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JULIA GILLARD TRIUMPHS February 27, 2012

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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As was forecast, Julia Gillard obtained the numbers in an overwhelming manner to see off the challenge of Kevin Rudd, who now retires to the backbench.

In a secret ballot she won 71:31.She won the support of her colleagues, but the question now is will she be able to connect with the base of electoral preference. So far, she has not be successfully reach and identify with the broad electorate.

As Prime Minister a person has to have, or develop the full skill set. I suppose you have to learn on the job, which means that you have got to be allowed to make mistakes. I suppose that Kevin Rudd would feel that his colleagues, in particular his close associates, most notably Julia Gillard, did not allow him to do that.

As was observed on Lateline this evening, Julia and Kevin were a team in 2007. They fell apart remarkably quickly. There would be some understandable resentment on her part for Kevin Rudd’s undermining her position following the coup, but what would she expect. Now, having gone to the backbench, he will inevitably be the go to person whenever the Government experiences any problems.

The subtext in comments elsewhere related to gender politics. Margaret Thatcher blazed the trail in that regard, and I suspect that Julia Gillard has been free to follow her own course in her own style.

The fact that Mark Arbib resigned both from the Ministry and from the Senate today is a significant development emerging from Kevin Rudd’s challenge. I note the absurd proposition,made elsewhere, that a former PM would not be given pre-selection for his seat. I recall political history of Billy Hughes.

On Lateline, Paul Kelly said the ALP faced challenges in terms of structure, organization and talent, not to mention as was pointed out membership. Similar challenges are shared by the Liberal Party.The political game is played through polling which has given the corporate media monopolies who control the non-parliamentary platforms for what has constituted political participation. The presumption, probably correct, is that the bulk of the electorate obtain most information from television, with a lesser role played by radio. Still I think there are different audiences with different media mixes which cannot be ignored.

As an aside, it was interesting to hear that Federal Parliament under the direction of Peter Slipper as Speaker, is experimenting with supplementary questions. The PM seems to be effective in this environment.

Such is the context of minority government, the independents, such as Tony Windsor with no vote in Caucus is an important voice from the sidelines:

Judith Ireland and Jessica Wright in The Sydney Morning Herald report on the surprise decision by Senator Mark Arbib to quit Federal Politics.

Norman Abjorensen, at Inside Story, was not impressed with Kevin Rudd’s pitch for PM and argues that it now has been decisively defeated. He writes:

Then, here in the crucial mid-term of a hung parliament and a minority government, Rudd launched an extraordinary public campaign against the prime minister and the very government of which he was a part until last week. The announcement of his resignation as foreign minister was made overseas and was calculated to inflict maximum damage.
The retention of a professional lobbyist to manage his leadership challenge brings yet another unsavoury American element into our politics, suggesting that influence can be bought and reducing politics to a glitzy media sideshow. The orchestrated street walk in Brisbane on Saturday was a case in point: pictures on all the television channels showed a smiling pop star-like Rudd being mobbed by what he likes to call the punters.
With his carefully publicised religious observance, his loyal and devoted wife by his side and his reported (but denied) description of Julia Gillard as childless, an atheist and an ex-communist, Rudd could just as easily be campaigning for the US Republican Party’s nomination using a coded language of moral values and raw populism.

Gary at Public Opinion highlights the failure of both Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd to work together leaving in its wake, despite the brave talk a fractured government facing the prospect of being destroyed in the 2013 General Election. He concludes:

This is a government under siege. It is fighting issues of authority, legitimacy and trust in difficult times amidst the angst stirred up by its policy reforms.

En Passant argues for real democracy and by extension that public opinion, as represented by polling, should have received critical attention from the politicians voting for their party leader and the Nation’s PM.

(Others are no doubt doing what is wise, and giving thought before writing. I am astonished that I have anything to say, given the primary motivation is to record history as it happens.)

I cannot believe the ABC report that Julia Gillard is considering taking revenge against the dissents in the leadership spill. Her job as leader surely is now one of reconciliation and the generation of a common sense of purpose. Andrew Bartlett, from his experience with the Democrats, is perhaps insightful.

At New Matilda, Ben Etham – or the headline writers conclude – “Gillard Won, but Labor Lost”.

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