggests she has an easy and clear majority.  But there is always room for doubt.

Good on ya, Kev.  Go for it, and if even you don't win, give her Hell.

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