The untold story of how Kevin 07 bit the dust

In a classroom not far from here last week the 6-year olds were being prepared to work in groups of four. Two in each group had obvious roles, leaving the other two to make up the numbers, as it were. The teacher was explaining that they had very important roles too because they would have ideas to contribute and we had to listen to each other’s ideas.

One young soul piped up and said, “Mr Rudd, the Prime Minister didn’t listen, and he lost his job and now we have Julia Gillard!”

They were right into it. Another said, “Yes, he was down there bossing people around and you can’t just boss people around!”

That’s about the size of it, according to an article Kill Kevin: the untold story of the coup by Pamela Williams in The Australian Financial Review of Friday, 16 July.

The ostensible trigger event, Gillard being upset by a story in the SMH about Rudd staffer Alister Jordan taking soundings of support for Rudd had “electrified” the Government on the fateful morning of Wednesday, 24 June. Every possible conspiracy story was being canvassed as to whether Rudd, Gillard, factional plotters etc had planted the story, seeking to bring things to a head. Williams says:

In the end it hardly mattered. The three months of worsening polls, anticipation that the election was doomed, Rudd’s enormous personal unpopularity with his colleagues and the deafening noise from the mining industry over the resources tax had tipped things to the point where any small slight – or the perception of a new injury done to a loyal deputy – could bring the pot to the boil. The mining tax, regardless of the government’s attempts to settle a compromise with the companies, had become a lightning rod for dissent over asylum seekers, the climate-change about face, and a raft of bungled government stimulus programs.

In the end, one puff and he was gone. All up the coup proper took about 25 hours, although in truth it was all soon after 10.15 pm, when the three hour meeting between Rudd, Gillard and Faulkner broke up. Within a few short hours Gillard had a clear 72 of the 112 possible caucus votes. By morning it was 85 and rising. Only the Qld Left, Albanese’s NSW Left and the Tanner-Ferguson Left in Victoria as blocks remained loyal to Rudd. Kim Carr’s Victorian Left had been active for change from the beginning and Penny Wong’s SA Left, normally bitterly opposed to Gillard, came on board overnight.

Williams says that during the ensuing weeks a rumour had been flying around that:

Gillard in fact had initially agreed during the meeting not to challenge, and to instead give Rudd the opportunity to resolve a range of policy issues and attempt to improve his standing in the polls.

And, moreover, that she had changed her mind after being told that she had the numbers during a break in the meeting.

This is the rumour that Laurie Oakes used to hijack the National Press Club meeting with last Thursday.

In William’s account of the meeting there is no break mentioned. In fact Gillard’s staff tried to send in a note to Gillard saying that the numbers were now OK. At first Rudd’s staff wouldn’t allow the note in but later relented.

It’s a fair bet that Oakes knew that the Williams article was about to come out and sought to upstage that as well. In terms of the story of what happened Oakes’ effort is a sideshow, probably based on a leak of a rumour, which I’ve posted about separately.

There were several important elements in what happened that day, to which I will now turn.

Geoff Walsh is a former adviser to Hawke and Keating, a former diplomat and also a former national secretary of the ALP. Now, perchance, he is in charge of public affairs at BHP Billiton. As such he was in there boots and all organising a campaign against the Rudd government’s proposed new mining tax.

Early in June current ALP national secretary Karl Bitar met with Walsh to discuss “politics and the mining tax.” Bitar followed Mark Arbib as general secretary of the NSW Labor Party, the cauldron of the NSW Right.

Bitar will not say what they discussed and Williams doesn’t speculate either. She does point out that the Minerals Council was doing weekly polling of focus groups to monitor public reaction to Rudd’s proposals. She says that their polling mirrored the ALP’s own polling. Given the miners’ resources it was probably far more extensive.

Williams doesn’t say it, but there is a fair bet that Bitar gained an insight into just how the land lay and what the ALP was up against going into an election with the miners’ advertising and marginal seats campaign in full throttle. It is likely, I think, that Bitar conveyed his conclusions if not the detail to politicians such as Arbib and perhaps others.

Williams does say that contra concerns expressed by some MPs she doesn’t think the miners campaign was at all a key factor in Rudd’s demise.

Rather it was this: Rudd had foes everywhere. Once his support collapsed in the polls, there was nowhere to turn. He had centred all government decision-making in his own office. Nothing could be delegated, no issue was too small for prime ministerial oversight.

Rudd’s ministers often became simple messengers and his oft-cited preoccupation with process and planning masked a chaotic management style that almost paralysed the government. All of these elements had frustrated his colleagues.

Moreover, she says, he had untrammelled power because he selected the ministry. When angry he had a “potty-mouth” and there were implied threats. So many ministers simply held their tongues.

Bill Shorten, former national secretary of the AWU and a leader of the Victorian Right was the first to approach Gillard, which he did on 16 June. She heard him out but kept her counsel.

Seat polling taken on 16-17 June was downright ugly. Across Eden-Monaro, Greenway, Hughes and Page Labor’s primary vote was down to 35% against 47% for the Coalition. In TPP terms Labor was down to 48% in Eden-Monaro, 46% in Page and 38% in Hughes.

Saturday June 19 was the Penrith by-election with a 25.7% swing against NSW state Labor.

When MPs returned on Monday 21, there was a Right caucus meeting which Williams describes as a “powder keg”. Senator Mike Forshaw of NSW and convenor of the meeting agreed to take their concerns to Rudd, but his calls to the office were not returned.

On Tuesday morning a Newspoll of marginal seats in regional Qld and western Sydney showed Gillard ahead of Rudd as preferred PM and swings against the government of 12%. At the caucus meeting many concerns were raised directly with Rudd, but he soft-pedalled and asked for a bit of solidarity.

On Tuesday afternoon Mark Arbib of NSW and David Feeney of Victoria met to discuss the sitaution. Feeney was close to Shorten.

On Tuesday evening Rudd addressed a Business Council of Australia dinner, lambasting them and reminding them what his government had done for them. MPs present looked at their hands. Gillard, however, “was charming, working the room, meeting and greeting.”

On Wednesday morning came the SMH story. Gillard let someone know she was angry, because Arbib heard and he and Feeney went to see her. She told them she was angry that her loyalty had been questioned and that she had spoken to Faulkner who would speak to Rudd. They told her that they had canvassed concerns across the party that the ALP might lose the election.

At that point, Williams says, the fire was lit. Gillard herself went to see Rudd. they agreed to meet later in the day.

Soon after in order, Shorten, Agriculture Minister Tony Burke and Kim Carr of Gillard’s Victorian Left faction went to see her offering support if she would run.

After Question Time there was a meeting in Carr’s office with Carr, Gillard, Arbib, Shorten, Feeney and Don Farrell of the SA Right.

They urged her to run and thought they could take Rudd down with a single blow. There was obviously no time for a drag-out fight.

Gillard was not convinced about the numbers. She knew that if she started she’d have to finish it. She was told that with her they had a chance at winning the election but faced certain defeat under Rudd.

She was going to see Rudd but no-one was sure what she would say.

Gary Gray was on board, but no-one had yet approached Wayne Swan.

That afternoon a delegation of Feeney, Farrell and Steve Hutchins of the NSW Right went to see Swanny, who was of the Qld AWU faction on the Right, as distinct from the “Old Guard Right”.

Almost certainly he knew what was going on. The suggestion was that Swan would be deputy. Swan put on his poker face and said nothing.

Williams thinks that Swan was the one person who could have called a halt at that point, but he didn’t. No-one knows whether he did anything, but at 6 pm someone rang Paul Howes, national secretary of the AWU who was in Sydney to attend a meeting that Bill Ludwig, AWU boss in Qld was also attending. Ludwig’s son Joe is a senator and close to Swan.

Howes drove straight around to Ludwig’s hotel room, where they shut off their phones and discussed strategy. By 8pm they had decided to back Gillard and started phoning MPs in the AWU faction.

Meanwhile Chris Uhlmann on the evening ABC news told the world that a move was on.

Gillard tried to persuade Rudd to voluntarily hand over to her, knowing that numbers were being organised as they spoke.

Williams doesn’t say so, but the AWU numbers may have been enough to clinch it. I’m not a political aficionado, so I don’t know how many numbers were involved and how influential the union bosses are with that faction.

But it is clear that they were late in on the plotting and were not prime movers.

Williams says that the AWU had the biggest block of aligned MPs in the party and Ludwig had a reputation as a king-maker. Gillard, she says, may already have had the numbers, but clearly the AWU support was a shot in the arm.

Howes decision to go on TV clearly annoyed a lot of members.

I suspect that if the AWU does indeed have power over politicians, that power will die when Ludwig passes, as it is clearly an offence to most people’s sense of the way things should be. Still, the situation is a long way short of the 36 faceless men who met in 1963 to decide the party’s policy on a US defence base while Whitlam and Caldwell waited under a lamp post.

After the meeting people phoning around included Gary Gray, home affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor, Warren Snowden, Robert McLelland and Nicola Roxon.

Late on Wednesday night Rudd’s Old Right in Qld started to desert him too.

Rudd’s staff tried to ring around, but their calls were not returned, so Rudd himself had to pick up the phone.

As I said in short order Gillard had 72 clear votes. Well after midnight Albanese went to see Rudd and told him he couldn’t win. In the morning he persuaded him to step down.

You can make of all this what you will, but one definition of politics is that it is the contestation for power in social relations. Certainly there are no prizes for coming second.

While I share concerns that we don’t want to catch the disease of the NSW Right of changing leaders and moving to the right in reaction to adverse opinion polls, I’ve become convinced that the prime ministership of Kevin 07 had deteriorated to such an extent by 2010 that it is an exceptional case. As a politician Rudd was a good public service administrator. But as a public servant he was hopelessly disorganised and was perhaps a good policy wonk. As a policy wonk he was the smartest guy in the room who didn’t need his colleague’s input. More than that he came to actively antagonise just about everyone.

In the end the kiddies had had enough. If he was heading over a cliff, they saw no reason to follow him if they had an alternative, which they did, but only if they acted quickly.

That’s no doubt a bit too black and white, but respected journalists like Laura Tingle and Lenore Taylor express similar views. Speaking of Lenore Taylor, she and David Uren in researching their book Shitstorm: Inside Labor’s Darkest Days crawled all over the Rudd government’s inner workings. I haven’t read the book yet, but I can guarantee that her interview with Richard Fidler is worth the effort to listen to.

Apart from the apology, Rudd’s role in countering the GFC was his finest hour, according to Taylor. We should all be more than grateful that he was at the helm at that particular time.

Updates: I’ve done a summary of Robert Manne’s article ‘Rudd’s collapse’ and dated June 16 in the July edition of The Monthly in comments here.

Similarly, there is a summary of article by Laura Tingle in the AFR back on 9 June, 2010.

Finally there is a summary of the account from Nicholas Stuart’s book on how Rudd fell and then Mark’s post on Stuart’s book.

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Posted in elections, politics
296 comments on “The untold story of how Kevin 07 bit the dust
  1. Paul Burns says:

    Excellent post, Brian. All makes sense now.

  2. Fine says:

    “She was told that with her they had a chance at winning the election but faced certain defeat under Rudd.”

    I’ve argued that it’s as simple as that. So, apparently it wasn’t just the NSW Right getting rid of someone they couldn’t control, but Caucus getting rid of someone they felt was leading them over a cliff, and who they couldn’t stomach anymore.

    It’s interesting that in the Hawke interview on Sunday night, he was of the opinion that Rudd caused his own demise by abandoning the Cabinet decision process entirely.

  3. Patricia WA says:

    It does make sense. What I’m hoping is that Rudd himself has had time to absorb it all and somehow come to terms with how it happened. He has the brains, but does he have the emotional intelligence? He still has a lot to offer and a lot to gain if he can find a graceful way through this. What a government we could have if he does.

  4. Pavlov's Cat says:

    Thanks Brian, that’s a wonderfully lucid and followable account.

    One point about this: “Gillard let someone know she was angry, because Arbib heard and he and Feeney went to see her”. I think she wouldn’t necessarily have even had to let anyone know. Presumably she wasn’t the only person who saw that story and it would have been easy for others to draw their own conclusions about her response.

    One thing that’s interested me, given how much space has been taken up here in the past by various things in The Monthly, is that I’ve seen almost nothing about Robert Manne’s (detailed and very good) piece in the July issue, uncompromisingly titled ‘Rudd’s collapse’ and dated June 16 — that is, written before any of this stuff happened, though the issue didn’t actually appear until afterwards. But if anyone needed convincing about how much of a mess Rudd was in, they have only to read it.

  5. Spana says:

    Very interesting. It still remains that Gillard does not stand for anything new and that the policies she is taking to the election could easily be the policies of the Libs. Yet, many people are so branded with Labor loyalty that they will vote for her right wing agenda anyway. Gillard is well on the road to being a right winger. Rudd was at least an intellectual who stood for something and had the courage to take on the mining industry. Gillard instead ran away and surrendered to big business. No wonder the mining industry were happy with her. She will do their bidding as well as sidelining real workers’ power.

  6. John D says:

    Lots of talent, significant contribution but serious flaws. Perhaps Rudd can mange to sit back, analyze what happened and change the way he operates. Howard and Menzies had more than one attempt at leading their party before they became long serving prime ministers.

    Rudd’s analysis may tell him what changes he needs to make if he is ever to become leader again. Alternatively, it may convince him that there are other roles where his entrenched weaknesses would be less of a hindrance.

    The irony is that Rudd may have been a very effective minister under a Julia Gillard prime ministership. They have complimentary strengths and weaknesses but the nature of these strengths and weaknesses means that it would only work with Gillard in charge.

  7. MIKE says:

    Interesting: the backroom boys thought they could NOT win under Rudd. What a load of cobblers. Rudd was leading 52 – 48 in the polls when he got knocked off. I know, I know, people say that there was internal polling that was bad for labor. Maybe. Maybe not. But Johnnie Howard would have killed to be in Rudd’s position leading into an election, and Johnnie usually got across the line. And don’t forget that Rudd would have been running against the simian, punchy, gaffe-prone imposter presently parading around and calling himself a political leader. Couldn’t win? Give me a break.

    Rudd obviously got bumped because he cared a bit too much about policy and good outcomes and the backroom boys thought that was terribly quaint and old-fashioned. So they brought in Julia who has a focus-group instead of a brain – in other words, someone they understand. Totally fascinating that those who obviously knew her best (the left) didn’t want her.

    Don’t forget, Brian, that the victors are writing this history and they’ll still be spinning when they’re in their graves.

    But, of course, in a few years time, when everybody is logging onto your website using the new internet broadband system, a few people might start thinking that Rudd had a few good ideas.

  8. Fozzy says:

    Great article Brian!

    It aligns with my impression: for all the talking points of the Libs about faceless unionists, if Rudd’s leadership style hadn’t become so toxic he would have survived. His leadership style was the real cause of his downfall.

    I also agree with @Patricia WA, I hope he can get over and learn from this, as despite his flaws, it would be a great waste of talent for him not to continue on in some role in the government.

    One minor point in your article, you might like to give it another proof read.

    Particularly, the two paragraphs starting from “Williams thinks that Swan was the one person…”. In particular you’ve got Laurie Howes, I think you mean Paul Howes, and the next para starts “Holmes”, which I think should be “Howes”.

  9. Fine says:

    So Mike, you didn’t read the article at all?

  10. MIKE says:

    FINE – read it very carefully. Obviously all sourced from the anti-rudd camp. Where does it contradict what I have said?

  11. MIKE says:

    FINE – And I haven’t even mentioned the apparent dialogue with the mining companies over polling. What a glorious party.

  12. adrian says:

    Well I’ve read the article fine, and it’s simply, as Mike says, the victors’ version of what happened which leaves unanswered several key questions.

    IMO subsequent events have simply proven that the reason that Rudd was disposed of had nothing to do with losing an election (which was probably not going to happen) and everything to do with policy and control.

    The victors are always keen to have their version of history entrenched, and this is simply the latest and greatest installment, along with other more risible and nonsensical anti-Rudd blatherings.

    But in the end in a sense, it doesn’t matter why Rudd was overthrown – I think it’s simply unconscionable to do such a thing, particularly when subsequently you call an election 3 weeks after the event and ask the Australian people to judge you on your record. After 3 weeks in office and after 3 weeks of policy stuff ups and lurches to the right!

    Of course when Gillard defeats the unelectable Abbott it will be used to justify the overthrow rather than seen as evidence that Rudd would have easily defeated Abbott as the Liberal campaign implodes from day 1.

  13. john says:

    Yeah, that sounds fine, except that they got rid of a sitting Prime Minister because he was mean to them. Added to that, polling was turning back to the ALP under Rudd, and the Right was gagging for an opportunity to take back power in the party.

  14. Lefty E says:

    Thanks Brian, neat post, from which Ive learned quite a bit.

    I have no doubt Rudd was on the nose internally – and moreover, for many good reasons it seems. I made plenty of criticisms on this blog of Rudd as PM – so I assume people understand its not some newfound weird agenda of patronising Gillard (huh?) when I make the following criticisms of the subsequent PM.

    “She was told that with her they had a chance at winning the election but faced certain defeat under Rudd.”

    I accept this is the ALP version (as reported rather than necessarily endorsed by Brian) but in my view it remains rolled-gold BS.

    Yes, they hated them, yes they wanted to roll him – but no, the story justifying it against electoral criteria isnt at all evident. In fact, as Mike notes, its 100% sourced without publicly available references to the camp that knifed Rudd.

    We literally have to take them on spec- and its at odds with all (not some, but all) public polling. There was never a “wipeout” reported publicly in any poll, and moreover, the final polls under Rudd (after the paretnal leave and NBN announcments) showed a primary and 2PP vote jump – 3% in the final Morgan under Rudd’s watch.

    Then we have the likelihood (self-evident in my way) that the extemes of the anti-Rudd campaing would have to be elavened with greater inspection of Abbott once a date was set. Witness the health debate for how those moments payed for Abbott. Rudd flayed him alive.

    And now, we have Van Onslen noting tracking polls saying Gillard isnt lifting the vote in QLD – and where she had lower PPM than Rudd. Add Bennelong to those seats (where apparently the Asian community loved Rudd).

    Balance off the states whre JG is no doubt to do better than Rudd would have (WA, Tas, VIC, western sydney). At a glance, thats more territory, but fewer marginal seats.

    Suffice to say, I believe JG will win – but Im also convinced Rudd would have. from the above quick thumbnail sketch – Im far from convinced she’ll get more seats than him.

    My other criticisms remain: the story of JG bravely ‘remaining loyal until slighted’ is nice spin. Whatever! But its not remotely odd behaviour on Rudd’s aprt to be checking loyalties given the constant undermining from Shorten et al that preceded it. Fact is thos roosters ahd nowhre to go if JG said no.

    I dont relly care that she succumbed to persanl ambition under encouragement – thats life in politics. But do we *have* to pretend it was loyal JG under extreme provocation and grossly affronted!

    Moving forward (from the scene of the crime?) – my other criticisms are, I think, also fair: her policy annoucenments since have all been “good political fix, but rubbish policy outcome”. Mining tax is number one on that list, asylum seekers was worse, since it was only a partial fix as well (diminished as a fix by the inexcusably inept mishandling of Timor). And then we really have nothing at all on CC – which I remind viewers, was every bit as much her fault as Rudd’s – and the gang behind her, now in charge.

    And – that’s all I’ll say on the matter. I’m happy to ‘move on’ to the big game now – but I dont feel a need to tidy up the immediate past and pretend it was all tickety-boo to do so. Politics can be ugly. Lets not dress it up.

    JG knows she will remain semi-legiitmate until elected. I’ll be happy to leave the past there – and lets hope for Greens BOP.

  15. Patricia WA says:

    Mike, regardless of polls internal and others, anyone with half a brain out in the electorate could see that Rudd personally could not have withstood the huge forces of opposition growing against him including most of the media and a wealthy mining lobby able to buy up vast amounts commercial advertising space. Unless, that is, he had really staunch supporters within his party and huge popularity in the country at large. He had neither, and for all his vaunted diplomatic skills he had no way of gathering or recovering either. It was almost irrelevant who the Opposition proper had as leader. As it was the ghastly Abbott looked like doddling in to power. What an awful possibility.

    Bill Shorten who seemed to me to play a sort of ’eminence grise’ role through all this looks more constructive by the day. I’ll be meeting him at an ALP do here in a couple of days, so I’m glad to be feeling more comfortable about him. Even though I accept it all had to happen at the time I empathised hugely with Rudd and was happy to displace my anger from Gillard onto Shorten and Abib. The latter is so hugely tainted I can’t imagine him being rehabilitated in the near future. But then he looks like a nasty piece of work……….does that mean he really is????

    Brian, thanks for the reference to the Lenore Taylor interview. Everything I heard dovetails with the Pamela Williams account. Some other fascinating insights there e.g. a healthy reminder not to expect too much of a resurgent Malcolm Turnbull should he compete again for Liberal leadership after this election. Or was he hoping to get it before an election was called, and assuming Rudd was still PM?

  16. MIKE says:

    PATRICIA – 52 – 48, even before an election was called, when the incumbency effect should have given Rudd a sizable pop in the polls. Of course Rudd was bruised and battered. But Keating and Howard were in much worse states near the ends of their first terms.

    Don’t agree with this narrative that the mining debate was hurting Rudd. Of course the advertisers and the miners and the MSM have a big interest in pushing that line. But, in fact, his resilience was restoring his credibility as a conviction politician. As it is, the party’s “deal” with the miners has truly stained its image. I can only hope that, when it gets back into the power it will (with the assistance of the greens) stab the miners in the back. That is the only way it can restore its credibility.

  17. Voxpop says:

    Totally agree with MIKE, adrian and Lefty E

  18. Tosca says:

    A fine piece Brian. Laurie Oakes’ version was just plain implausible and portrays an amateurish approach which clearly was not the case in this most clinical removal of a Prime Minister.

    Your piece is worthy of being cross-linked so you might like to correct the references to Paul Howes. (About 16 paras from the end – ‘Laurie Howes’ and ‘Holmes’)

    Another thing that rings true is the report about Gillard becoming very angry when she read the SMH account that staffer Alister Jordan had taken soundings of support for his boss. Moira Gillard commented on her daughter’s temper in the ABC’s Australian Story. I was not left with the impression that Gillard has a short fuse but that when she is really crossed she can react with great force.

  19. Nick Gye says:

    Brian, does Pamela Williams not say that Albanese briefly joined the meeting of Rudd, Gillard and Faulkner? The meeting where supposedly there were only those 3. Any leaks may have come from him?

  20. Brian says:

    I had to go into town to the dentist after posting. He removed a huge amount of money from my bank account. Have to go out again soon, so can’t read all the above.

    Fozzy, thanks for the proof-reading. Fixed. These names aren’t burnt into my brain.

    I think the evidence is clear that the people who moved against Rudd believed themselves, with great certainty, that they were going down in the next election. I happen to agree with them.

    I think “dysfunctional” is the word for the state of Rudd’s administration towards the end. There’s plenty of evidence for that. It’s supported in spades in Nicholas Stuart’s book Rudd’s Way: November 2007-June 2010 which I picked up in town along with Taylor and Uren. Just unbelievably awful and reason enough in itself for removing Rudd. Authoritarian, autocratic, completely rigid.

    PC, Williams said that Arbib heard that Gillard was “on the warpath” over the SMH article, after he’d come back from playing a (losing) game of football against the Malaysian embassy.

  21. derrrida derider says:

    I … was happy to displace my anger from Gillard onto Shorten and Arbib. The latter … looks like a nasty piece of work……… does that mean he really is?

    IME, definitely. A typical product of the Sussex St culture. Shorten is another kettle of fish though – still a true believer wanting to make the world a better place, and with a few remaining traces of personal integrity and charm.

  22. Thomas Paine says:

    The MSM memes against Rudd were prosecuted so persistently and thoroughly that even those who are usually sceptical find it easy to take them as read.

    It is easy and convenient to take symptoms, many on here say, many over stated and so forth and eagerly reach straight to a diagnosis.

    Nothing is that simple or that straight forward and I think we should go right back to the beginning before the election and look at all angles of this to see how the demise of Rudd came about. Another answer or two might present itself.

  23. Lefty E says:

    Well, for the record guys, here’s Rudd’s final poll.

    I think its speaks for itself.

    I accept this is an issue that a lot of us arent going to come to agreement on.

    But FWIW, Brian, and it might be the lawyer in me talking, but I wouldnt hang a dog on hearsay from persons with known ulterior motives.

    That literally would be the status of “the internal polling” if it was proffered as evidence in a court case. Inadmissable for several (good) reasons. Wouldnt even be heard.

    Nonetheless, I am satisified on the evidence that the defendants hated the victims guts, etc…

    Exuent… stage left.

  24. Fine says:

    It would be quite difficult to find a punter involved in this who didn’t have ulterior motives.

    My point is that the Caucus thought the Government would lose under Rudd and may win under Gillard. Lefty E, you may well be right that they got it wrong and Rudd would have won. Quite possibly Caucus was panicking and Rudd had lost all authority to quell that panic. My point is that it wasn’t a sneaky, underhanded coup masterminded by shadowy forces of the NSW Right because they couldn’t control Rudd. It was Caucus members wanting to win an election. Very simple politics, I suspect.

    All this pearl clutching that you can’t trust the MSM is unconvincing, when it’s coming from so many different sources. Pamela Williams is one of the more capable investigative journalists. Her book about the ’98 Waterfront Dispute is exemplary. It’s all too simple to shoot the messenger when you don’t like the message.

  25. MIKE says:

    FINE – OK – from now on I’ll treat what Pamela Williams writes as holy writ, even if it is based on plotters trying to justify their actions. But you haven’t even read her story properly. It wasn’t “caucus” that wanted to get rid of Rudd. It was a faction of caucus. The rest (a majority, minority, I don’t know) were then basically taken hostage because everybody knew that, at that point, instability was death.

  26. Mark says:

    I really don’t want to get into this debate once again, but I feel that I should observe that I still deeply disagree with the interpretation that:

    it wasn’t a sneaky, underhanded coup masterminded by shadowy forces of the NSW Right because they couldn’t control Rudd.

    Having read the Williams article on Friday, I see no reason to resile from my view, which I’ve argued at length, that the manner of this leadership change was deeply disturbing, that it was driven by panic, that Rudd was poorly served by his party, and that although some of the personnel are from the Victorian and SA right, its modus operandi is precisely the same as that usually employed by the Sussex St mob, who were also involved via non-parliamentarians Paul Howes and Karl Bitar.

    I made the point on the night of June 23 that the way in which the challenge was orchestrated effectively gave MPs no option other than to acquiesce in a shift, given that anything else would have left Rudd as a deeply damaged leader and seen leadership speculation crowd out any other topic of discussion. The timing was also significant in that the rising of parliament meant that caucus had to meet the next day and therefore there was no time (as usual) for a more inclusive and deliberative process to occur before a vote.

    It remains the case that Ministers such as Lindsay Tanner have gone on the record saying that they knew nothing of what was occurring until it was effectively over. That is far from “consultative” or democratic.

    There appears to be a desire to whitewash what occurred, and I think it’s important that be resisted.

    Nor is the decision necessarily validated by subsequent events.

    But I want to “move forward”, so I shall leave it there and not intervene in this debate subsequently. But I will point out that what happened and the way it has subsequently played out has lost the ALP my first preference vote.

  27. Ken Lovell says:

    Totally endorse Voxpop.

    ‘As it was the ghastly Abbott looked like doddling in to power’ … has to be one of the most audacious pieces of revisionism I’ve read in a long time. No doubt it will be received wisdom amongst hard-core Laborites after the ALP returns comfortably to government later this year; just as it would have done under that awful tyrant Kevin Rudd.

  28. Don Wigan says:

    I think that account is very plausible, Brian. My position originally was that the agitation was primarily just Shanahan-News Ltd mischief, possibly fed by the NSW Right. And some of it may well have been.

    On LP we have had Labor Outsider telling us very much the same thing about PM disfunctionality well before it built up to a coup. It may well be, as Mike, Adrian and Lefty E contend, that we are being fed the coup leaders’ version of events. But despite that poll of 52-48 showing a late Rudd improvement, some of those insiders were entitled to panic. Polling suggests that Queensland was (and still remains) dire for Labor, and NSW then at least was almost as bad (although it has benefited from the change). Labor could still have been sunk even with a 52-48 lead. Maybe Possum can give us a retro on it after this election.

    One likes to think that with Abbott as the Opposition that victory with Rudd would still occur, but it’s not certain.

    I think they’ve gone for the least worst option, and it will be a better option for governing.

  29. adrian says:

    Well said, Mark. And as The Piping Shrike said at the time:

    Let’s cut the crap, the move against Rudd isn’t being driven by the fears of an electoral loss. Not only is the government approaching election at this stage in a relatively more comfortable position than most governments for the last 20 years, against an opposition led by an unusually unpopular leader, there is little polling evidence this blogger has seen that suggest that Gillard would make things better.

  30. tssk says:

    My reading is that the media and the mining companies finally got the ALP to blink. Most of my right wing mates are over the moon with the current state of play.

    “Face it mate…both parties are pandering to us. Both parties are making policies for us. Your vote don’t count and whoever gets in now? It’s OK ’cause we got ours.”

  31. john says:

    @Don Wigan

    I think it was definitely fed by the NSW Right. I’ve heard a quote from the night of the coup that Mark Arbib was the biggest media whore in the Caucus, and given that the media was used to being fed on the leaks from the Howard Govt, probably most of what they wrote was fed by leaks from the Right of the party.

    Hacks like Labor Outsider and Feeney staffer Psephos on the Pollbludger blog are just repeating the same hack line that they started before the leadership change. The stuff about Kevin Rudd being a monster is unsubstantiated gossip, and I worked with his campaign office from 2001 until 2007, and have known him for his entire parliamentary career, and he’s always been a polite, clever man who does what’s best for his community.

  32. Sam says:

    I’m not a Labor insider, outsider, upsider or downsider, but as I’ve posted on this site before, I’d heard, as far back as 2007, from people in the first hand know, that Rudd was a turd to work for, making ridiculous demands at all hours, and then not even reading what he’d demanded.

  33. Fine says:

    “But I will point out that what happened and the way it has subsequently played out has lost the ALP my first preference vote.”

    Fair enough Mark. But, I’ll also point out that what occurred has caused several people I know to switch their first preference to Labor when they were previously voting Green or Independent because they couldn’t stand Rudd.

    And whitewashing is only necessary if you think what occurred was wrong.

    Mike, I’m not suggesting Williams is holy writ. I’m suggesting that dismissing her is silly.

  34. Lefty E says:

    I too will now keep my promise to say no more, but not before I strongly endorse Mike and Mark’s comments that whatever your perspective, its really beyond dispute that Caucus was held hostage by the plotters, who effectively gave them two options: our way, or untenable instability close to an election.

    This much is not disputed by any player or commentator that ive seen, and thus, I would contend, has the status of ‘uncontested evidence’. So, any credible version of events would have to accomodate it.

    Later. Peace.

  35. Sam says:

    “Caucus was held hostage by the plotters”

    That is certainly true, and for Shorten, who wants to be the leader one day, it might come back to bite him. No one likes to be blackmailed, even into supporting a good case, and Labor people have long memories.

  36. MIKE says:

    FINE – I don’t want to diss Pamela Williams because I’m sure she is doing her best. But when I read a newspaper story of this kind (or any kind, really) I’m usually happy if the spelling is OK. Anything else is a bonus.

  37. Dee says:

    The date of 25 June 2010 was ‘The Day of Shame’ for democracy in Australia. It was the day that a small number of people from the Australian Workers’ Union, perhaps elected by an undefined electorate, and a small number of AWU-aligned politicians did the bidding of the national and international mining companies and interfered in our democracy.

    In November 2007 around 44,000 people in the Queensland electorate of Griffith voted for Kevin Rudd to represent their interests in Canberra. Around 41,000 did not vote for Rudd; that’s a part of our wonderful democracy. A ballot was held on 4 December 2007 and 49 of the federal ALP parliamentarians voted for Kevin Rudd as parliamentary head and 39 did not; again that’s a part of our democracy.

    In the period leading up to 25 June 2010 there was a media battle between the parliamentary ALP and the bosses of the mining giants who were objecting to what was in reality a far wider distribution among businesses of excessive profits from the exploitation of the natural resources that belong to all Australian taxpayers. On or about 25 June an unknown number of unelected mining company bosses, representing themselves in the boardrooms of the world, reached agreement to choose the AWU fraction to interfere in the ALP caucus processes and remove a democratically elected Prime Minister.

    Wayne Swan had earlier said that the results of the Penrith by-election had no connection with federal issues, however, when the AWU was required to hide the deal with mining companies it was put to Senator Hutchins to trot out the spin that there was a problem with leadership of the ALP. The ALP wants its cake and eat it too – when the spin suits they follow the opinion polls explicitly but when it suits otherwise they trot out the line that there is only one poll that matters. The major problem is, of course that the cake is yellowcake!

    The deal is all about the AWU National Secretary and his forthcoming parliamentary career and no matter how much he denies he wants this, in reality it is with more than 15 years of passion, the deal is about him delivering mining uranium on a much broader scale in Australia, including in national parks like Arkoola in South Australia and converting Queensland from an exploration only stance to broad scale exploration and mining. There already are in Queensland uranium mining offices established in Mt Isa with full support of the AWU-aligned State Member for Mt Isa; and Geosciences Australia, a federal government body, is undertaking exploration in Cloncurry on behalf of uranium mining companies and/or the Australian Uranium Association to disguise their extreme level of interest.

    This situation is appalling for all Australians who care passionately about our democracy. I certainly don’t want any form of government where unelected people from mining companies and other places can have as much say as what has been witnessed in recent weeks.

  38. Senexx says:

    The bully boys ousted the nerd, that’s all that happened.

    People don’t like nerds because they don’t understand them, can’t understand them and are not willing to.

    What about Howard you say? Once he consolidated power after x years and recreated himself you could no longer consider him a nerd.

  39. murph the surf. says:

    @Mulga Mumblebrain- Daggett , is that you ?

  40. kimberella says:

    @Fine –

    And whitewashing is only necessary if you think what occurred was wrong.

    I think it was wrong.

    I want to strongly endorse the points Mark, Lefty E and Mike have made, and also to point out that Williams’ story is far from inconsistent with earlier accounts which show a minority of plotters forcing caucus to make a decision with no appropriate time for reflection. It’s for that very reason that we debated alternative methods of leadership election at this blog at such length.

    But I, also, see little point in further debate on the question.

  41. Fine says:

    I also see little point of continuing the argument. People will just have to agree to disagree.

    But I’ve found nothing I’ve read here, or anywhere else, convince me that there’s any problem with what occurred. And I find the idea that Rudd was deposed because he couldn’t be controlled, absolutely risible.

    But I’ve said enough now on this subject, I think.

  42. john says:


    I think they got rid of him because he was from Queensland, rather than him being a nerd. They couldn’t handle someone not from Melbourne or Sydney calling the shots.

  43. Ken Lovell says:

    Kimberella I agree that there is no point in arguing about it any longer, but people must not be allowed to get away with this nonsense that Labor was headed for certain defeat thanks to pig-headed having-a-nervous-breakdown Kevin and he left them no option but to replace him, now let’s all move forward and beat the awful Liberals.

    The reason why Labor diehards want us all to believe this fairy tale are self-evident but it’s a con job. The newly-minted faith in the MSM that people suddenly have after they spent much of the last few years condemning MSM journos as a pack of hopelessly partisan creative writers is remarkable. Shanahan and Stutchbury and company must be truly gratified at their overnight rehabilitation.

    The rottenness and corruption within the ALP and its control by narrow vested interests have been revealed for all to see. The sooner the Party is consigned to oblivion the better – Rudd was the last hope that it might reinvent itself as a genuine liberal party and it’s obvious in hindsight that he never had a chance.

  44. Joe says:

    I disagree with Mark, Lefty E, Mike, Kimberella, Johnson, cousin Johnson and uncle Johnson. The poor Labor party MPs actually really liked and supported Kevin Rudd but were held hostage by the upcoming election?! You cannot be serious?!! Obviously, there is a touch of pragmatism involved in making these kinds of decisions, and if the bloc opposed to Rudd was of a size which could seriously destabilise the government, that may have been a reason for the fence-sitters to prefer hitting the reset buttons and to think strategically both personally and within the party. But these people are adults and experienced political animals. All they had to do, was say, “No, Rudd’s the man for the job.”

    I think you need to be careful about letting your own political opinions colour your interpretations of the events. Gillard’s response to date on the boat people and the super-sucker tax are disappointing for many Labor supporters– but in the end, I believe that Kevin Rudd had simply lost his way. He’d lost his way on a number of issues and as others have said he had no leadership charisma. He was in my opinion an extremist in relation to his religious convictions, work ethic and sense of conviction. He simply isn’t a leadership-material. He’d be an ideal deputy, but doesn’t have the skill-set to lead the ALP or the country. I mean the opposition is Tony “The Mad Monk” Abbott– that the ALP have botched the first term after the GFC and CET is an understatement.

  45. adrian says:

    Of course it was wrong, Kim, but there’s not much point in trying to change anyone’s mind.

  46. Joe says:

    Ken, you wrote, that the ALP should be condemned for all time, and Kevin Rudd was it’s last hope?! You’re implying that the object of your anger is Labor factional politics, and that you feel factional politics is not democratic– but the kind of fatalism that you attach to one man’s place in history is frankly a bit of a concern. Democratically, I mean.

    A very material concern for Australian democracy is the way in which the likes of Clive Palmer have been able to change National politics to suit their self-interest. People and politics have to muscle up to these kinds of bully-men.

  47. adrian says:

    Which is exactly what Rudd was trying to do….

  48. Ken Lovell says:

    Joe I wasn’t talking about factional politics, which aren’t necessarily a negative influence on a party. I’m talking about the same kind of thing as Dee: the outside interests that control the parliamentary ALP.

    When the union movement represented more than 50% of workers, and Labor policy was largely determined in open conferences, it was clearly a more democratic party than the conservatives. Slowly that has been whittled away as union membership has declined and the role of members has been trivialised, and the party is now the creature of a small, sectional, set of interests operating mainly in secret and accountable to nobody. I can see no prospect of that altering, and I regard it as a very bad thing for Australian governance.

    For better or worse, one person can make a decisive impact on the nature of a party – think of Menzies, Hawke, Keating and Howard. I believe that the perceived risk that Rudd would do the same to Labor was the prime motivation for the move against him. The union careerists were afraid they would lose their pre-eminence.

  49. Labor Outsider says:

    The Williams article is a good one. Unfortunately, for those inclined to believe otherwise, no argument or evidence can convince them that the Rudd deposition was reasonable because they hold it as an article of faith that Rudd’s support was recovering and that the dysfunctionality of his office had no significant negative electoral ramifications.

    On the polls. The 52-48 result beloved of many on LP OVERESTIMATES Labor’s support because it relies on a distribution of Green preferences that is simply unrealistic. In that poll, Labor’s primary vote was 35%!! They would have lost this election without a significant recovery in the primary vote. In the last 2 newspolls Labor has recorded a primary vote of 42%, a 7pp increase from the last days of Rudd. I find it implausible, given Rudd’s problems with negotiating a credible backdown on the RSPT, that the ALP would be sitting on the same primary and 2pp figure now if Rudd was still leader. And as I’ve said before, Morgan is simply unreliable and had a sample under 1000, implying a wide margin of error.

    John’s starry eyed perspective on Rudd aside, I have been saying for nearly two years how Rudd’s micromanagement and poor organisation were undermining the policy process, and creating discontent within the cabinet, caucus, state governments and civil service. Decision making was simply chaotic and he had significantly undermined traditional party decision making processes.

    I will give you a few examples from when I was in his office in opposition. You’d get a call at 10pm on a Saturday night from his policy director saying that he needed a briefing document on topic X with policy options by the next morning. So, you’d sit up most of the night preparing the briefing so he had it the next day. It would then disappear into the ether for a couple of weeks, until you got another late night call saying that a final position document had to be ready within 24 hours and that he wanted to announce policy. So, you’d work furiously on that in preparation for the announcement, only to get a call a couple of hours beforehand saying that he had decided not to announce. Again, you hear nothing for a couple of weeks, until, last minute, it is all back on again but with a slightly different announcement. No discussion about the delay or why the change in policy. It was a mess.

    Sunrise was another example. His segment lasted a few short minutes but he would have 4 or 5 staff in total preparing 40 or 50 pages worth of briefing material, most of it unnecessary for the entire day (and night) in the lead up to that segment. It was a horrible waste of resources.

    There is a reason why Rudd found it so hard to retain good staff. Nobody minds working hard for a worthy goal and good policy. But when you find yourself working for 90 hours a week toward ends that are hard to defend, morale deteriorates. And again, the PMO can’t function properly if half the staff at any given time want to GTFO as quickly as they can.

    Call me a party hack, or a bitter person seeking revenge, but I went into his office, from a job as an economist outside of the party, because I thought that he had the potential to be a great leader. I left a few months later realising that he didn’t know how to use professional policymakers properly and concerned that his government would be badly structured, afraid of reform and ultimately run through the media unit. I did hope that things would improve in government once he had the power of the PM’s office and the resource of the civil service.

    Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way.

    Perhaps Rudd wasn’t leading the party over a cliff. We will never know. But many people within the party, and not just factional heavies, were worried that Rudd was and that things might get even worse. You see, when you don’t sleep, can’t see the wood for the trees, and surround yourself with a small number of inexperienced advisers that can’t properly challenge you, the risk of screwing things up increases significantly.

    The ALP is not an autocracy. Rudd was PM, not the President. If he had treated the party, its processes and the individuals within it with a bit more respect, and if he had been a bit less arrogant about his own abilities and consulted more widely, he would still be PM today.

    There are significant problems with the ALP’s factional system and the way power is distributed through the party. I’d love nothing more than to see deep reform of the party structure.

    But on this occasion, the factions that agitated for the challenge got things right. There are very few people in the business of government weeping for Rudd.

  50. Joe says:

    Ken, in that case I must humbly apologise.

    I can’t comment on the likelihood of union members instigating a change of leadership to maintain power over the ALP. Stranger things have happened. At first glance, however, I find it difficult to see how Rudd was such a danger to the union movement. A very interesting opinion, though.

  51. ossie says:

    Well Mark’s vote will be balanced by mine. I was voting Greens until the spill.

  52. ossie says:

    Lefty E

    its really beyond dispute that Caucus was held hostage by the plotters

    Really? Where? And how?

  53. akn says:

    Thanks Dee that has filled in a few gaps.

  54. Labor Outsider says:


    Many of us are not relying on the MSM for our views of the way things went down. It is rubbish to suggest otherwise. This idea that it was all about a few unionists trying to cling to power completely glosses over Rudd’s own contribution to his downfall. He was making a hash of things as PM and many in the party were worried that Labor might lose the election. That fact that he was so widely disliked just meant that the plotters were able to do their work relatively guilt free and with a compliant caucus.

    The RSPT was a complete mess. He built his leadership around the response to climate change. Over the course of 2009 he became complacent about the CPRS and the politics surrounding it, and was simply unprepared for what happened after Copenhagen and the coalition’s change in tactics. He had the option of preparing the ground for a DD on the issue but decided to drop it. Perhaps he was in part persuaded by some of the same people that organised the subsequent challenge, but it was his decision. When the polls headed south and he experienced regret at having backed down, he decided that he had to stand his ground on another contentious issue. Unfortunately, he had done nothing to prepare the ground for it. It wasn’t a long standing component of policy, there had been no green paper/ white paper process, etc.

    Regardless of the virtues of the tax itself, it was the wrong way to go about tax reform and further cemented the view that Rudd didn’t know how to govern effectively.

    The ALP needs structural reform. But Rudd was also a poor leader. Those views are not mutually exclusive.

  55. Trenton says:

    Labor Outsider highlights exactly what the problem with the ALP is. People knew of his problems even when they were in opposition but still he is thrown up as a leader purely because it was convienent for Gillard and her factional supporters at the time. Decisions are not being driven by what is best for the country and the party, but rather by factional compromises. The removal of Rudd was just another extension of this and if Gillard scrapes over the line it will be on again in twelve months.

  56. ossie says:


    Spot on. Try telling a member of the CFMEU or AEU that the unions rule!

  57. john says:

    [Comment deleted- Moderator]

  58. Labor Outsider says:


    How about you refute my points with evidence and analysis rather than insults?

    I derive no joy from what has happened to Kevin. As I have stated elsewhere, he had many talents and had the potential to be a very good leader. Unfortunately, he also had flaws that he was unable to moderate and they undermined the performance of his office and ultimately his government.

  59. ossie says:

    You know, you can learn a hell of a lot just by sitting in on one meeting of powerful people, let alone a spell as a pollie’s staffer or a senior bureaucrat. For example, I have a little of this experience, but have never even met Kevin Rudd. Yet I still find it almost impossible to believe he says the ‘c’ word.

  60. mick says:

    I’m with Mike, Lefty, Mark, Kim etc and I’m also sick of talking about this.

    I’ve heard plenty about how Rudd was a pain in the arse to work with, but also that he was extremely dedicated and wanted to do well. As many have said, he was essentially a nerd and didn’t play well with others. I can relate to that.

    That said, it’s time to move on. The thought of an Abbott govt is simply terrifying both because of their incompetence and prejudices and because the ALP will be absolutely vanquished.

    I sincerely hope that Gillard wins and that the Greens do well and that all this crap was worth it.

  61. Brian says:

    john, I’ve deleted your comment because I considered it in breach of the comments policy.

    It seems to me that Williams article had a limited purpose. Firstly, she wanted to detail what actually happened. Secondly, she attempted to explain why they acted from their perspective.

    Thirdly, she does give a view of what she thinks was really behind it all, which is encapsulated in the first and last quotes I included in the post.

    To say it is history written by the victors is inappropriate, I think. It doesn’t aspire to the perspective that would be needed for a history. It’s a story rather than history.

    In terms of the Rudd supporters, they were ambushed. It was essentially over before they knew anything was afoot.

    We can discuss the ethics of this and whether a better set of rules governing
    a change of leadership would serve democracy better. There has of course been a lot said about that on earlier posts.

    I’m not interested, however, in canvassing whether Julia has done well so far and so justified the change, as this will lead to endless rehashing of what happened about the mining tax, asylum seekers etc. Please take that to the open election thread.

    I’m going missing again for a couple of hours. When I get back I plan to do a longish comment on Robert Manne’s article mentioned by PC, which it happens I have read and had temporarily forgotten about.

    Then a comment on Nicholas Stuart’s take which is from a broader perspective than Williams with some new information and some differences. If that’s too long it might have to be another post, although I’d rather move on.

    Then I’ll go back and respond to individual queries, but that might be tomorrow night.

  62. Patrickb says:

    Given that the thread sets out to explain why Rudd was overthrown I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect those who disagree with that explanation to speak up. If some don’t like that then go and blog at Catallaxy.

    I agree with Mike and would also say that Julia is a very lucky politician. Tony Abbott, to quote someone somewhere, is the wrong man at the right time. The rest of the LNP “dream team” are going to find it hard to live down “The Abbott Family” meme. Make no mistake, Gillard has been gifted this election, but just who’s was it to give?

  63. wpd says:

    LO’s post:

    Rudd’s micromanagement and poor organisation were undermining the policy process, and creating discontent within the cabinet, caucus, state governments and civil service. Decision making was simply …

    matches my experience, albeit at a State level many years ago. I wonder what Terry Moran’s take on these developments will be? I assume he’s still there. Anyone know?

    BTW, I think Brian’s summary is excellent. Very informative.

  64. Pavlov's Cat says:

    I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect those who disagree with that explanation

    I think that as so often with events that elicit strong feelings, an awful lot of people are getting opinions confused with information. You can ‘disagree with’ an opinion, but it’s not logically possible to ‘disagree with’ an explanation; you can only say that you don’t accept — that is, believe — it. To ‘disagree with’ an explanation is to imply that you think someone is lying.

    I haven’t yet seen anyone who’s said or implied that they don’t believe it (a) say exactly who they think is lying about what, and why, or (b) provide a convincingly fact-based explanation of why they don’t believe it.

  65. Brian says:

    Can’t resist this one from Mike:

    But, of course, in a few years time, when everybody is logging onto your website using the new internet broadband system, a few people might start thinking that Rudd had a few good ideas.

    Nicholas Stuart tells us that the new internet broadband system was the one major policy area that Rudd stayed right out of!

  66. Brian says:

    I was going to leave these things until later, but might reverse the order.

    Nick Gye asks:

    Brian, does Pamela Williams not say that Albanese briefly joined the meeting of Rudd, Gillard and Faulkner? The meeting where supposedly there were only those 3. Any leaks may have come from him?

    As far as I can see there is no mention of Albanese joining any meeting.

    Stuart says that the first meeting took place late morning and Faulkner was at that one also.

  67. kimberella says:

    As far as I can see there is no mention of Albanese joining any meeting.

    Albanese was filmed going in.

  68. kimberella says:

    … whereas Lindsay Tanner, who was said to be at the meeting, was at a pub in the Canberra ‘burbs.

    Incidentally, Tanner has refused to repudiate a comment he reportedly made, in the Gillard biography, that Julia Gillard is a conservative careerist.

  69. kimberella says:

    Also, what mick said:

    I sincerely hope that Gillard wins and that the Greens do well and that all this crap was worth it.

    Ok, I’m really gonna try to stay away from this topic now.

  70. Brian says:

    Lefty E says:

    My other criticisms remain: the story of JG bravely ‘remaining loyal until slighted’ is nice spin.

    LE, I’ve got no evidence that anyone approached Gillard before she went ape over the SMH article other than Bill Shorten, who approached her on Wednesday 16 June, just one week earlier. Williams said that “she held her counsel”. Williams says she had plenty to lose as well as plenty to gain. She continued to bat away suggestions of her leadership possibilities with great inventiveness and humour.

    Can I gently suggest that in the absence of evidence it’s safest not to come to any conclusion?

    Stuart emphasises how successful Arbib and Feeney were at keeping their moves secret, which he says started with the Nielsen poll of 7 June.

    He says:

    The move began without Gillard’s knowledge or encouragement.

    I’ve wondered why Gillard was so offended by the SMH article. Stuart gives a better perspective on that, but that’ll have to wait until I outline his account of events.

  71. Brian says:

    Albanese was filmed going in.

    Thanks, Kim. That’s new to me and not mentioned by Williams or Stuart.

    Was he there for the first or the second, for part or for the whole?

    It really only has relevance to the Oakes allegations, I think. there I’m still inclined to think Oates picked it up from someone other than the principal actors.

    BTW Williams says that the ministers who supported Rudd were Albanese, Faulkner, Tanner and Chris Evans. Actually she missed one – Craig Emerson. I understand that Emerson and Falkner always support the leader in any contest on principle.

  72. […] Brian at Larvatus Prodeo in Exile summarizes and glosses Pamela William’s article in The Australian […]

  73. Nick Gye says:

    Brian, the bit about Albanese being briefly in the meeting is just before the part about Gillard~s team trying to get a note to her when she was in his office.

  74. Brian says:

    … whereas Lindsay Tanner, who was said to be at the meeting, was at a pub in the Canberra ‘burbs.

    Kim, Stuart says that the last night before the last day of the parliamentary session is party time and there were parties all over the place. He said Chris Uhlmann got a wiff that something was happening from a chance encounter encounter over coffee when one of the power broker types asked him “Could we win with Julia?”

    Uhlmann is with the new ABC news channel and wasn’t on reporting duty, so he contacted the current roundsman Mark Simkin. He also had a sense something strange was happening and between them they discovered the “meeting in the PM’s office”. Not sure whether it was the first or the one about to happen, but the ABC broke the story on the 7.30 news. the second meeting started at 7.20.

    Soon after that the parties emptied out.

  75. Brian says:

    Nick Gye, you are absolutely correct. It’s in Williams’ story before the bit about Gillard’s staff trying to get a note to her, but that doesn’t absolutely mean that he was there when that happened or how long he stayed.

    So it’s still inconclusive as to Albanese’s involvement and knowledge of events.

  76. Brian says:

    Lefty E, the final Morgan poll taken on the last weekend of the Rudd PMship is dated 24 June, the Thursday when it was all over. Bad luck for Rudd, and I mean that sincerely.

    I respect your knowledge of politics and polls in which I have no substantive expertise. I did hear recently that Morgan has a 3% bias towards the ALP. Any comment, if you are still around?

  77. Nick Gye says:

    Brian, indeed. It seems that he was seen going to her office, but not neccessarily went in to the office. If he did it would cast doubt on John Faulkner~s clear statement that there were only 3 people in the room . In any case would have been an interesting meeting to observe. Sometime within the next 10 years I imagine Kev will write a book about it all. I was In Melbourne when it happended (I live in Perth), not much work got done on that Thursday

  78. Brian says:

    Mark said:

    I made the point on the night of June 23 that the way in which the challenge was orchestrated effectively gave MPs no option other than to acquiesce in a shift, given that anything else would have left Rudd as a deeply damaged leader and seen leadership speculation crowd out any other topic of discussion.

    An important point, Mark. It would be interesting to find out what the true support for Rudd was if circumstances had not been so constrained.

    Certainly when Rudd took Beazley down after stalking him for six months he could only do it with Gillard’s numbers, which at that time were greater than his, according to Stuart.

    But I’d favour a more deliberative and inclusive process even if it did sometimes have a negative, like losing an election. I wonder if Rudd would have ever made it to the top under a more deliberative and inclusive process.

  79. akn says:

    So, let us assume that the Prime Minister is returned with whatever majority and the Greens with BoP. Three years until the next election and I’m expecting the PM then to come up policy trumps on refugees (a humane solution being one in which the entire ALP gets on the front foot to turn racist Australian xenophobia around), global warming (and not via the sort of ridiculous market based measures that have ruined the Murray/Darling system), employment policy to properly address the real rate of unemployment, rejection of ‘the intervention’ including total abandonment of the insidious income quarantining of welfare payments. That’s what I’d be expecting from people so desparate to stay in power as to sack Rudd instead of running a solid campaign behind him to shore up the marginals where big dirt’s lies where actually scaring the electors.

    I know, I know. The medication is wearing off and I need sleep. Here’s what we’ll see: prevarication, cock ups, racism and equivocation followed by nice little post parliamentary sinecures with big dirt for all the key players.

    Key signs of life from the PM will be signalled by the removal from cabinet of non-performers Wong, Garrett and Conroy. You can’t blame Rudd for them.

  80. Lefty E says:

    Brian I have no more expertise in polls than you do. Im just an enthusiast on Australian politics – what I teach is Comparative / International stuff.

    I’m around – just trying to stick by my pledge!

    Yep – it came out the day he was ousted, but was taken before the public had any idea about it. My view is the only way to read any poll is in relation to the previous one by the same outfit. It showed a swing. Of course that doesnt mean the absolute numbers are gospel – but aside from one Nielsen (I think) no poll this year had the LNP in front.

    It was bad luck – the week following I suspect it would have been a lot harder to convince caucus to move. One of the unfortunate impacts of Gillard’s ascension is that the historic parental leave and NBN announcements sunk without a trace – leaving just a telling 3% blip on the only poll taken in the right timeframe.

    Mind you, there’s also the rather poor 50-50 Galaxy JG has just got – time to give her the boot I guess?!

  81. kimberella says:

    Brian, I believe Wong also supported Rudd.

    Just on this question of deliberation, and the point you raise about Beazley:

    On 30 November 2006 Rudd met with Beazley and announced his intention to challenge for the leadership. On 1 December, Beazley announced not only a leadership election but also that all frontbench positions within the Parliamentary Labor Party would be made vacant.[11][12] Both sides claimed that they were in a winning position.

    A ballot was held on Monday 4 December and Kevin Rudd was declared the winner and leader of the ALP, by a margin of 49 votes to 39.[13] After the leadership results were announced, Jenny Macklin withdrew from the contest for deputy leader, which allowed Gillard to be elected unopposed to that position.

    There were 5 days between Rudd’s challenge and the meeting of caucus.

    In the case of the recent challenge, there were 10 and a half hours between Gillard’s challenge and the meeting of caucus.

    The point’s been made before that caucus members would hardly have been at their best in terms of decision making in the middle of the night, in the middle of a media frenzy, when as has been correctly observed, to have done anything else other than change the leader would have crippled the government.

    That’s the hard political reality, and it’s far from ideal, and it’s why it’s right to characterise this thing as a push for momentum orchestrated by a few, not a proper democratic process.

    As to whether Rudd should have emerged as leader in 2006 – I strongly doubt that anyone else would have won the election for Labor in 2007. They were hardly in drover’s dog territory.

  82. kimberella says:

    I think it’s also worth pointing out that two caucus members weren’t given the opportunity to vote – Peter Garrrett because he was overseas on government business (to make some substantive progress on whaling, another one of the positive things that was happening in the week the plotters chose to move against Rudd), and another member who was too ill to attend.

    My understanding is that in the past care has been taken to ensure that all caucus members are able to vote.

    And I think it’s also important to observe that Kevin Rudd had several other options open to him other than the honourable ones he chose – among them to force a vote on a spill, necessitating people to stand up and be counted, or to divide and have their names recorded, rather than the course he took of resigning the leadership.

  83. Brian says:

    akn, I’m hoping for Green BOP in the reps. That would be ideal, I think, and anchor labor to the left. Too much to hope for, though.

    Tones, if he gets in might have to go and see Bob Katter about his legislation. That would be fun!

    LE, thanks, and I agree

    Kim, I’m cool with most of that, but I was asking whether Rudd could have got up, not whether he should have.

    I’m anticipating here, but Manne waxes lyrical about the early Rudd, of the campaign, the apology, the 2020 summit even. He brought a fresh breathe of vision, hope and optimism, says Manne. He details two further stages, the last from Copenhagen onwards where things went pear-shaped.

    My concern about Rudd’s electability in 2010 has nothing to do with current polls. Rather, I thought Rudd could never recapture the mood of Kevin 07, or anything like it. Abbott could have slipped past him beating a few drums that he is in fact now beating. But I’m not sure, of course.

    Williams says Wong came on board with Gillard overnight, but I suspect she is in the category that Mark talks about and would normally have supported Rudd.

    In a sense this time the game was over before it formally started at 10.15. We can’t be happy with that.

    Stuart says that Rudd went back to his office and just cried and cried. Poor bugger. Eventually he picked up the phone, but it was useless.

    I’m totally in awe of the public performances of both Rudd and Gillard the next day. Can’t imagine how they were even upright.

  84. Brian says:

    Kim, I meant to mention Garrett. I suspect he would have supported Rudd, but I don’t know.

    On Rudd’s options, the one that the plotters were scared of was Rudd haring of to the GG and calling an election.

    Both Williams and Stuart say that Rudd felt safe after the Caucus meeting on Tuesday. It’s a mystery then, why Alister Jordan was canvassing support on Tuesday after the meeting, which was the case, according to Stuart. Also pointless. One MP not involved in plotting said in effect, “What the f*ck was I ever going to tell him?”

    So they told him what Rudd wanted to hear.

  85. Pavlov's Cat says:

    I’ve just been rereading the David Marr essay and noticing that one thing everyone seems to agree on about Rudd is his extraordinary emotional resilience, so I wasn’t surprised to see this go up at the ABC website fifteen minutes ago.

  86. Joe says:

    Almost Victorian is our ex-PM:

    Carry on! And don’t Panic!

    Keep a stiff upper lip!

    Protect yourself from other people’s bad manners by a conspicuous display of your own good ones.

    Elbows off the table, hands in laps!

    The devil goes away when he finds the door shut against him.

    Play your cards close to your chest.

    If a job’s worth doing it’s worth doing well.

    It’s a long road without a turn.

    Brush your hair one hundred times before bed.

    [Hope I haven’t strayed too far from the topic.]

  87. Labor Outsider says:

    LE, that is wrong. Newspoll also had the coalition in front at one point in June. And, as I said, look at how Labor’s primary vote was tracking. Even as the 2pp was coming up in Newspoll the primary vote was stuck in the mid-30s. Morgan simply is no longer considered one of the country’s better polling outfits. The most reliable way to consider the polling is to look at Possum’s pollytrack that takes account of all polling information. It shows a strong upward trend in both the primary and 2pp vote since Gillard assumed the leadership. What will be debated for years is whether Rudd had really turned the corner and could have charted a similar recovery to that of Gillard. Gillard’s far superior net satisfaction ratings suggest otherwise to me. Rudd should still have been considered favourite to win an election, but the risk of him losing was almost certainly larger.

    It is probably the case that some caucus members were ambushed to some extent and some will have felt like they had to go with the plotters. However, this could never have happened if he was a more respected leader. His unpopularity was much broader than a few factional leaders that didn’t think they could control him.

    In a way Labor was lucky the execution was so quick. An extended process would have played much worse in the media. While Beazley had more time before the caucus vote than Rudd, there are other factors that have to be considered. First, Rudd had been whiteanting Beazley for some time prior to the actual spill. Rudd was a much less loyal footsoldier than Gillard had been. Second, Rudd already new that there were concerns within the party about his leadership. That is why Jordan had been earlier canvassing support for Rudd. Perhaps if Rudd had been less dismissive of senior figures expressing concerns in the lead up to the final night his position would have been recoverable.

    Swan’s role in all of this is interesting. Remember, he was a strong supporter of Beazley before Rudd became leader and there had been tension between the two of them for some time.

  88. GregM says:

    “Almost Victorian is our ex-PM:”

    She lives in Altona Joe. That’s in the shadow of West Gate Bridge.

    Definitely Victorian.

    And the maxims you list definitely reflect Victorian virtues of patience, perseverance, sobriety and propriety.

    Nothing at all like the “virtues” one would list for a New South Welshperson – all tinsel and tosh- or those of a Queenslander- which would have a definite tinge of laidback paranioa.

  89. GregM says:

    Oops. Sorry Joe. Missed the Ex.

    Well he is almost Victorian in his virtues. Definitely not laid back.

  90. paul walter says:

    It seems the pity is, he couldn’t loosen up and pace himself at work and play.
    He is on a plateau with Whitlam, another brief bright moment that ushered out and ushered in an era.

  91. kimberella says:

    the one that the plotters were scared of was Rudd haring of to the GG and calling an election.

    I think that represents the insecurity and paranoia of the plotters, Brian. What justification would Rudd have offered the GG? If he’d lost the confidence of his own caucus, and therefore of the House, she would have been quite within her rights to ask him to surrender his commission. Remember the Queensland Governor refused to accede to Joh’s wishes to sack ministers after he had lost the support of his colleagues in 1987? It makes no sense, politically or constitutionally.

    It goes to their own sense of guilt and fear about what they were doing.

    Small men.

  92. kimberella says:

    Swan’s role in all of this is interesting. Remember, he was a strong supporter of Beazley before Rudd became leader and there had been tension between the two of them for some time.

    Indeed it is, LO, particularly if it’s true that Gillard was told that if she didn’t run, the right would run Swan. It seems to me that part of the strategy was to put Gillard in a position where her choices were also limited.

    I wonder how all those who are relatively sanguine about this process would have felt if Wayne Swan was now PM.

  93. Brian says:

    Early in the thread Pavlov’s Cat mentioned Robert Manne’s article titled ‘Rudd’s collapse’ and dated June 16 in the July edition of The Monthly, which was clearly written a few days earlier, as it mentions the Nielson poll of 7 June which saw Labor 47-53 behind in 2PP terms, Rudd’s personal popularity moving from 59% to 41% in two months and 49% against the mining tax as against 41% for.

    Manne sees the Rudd government as falling into three discrete chapters. The first was the “fulfilment of promises and the conjuring of dreams. For example, ratifying Kyoto, the apology to the stolen generations and “Whitlamesque” ambition in the domestic program – fixing the Federation, the education revolution, the broadband network, a formidable submarine fleet, replacing WorkChoices etc, etc.

    Also an ambitious international program, like reshaping the political architecture of the Asia-Pacific.

    The second chapter began with the GFC in August 2008, and included the grind of implementing the stimulus plan and many ambitions set in phase one. Manne thinks the GFC was Rudd’s finest hour.

    Then in late 2009 came Copenhagen and difficulties in implementation of programs calling into question the basic competence of the Government. On climate change in November 2009, Rudd in a passionate speech characterised any backdown on an ETS as “abject political cowardice”.

    A few months later Rudd chose cowardice as his way. The reasons given just didn’t wash.

    Then on the mining tax he took one of 130 recommendations and launched a complex, “almost incomprehensible” tax on an unsuspecting industry. Manne points out that the oil and gas tax, far less complex and radical, had been implemented after two years of discussion and negotiation. Followed by a taxpayer funded advertising program which Rudd had called “a cancer on democracy”.

    In looking for explanations, he comes up with two. The first is the issue of governance, cabinet as a rubber stamp a “withering away of proper process” etc and the alienation of ministers and backbenchers. It’s the by now familiar story.

    The style of the Rudd government is, then, according to this account, set by a domineering prime minister, lacking political touch, who has surrounded himself with advisers too obsequious or too cynical or too constrained to be of any great assistance.


    But there is more to the sudden collapse of the government’s fortunes than a failure of style and process. With Rudd there is also a deep confusion and unresolved tension between between word and action.

    He says the grand words are all very well.

    But without high-level political skills they can begin to resemble Walter Mitty dreams.

    Manne is not prescient about Rudd’s demise. This disjunction between rhetoric and reality is a lesson learnt, he says, he hopes not too late.

    Sorry about the long comment, but by and by I’ll put an update link at the end of the post. I’d like to keep all this together.

  94. Brian says:

    Kim, I think you are perfectly right about the insecurity of the plotters and the reminder of what happened to Joh is very relevant.

    On Swan, Stuart says that when the delegation went to see him at 4pm on the Wednesday “he agreed to come on board”.

    Williams says he put on his poker face and said nothing. I’ve got no evidence, of course, but I’m inclined to believe the Williams version.

  95. kimberella says:

    Brian, where’s the Nicholas Stuart article you’re talking about? I must have missed the link.

  96. Brian says:

    I’m also disinclined to think that Swan was ever remotely a starter. Both accounts say that Gillard was the only realistic option and I’ve not seen any evidence that Swan was considered or put forward by anyone.

  97. kimberella says:

    Brian, I’m not sure what you mean by “evidence”. It’s been written about. Pamela Williams’ article is not the only article on all this, nor necessarily a complete one.

  98. Brian says:

    It’s a book, Kim.

    Rudd’s Way: November 2007–June 2010

    In the American Bookstore yesterday they had three lined up on the counter, with photos of Rudd, Gillard and Abbott on the respective covers.

    The guy said that customers say it the good, the bad and the ugly, but they won’t say which is which.

    Stuart’s an ex ABC journalist, Canberra Times columnist, married to Catherine McGrath who you might remember as chief political correspondent for ABC radio at one time.

  99. Fine says:

    “I wonder how all those who are relatively sanguine about this process would have felt if Wayne Swan was now PM.”

    I think that misses the point, Kim. The point was to replace Rudd with someone who was electable. Gillard was obviously that person and had been spoken about as Rudd’s natural successor, maybe as soon as after this election. Circumstances quickened the schedule.

    It happened quickly, sure. What would be better? Months of white-anting, disloyalty and leaks to the press? Which is what Rudd served up to Beazley in 2006.

    Would you prefer for Gillard to wait until October when, quite possibly, Labor would have been unelectable?

  100. Brian says:

    Brian, I’m not sure what you mean by “evidence”. It’s been written about. Pamela Williams’ article is not the only article on all this, nor necessarily a complete one.

    I’ll take your word for it, Kim, I hadn’t seen it.

    On the Williams article, I had some dialogue about it with Mark. We both thought it was worth getting out there. I drew the short straw. I’m sure his version would have been shorter and linked to other articles. It’s not my normal patch.

  101. su says:

    There was an article in the SMH where Garrett publicly backed Gillard prior to the vote: Link

  102. Brian says:

    Fine said:

    Circumstances quickened the schedule.

    Stuart says that when Arbib and Feeney started plotting after 7 June they worked backwards from 24 June. Because Gillard wouldn’t budge it seemed game over after the Caucus meeting on the Tuesday. Gillard’s anger on Wednesday morning provided one last opportunity. Everyone involved knew that it would have to be all over in a day at that stage, and successful, or they would all crash and burn.

    One would hope that the party would recoil from what’s happened and be reformed to provide a more deliberative process. But that’s not easy and many think that Simon Crean’s attempts to reform the party cost him the leadership without achieving much. Can’t see incoming president Anna Bligh taking it on. They seem to be thinking of hiding her under a rock for a while.

  103. Ken Lovell says:

    This recent observation by Brendan Nyhan seems pertinent to the thread:

    ‘One of my favorite themes is the way journalists create narratives based on tactics, personality, or dramatic events that purport to “explain” political outcomes that are actually the result of more systematic factors …’


    ‘Rudd went back to his office and just cried and cried. Poor bugger.’

    Yes, he’s obviously on the edge of a complete mental collapse and sending him off to spend time with his family was the best thing for him. Much better than having him carted off by the men in white coats. The AWU actually did him a favour and he’ll thank Ludwig and Howes in a few years.

    Honestly, the frantic efforts to fabricate a nice version of events for the history books are unprecedented in my experience.

  104. kimberella says:

    The point was to replace Rudd with someone who was electable.

    Fine, the argument hinges on the fact that Rudd’s party management contributed to his electoral woes. In other words, the plotters wanted to remove Rudd anyway (and we’ve heard endless stories about how he abused David Feeney, wouldn’t take Mark Arbib’s calls, blah blah) but an argument that he’d lost electoral support was a necessary condition for his removal.

    No, I wouldn’t have wanted Gillard to wait til October. I do not believe that Rudd was not electable, and I think the gain from this (and we’re yet to see if they materialise) do not outweigh the costs.

  105. kimberella says:

    Honestly, the frantic efforts to fabricate a nice version of events for the history books are unprecedented in my experience.

    Thoroughly agree, Ken.

  106. su says:

    What was fabricated? That you don’t like an inference doesn’t mean a fact (crying) was fabricated.

  107. Pavlov's Cat says:

    Honestly, the frantic efforts to fabricate a nice version of events for the history books are unprecedented in my experience.

    If that is true then it doesn’t say much for your experience. I’ve seen some far more egregious whitewashes, in and out of politics, including some accounts I remember written by apologists for Kevin Rudd’s treatment of Kim Beazley and Bob Hawke’s of Bill Hayden. There is nothing nice about a political takeover and only the very dim are trying to pretend that there is, but all this Loud Denunciation of anyone not actually spluttering with outrage is a bit of an over-simple take on the situation. Most of us are a little better at nuance than George W Bush. And as far as I can see, both Wallace’s and Brian’s take on the events of that week are doing an excellent job at remaining neutral about the available information, not ‘fabricating nice’.

    Who, exactly, is frantic? Where are they frantic? Who is fabricating, and where? What is being fabricated? Do you have access to a more accurate version of events, and if you do, why aren’t you saying so?

  108. su says:

    BTW the TV ads for Janelle Saffin, ALP member for Page, one of the seats mentioned in the article are pretty remarkable, she is essentially distancing herself from her own party in an attempt to hold the seat. Paraphrasing but the closing line, delivered by a supporter is something like “I’m not voting for a party but for the person”. The polls there must have been truly dire.

  109. kimberella says:

    This is getting so pointless. We’re just talking past each other.

  110. Ken Lovell says:

    PC are you suggesting that if it’s in the newspaper we ought to take it as true unless we can disprove it? That’s certainly a departure from the usual methodology, which is that unless something has a verifiable source it should be treated with great suspicion. As I wrote earlier, the sudden rehabilitation of the MSM as a source of unimpeachable factual information is truly startling.

    To take one small example, who is the source of the information that Rudd ‘cried and cried’? Why can’t they be named, if they are actually in a position to know? And it they aren’t named, why on earth would I believe something so obviously consistent with the meme the Gillard apologists have been pushing since day 1 that Rudd was on the edge of a breakdown?

    The usual scepticism that people here display about stories in the MSM has been abandoned completely.

  111. adrian says:

    “Then on the mining tax he took one of 130 recommendations and launched a complex, “almost incomprehensible” tax on an unsuspecting industry.”

    If the industry was unsuspecting then it mustn’t have been paying much attention to the Henry Review to which it made detailed submissions.

    On the broader point, while this is getting beyond tedious, I can’t understand the need that some people to justify this coup over and over and over again. I don’t know how many third hand accounts we’ve had of Rudd being dictatorial, mean, authoritarian, on the edge of breakdown etc etc. Yet nobody who was actually there, who was one of his staff, or would have direct knowledge has said anything.

    The fact that his staff was in tears when he announced his resignation has of course been convieniently been overlooked.

    Anyway, I don’t care how many accounts we have from journalists or anyone else who wasn’t there, what happened was wrong in both the personal and political sense, and the subsequent narratives seeking to discredit Rudd merely emphasise how wrong it was.

    “The usual scepticism that people here display about stories in the MSM has been abandoned completely.”

    Yes, that ocurred to me as well, and I was wondering why that is the case.

  112. Brian says:

    Ken, PC will speak for herself, but I don’t take what I read in the MSM for real. I usually don’t read the Australian unless someone here links to an article. Many ABC journos and commenters are problematic.

    I’ve found the Fin Review better, but you need to read it critically also. Tingle said something the other day that I thought was downright loopy.

    I’ve already said what I thought the Williams article was about and within it’s limitations I thought she did quite well.

    Many of the respected commenters have forgotten more about politics and political science than I’ll ever know. However, I claim some understanding of public administration, which, with respect they don’t know as much about as they know about politics.

    Labour Outsiders account of the Rudd government I regarded with some scepticism because there could have personal issues that coloured his view. But on another thread when wpd, whose perspective I understand and respect, said LO was on the money (repeated on this thread) I gave it more credence.

    There is something that actually drives me a bit mad. It’s the notion that we have to have a firm position, a summative judgement, on just about everything in the public sphere.

    I don’t have a position on whether Julia Gillard did the right thing under the circumstances and I doubt I ever will. Quite simply, I can’t walk in her shoes and see circumstances as she experienced them. I’m inclined to think it would have been better for democracy and public life if she would have waited until after the election if Rudd had to be removed for his dysfunctional approach to his job.

    But I can’t and won’t say she acted wrongly given the information available and the actual life experience she found herself in. It’s not necessary to go that far and frankly better if we don’t.

  113. Brian says:

    I’m gotta go coz I’m late. So be civil and don’t abuse each other. It’s against the comments policy.

    I’m not enjoying this much, but then enjoyment has never been the highest priority for me.

  114. Brian says:

    adrian, I’ve told you now why I give credence to LO who has quoted chapter and verse his experience in Rudd’s office. wpd’s view, who would also know what he is talking about, clinched it for me.

    You make a useful distinction between the personal and the political in looking at people’s actions. I can live without a final judgement on either, but a judgement on the personal is particularly inappropriate – IMHO.

    Now I’m outta here.

  115. su says:

    Ken Lovell is not being skeptical, he is declaring something to be fabricated. This is the opposite of skepticism which requires people to question what is not proven or substantiated. The claim that the MSM is fabricating the information about Rudd’s style of governing is not proven or substantiated. I am skeptical of these claims of fabrication. I am less skeptical of the information about Rudd’s personal style as it is coming from numerous sources, some of whom are not in the MSM. To continue to maintain that this information from multiple sources, some of whom are independent of the MSM is all fabrication is a statement of faith, not skepticism.

  116. Eric Sykes says:

    “Yet nobody who was actually there, who was one of his staff, or would have direct knowledge has said anything.”…well no actually that’s simply not true..labor outsider on this very thread has talked of his period of time working for the ruddster and how awful it was when he worked for ‘im. the fact that his nickname in and around brisbane was “pretty boy rudd” for years says a lot…he needed to go, now he’s gone labor might win, i, for one, am thankful for that…

    and a number of people i know will now vote labor where before they’ve voted green or liberal…..

    the hysterical reaction to gillards rise from the rudd lovers has been a thing to behold…

    enuff from me.

  117. Fine says:

    Adrian, were you so filled with Spluttering Outrage when Rudd launched a successful coup against Beazley in 2006?

    Or Keating against Hawke in 199?

  118. Lefty E says:

    OK, LO, so there were two individual polls that had ALP behind on 2PP. There were 50+ that didn’t, and the trend didnt either. For that matter, Gillard’s only been here 10 minutes at had one at level pegging (Galaxy). Panic stations now, is it?

    I think Possum has it all nailed, as he wrote on June 28, the trend up had already started:

    “Collectively, the polls had generally been trending upwards for the ALP over the last few cycles. …[ie under Rudd] Bob McMullan had argued in the party room … that the ALP was in a much stronger position than the reporting was suggesting *in terms of the way election dynamics historically play out.* ”

    This is before the Morgan that show a 3% boost after paretnal leave and NBN. Seriously, does anyone her *seriously* think that wouldnt have improved the vote? Of course it would have. And Morgan found it. It doesn matter what flaws morgan has if youre looking for swings – provided you compare it to the previous morgan. any flaws are ceteris paribus.

    Look… there’s no one here suggesting support hadn’t fallen for Rudd in 2010, but an election hadn’t been called, and that only ever going to do one thing to Abbott’s vote.

    I think Poss really nails it here, there were troubles at that time, yes, (see his post for those), but thats NORMAL (hello!) for an incumbent first term govt, the 2PP trend had never looked like going against Rudd, and history was overwhelmingly on Rudd’s side (…as was everything we all know about Abbott – but thats my own addition). Here’s the money quote:

    “This begs the question of whether the recent turn [that is, UPWARDS FOR RUDD] in the polling forced the hand of those in the Labor party wanting to remove Rudd – putting them in the position where if they did not strike last week[ ie June 25], any further improvement in the polls, any further improvement in the polling trends, would effectively close any window of opportunity to replace Rudd with Gillard until well into the next term of government. Especially as any further improvement in the two party preferred would make many people start to question the authenticity and age of internal polling suggesting a wipeout.”

    This links back to the devastating and effective brinkmanship of the plotters. Support for Rudd could not even genuinely be tested – let alone mobilised – without tearing the party’s electoral chances to shreds.

    Im glad you have acknowledged “Rudd should still have been considered favourite to win an election”, couldnnt agree more. its the revisionist denial of this is the only point that still really gets my goat about the whole damn issue. Its PIFFLE.

    The bottom line is: Howard was in *much* worse shape in 98 and 01, but his party stuck with him. Rudd’s didnt, becuase they hated him. There’s your entire story.

    The “electoral” argument is selectively constructed, ahistorical, weak, ignores prior evidence of upward trend, ignores final polling data which not only exists, but makes perfect sense (of course parental leave brought a swing), ignores the voter-focussing that follows a visit to the GG, Rudd’s humiliation of Abbott in the health debate – and is all too convenient. And ill say it: its just plain wrong. “highly tendentious and improbable” is about as kind as one can objectively be to the whole thesis.

    And building on Ken’s final point.. why this need to purify Gillard’s ascent? What does it really matter if it was an ugly knife job? Own it!!

  119. adrian says:

    Eric Sykes – There was a contributor called John who said he had worked for Rudd for 6 years and found none of these negative characteristics. I acccept his statement as much as that of ‘Labor Outsider’ who has spent most of his time on this blog dumping on Rudd. Anyone can claim anything on a blog in case you hadn’t noticed.

    Fine – You can characterise my position as ‘Spluttering Outrage’, but I would characterise yours as Naive Simplicity since we’re using capitals. To answer your question Beazley wasn’t a serving PM in case you hadn’t noticed, and Hawke was given plenty of opportunities to go to the people as PM. Rudd was given no such opportunity and I haven’t seen anything in the mounds of verbage wasted on this topic that even comes close to justifying it.
    I happen to think these aspects of the coup that differentiate it from others make a difference. You obviously don’t.

    BTY, I’m not ‘spluttering’ and I’m actually not ‘outraged’ by the coup, more with the transparent garbage that is being used to justify it. Notice how the victim hasn’t been in the position to put his side of the story. Instead we have smears and insinuations spread by those who have most to gain from a character assasination of Rudd.

  120. Eric Sykes says:


    You know what this is?

    The world’s smallest violin,playin’ just for the Ruddster.

  121. Katz says:

    The “electoral” argument is selectively constructed, ahistorical, weak, ignores prior evidence of upward trend, ignores final polling data

    A distinction can usefully be made between the poll data and the electoral data.

    It is true that Rudd was holding up ok according to polls taken in the weeks before his demise.

    However, it is also likely to be true that pollies who went home for the winter break began to hear negative comments regarding Rudd from their electoral punters.

    Given that Rudd was widely despised by a great many practising pollies, these pollies didn’t need a powerful psephological arguments to agree that it was time for Rudd to go.

    Moreover, if Rudd’s removal entailed maximum pain and humiliation for Rudd, then so much the better.

    Pollies shouldn’t be required to apologise for acting on this information and those emotions.

    Politics is a passionate business, not a science.

  122. Fine says:

    Adrian, sorry but I find the differentiation you claiming between this and other similar cases unconvincing.

    Presumably, Gillard should have given Rudd ‘a go’, even if she thought he’d lead the ALP over the cliff.

    PM/Opposition Leader – it’s still the same removal of someone who was thought to be an electoral liability. It’s not a pretty business, but that’s how politics work.

    And please, Rudd as a ‘victim’. I feel sorry for the guy, but I reckon he would have behaved in exactly the same way.

  123. adrian says:

    There’s no point in continuing this, but there’s no evidence of him leading anyone over a cliff, although I’m reminded of King Lear for some reason.

  124. Fine says:

    Lefty E and adrian, here’s some more from Possum, from the same article which Lefty E linked to before.

    “If we rerun the simulation, but this time use Nielsen preference data as the two party preferred generator (where respondents get to allocate their own two party preferred preferences rather than have them allocated on the basis of the 2007 election flows), the most likely result would have been for the ALP to win only 69 seats, with there being only a 10% implied probability of the ALP winning government in its own right and a 30% implied probability of winning enough seats to even be able to attempt to form government with the support of all three independents that will be comfortably re-elected.

    This makes the ALP “internal polling” that was being bandied around before the spill as quite important, as the purported numbers involved are entirely consistent with the polling we’ve been seeing over the last three months once we adjust for respondent based preference allocations.

    It also makes them only a “moderately worse case scenario” under the assumption of preference flows repeating their 2007 election pattern – meaning that even if the internal party polling results were being slightly over-hyped to MPs and the media to encourage the dumping of Rudd, they contained not so much nuggets of truth about the most likely electoral situation, but large ingots of truth.

    From a brutal hard-politics perspective, this adds considerable weight to the public opinion argument for replacing Rudd. However, it also needs to be kept in mind that the polling was improving, so the results would have been a little better than these simulations.

    Not greatly better, but around half a dozen seats better in each instance.”

    The evidence about whether Rudd could have won is ambiguous. But to say there’s no evidence that he was going to lose the election, simple isn’t true.

    Sorry, for such a long copy and paste.

  125. mbahnisch says:

    @Fine, we don’t yet know whether Julia Gillard can win this election for Labor.

    Polls have limited predictive value. At best, they give us a snapshot of the state of public opinion at the time.

    We are relying on faith alone in believing that ALP internal polling said that Kevin Rudd was a liability sufficient to cost Labor the election. Such polls are very difficult to interpret (tracking polls are not at all like published polls, taking a small sample, having a large qualitative element, and relying on complex statistical techniques to judge the impact of issues and personalities on voting intention). They are almost always limited in circulation to less than ten people, and most ‘leaks’ about them are worthless and should be treated with grave suspicion.

    Similarly, most Labor MPs were told about the polling rather than shown it. Most MPs also don’t know how to interpret tracking polls.

    Further, we cannot answer the question of whether these polls would have changed had there not been a leadership change. There is every reason to believe that the ALP was turning the corner just at the moment Kevin Rudd was removed.

  126. Lefty E says:

    You’re missing the point Fine. Every 1st term govt since 1970 has been in the same (but mostly a *worse*) position at the same point. All of them won. Rudd was actually doing better than than than Howard did in 98.

    This is what I mean by ahistorical. Possum’s snapshot in time is just that. Howard would have been a one termer if this was a sound argument to move on the PM.

    And the trend was already – indisputably – turning the other way. Under Rudd. Just like it did under every other new PM. Possum goes out of his way to state that point.

    Morgan (and the wider poll trend) made it obvious the coup had to be launched – or there’d probably be no fig leaf left, as Possum notes. I dont think its any accident it was hurried after the parental leave and NBN wins. They were going to be very popular. Sadly, they’ve kinda disappeared from view.

    Anyway – thats really it from me – my opinion is we dont need to pretend there wasnt blood on the floor to ultimately embrace Julia – lets see if she wins.

    My guess has always been yes, she will. Then its about policy. So far – aside from her actually meeting with the Greens (tick), I’m not the slightest bit impressed.

  127. mbahnisch says:

    Every 1st term govt since 1970 has been in the same (but mostly a *worse*) position at the same point. All of them won. Rudd was actually doing better than than than Howard did in 98.

    Indeed, Lefty E.

    My guess has always been yes, she will. Then its about policy. So far – aside from her actually meeting with the Greens (tick), I’m not the slightest bit impressed.

    And agree wholeheartedly with that too!

  128. Fine says:

    That’s all very well, but it’s entirely ignoring the uncertainty that Possum also writes about.

    “From a brutal hard-politics perspective, this adds considerable weight to the public opinion argument for replacing Rudd. However, it also needs to be kept in mind that the polling was improving, so the results would have been a little better than these simulations.

    Not greatly better, but around half a dozen seats better in each instance.”

    We don’t know what would have happened. There’s evidence to support any number of scenarios and to write as though there was a certain outcome – Rudd would have won – simply isn’t justified by the evidence.

  129. mbahnisch says:

    Yes, but that goes both ways, Fine. Given that there was no certainty that Gillard would improve Labor’s electoral position either (and think about the uselessness of the frequent Premier swaps in NSW), taking the very grave step of removing an incumbent first term Prime Minister, elected in a highly personal campaign in 2007, at light speed and without due deliberation should surely have weighed on those making the decision.

  130. adrian says:

    Don’t know why you continue to miss the point so resolutely Fine. The point is not that anyone knew with any certainty that Rudd would win, but that there was insufficient evidence that he would lose to justify his overthrow.

    Nobody ever knows who is going to win an election; every election is uncertain. If that was the justification every PM facing the electorate would have been replaced by one considered more palatable.

  131. Joe says:

    adrian and mbahnisch,
    to me it sounds like you’re turning a negative into a positive. The Liberal opposition leader is Tony Abbott! I mean he has to represent one of the weakest ever alternative PM-tickets ever! And Rudd was in serious trouble. To use an unfortunate metaphor, he looked like a boxer hanging on for dear life, at times. It was all too clearly written in his face: “this stupid Australian electorate are voting for this Neanderthal, can’t they see how brilliant I am…” It was truly pathetic.

    And as you say, he was the incumbent! He represented, I think, a great problem for the ALP. He had this almost Teutonic unpredictability under pressure, he was breaking.

  132. Eric Sykes says:


    I to have been completely confused as to why the Gill has attracted so much hate mail on these threads…

    The assumption that Ruddster was gonna win against the Monk seems to me a nice romantic notion, and yes I think that regardless of “The Polls”.

    The Monk has pleased many because he is not a “Bureaucrat” and he’s made much of that what with the cycle and the swim trunks and all. That opportunity has been removed; Ruddster was is and will remain a “Bureaucrat”.

    The Monk is now pitted against a “Politician” who what’s more can occasionally talk in a language that can be understood by all and IMHO the Monk will find that really hard going, he would have eaten Ruddster alive in the eyes of many.

    I never thought the ALP would win against him, now I think they might. And I’m thankful for being given that hope. And yes yes, I know, I tend to simplify, reduce, and over simplfy. So once again 😉 enuff from me.

  133. anthony nolan says:

    Eric, certain things you’ve said resonate but from the perspective of how gender plays out with the electorate and within the ALP. I’m wondering whether Rudd’s masculinity was distasteful for the swinging voters in the marginals compared to Action Abbott. And within the ALP.

    However, in contest with the PM’s model of femininity Abbott’s masculinity, reactionary as it is, is simply unacceptable. Maybe the PM makes all those aspirational tradies inhabiting under built McMansions in the marginals think of their steadfast domestic managing wives. Plus the wives of course who identify with her genjder identity.

    There must be something like that happening coz there’s fuck all in policy terms.

  134. Ken Lovell says:

    ‘I never thought the ALP would win against [Abbott], now I think they might.’

    Gawd stone the crows, the revisionism just gets more and more laughable. Eric are you seriously suggesting that the Libs went through all that nonsense with Nelson and Turnbull when all the while they had Rudd-slayer Abbott in reserve? I wonder why more people weren’t confidently forecasting a Liberal win back in the old pre-Gillard days. Just trying to preserve the morale of other comrades, no doubt.

    A quick look at the threads here will refresh people’s memories about the response to Abbott’s election (assuming the parent site ever regains its health). Abbott was almost universally derided as a joke; a sure sign that the conservatives had sunk into irrelevance. Someone who could not possibly win the next election. And now a few months later we’re supposed to believe Abbott was a shoo-in absent the last-minute dramatic leadership spill? Honestly.

  135. paul walter says:

    No harm in making sure, Ken.
    Getting rid of the atavistic hard right and its valorisations of repressive policies is a useful first step or what must follow in dragging the country into the twenty first century.
    The proof will be in the pudding, if Labor gets back, its only a change of leader , not of a party.
    If the coalition is shorn of its Hansonist baggage thru the election, which is an impediment to its reforming as a workable genuinely liberal alternative necessary for the two party democratic system, in the wake of the failure of neo con/lib ideology, there is the silver lining even for this grey cloud.
    I realise Gillard is a return to the twentieth century, but even that’s an improvement on the Abbott “DeMaistre” nineteenth?

  136. ossie says:


    It is not your call to make on whether the ELECTED ALP caucus had enough “evidence” to vote the way they did for PM.

  137. Labor Outsider says:

    In the end it is pretty simple. He was performing badly. His decision making and delivery was poor, he had alienated the majority of his colleagues, and the party had nosedived in the polls (being behind at that stage was not unusual but seeing your net satisfaction rating drop by 60pp in 9 months certainly is). Rudd may or may not have won the election, but there was certainly a risk that he would lose it. Discounting internal polling without having seen it is simply ridiculous. Elections are won and lost in the marginals and the internal marginal polling was worse than the picture gathered by the national polls, which anyway, overestimating Labor’s 2pp because of the assumption that Green preferences would flow at the same rate as 2007. Given all the other problems with his leadership, why would the party want to take that risk? Of course, switching to Gillard also entailed risks, but it is fair to say that so far the risk has paid off. Labor’s primary vote is way up from what it was in Rudd’s last weeks and even if we believe support for Rudd had turned a corner, I haven’t seen a convincing argument that he would have enjoyed the same increase in support as Gillard has.

    This discussion has preceded as though the party has no right to change leaders, or that somehow there must be definitive proof that an election will be lost before a change can be made. That is ridiculous and untenable in practice. One can always make the argument that a recovery in support is possible. So, what constitutes justification of removal? How would you ever get rid of a leader you thought was an electoral liability? A leader needs to have the confidence of the party he or she leads. When that evaporates it is all over.

  138. Pavlov's Cat says:

    PC are you suggesting that if it’s in the newspaper we ought to take it as true unless we can disprove it?

    No, nor do I see how you can possibly infer anything of the kind from what I said.

    That’s certainly a departure from the usual methodology, which is that unless something has a verifiable source it should be treated with great suspicion.

    ‘Usual’ for whom? I thought what was ‘usual’ in journalism was that journalists were granted, for obvious reasons, the right to protect their sources. As for ‘great suspicion’, that depends entirely on the journalist. Of course most readings of journalism depend on the skill of the reader to distinguish matters of opinion from matters of fact, but in matters of verifiable fact I would, yes, assume that certain journalists — George Megalogenis, Michelle Grattan, Laura Tingle, David Marr, Lenore Taylor — could be trusted to be telling the truth. Some others, not so much. And with other others, yes, I am almost as paranoid as you.

    As I wrote earlier, the sudden rehabilitation of the MSM as a source of unimpeachable factual information is truly startling.

    Again, it depends who you’re talking about, but I personally haven’t ‘rehabilitated’ anybody. You appear to think that everyone who blogs or comments here is in lockstep (with you) on this. Personally I found the near-blanket contempt for and paranoia about the so-called MSM that seemed to be a given in the blogosphere quite weird when I first started blogging five years ago, especially in the way there seemed to be no distinction at all being made between good, indifferent and bad journalists and reporters. Again, it depends entirely on who the journalist is.

    To take one small example, who is the source of the information that Rudd ‘cried and cried’?

    In the comment in which he mentions that, Brian gives the source as Rudd’s biographer, journalist Nicholas Stuart, in his book Rudd’s Way: November 2007-June 2010, to a site about which Brian then provides a link in a later comment. Jeez, you could at least actually read the comments before you trash them.

  139. kimberella says:

    It is not your call to make on whether the ELECTED ALP caucus had enough “evidence” to vote the way they did for PM.

    That’s a ridiculous comment, ossie. If taken to its logical conclusion, none of us would be able to discuss anything politicians do.

    The case for the leadership change is hardly enhanced by such a silly remark.

  140. Ken Lovell says:

    PC I read Brian’s comment. Unless Stuart claims to have been in Rudd’s office at the relevant time, which seems unlikely, he is obviously not the source of the information. He’s a journalist repeating what some unidentified person told him. I stand by my comment.

    Journalists have the right to protect their sources. However when sources are not disclosed, which today is the rule more than the exception, readers are entitled to question both the veracity of the information and the motivation of the source. It’s not good enough to say oh well the source didn’t want to be named but we’ll believe what they said anyway.

    If there’s no apparent reason why the source would want anonymity, as here, and the circumstances are intuitively improbable (also as here – was one of Rudd’s personal staff really leaking to Stuart about such a sensitive matter? On the balance of probabilities it seems unlikely) then there must be a strong suspicion that the journalist in question is merely relating a story which is incapable of independent verification.

  141. Eric Sykes says:

    …Ken…i have been consistently saying on this blog (and others) that Aboot is the real threat..the real danger…that those who thought he’d never be opposition leader were hopeless romantics, that those who think he couldn’t win an election were/are kidding themselves…no revisionism there from me whatsoever…….

  142. Lefty E says:

    I think we’ve amply established the obvious here, people – there is no consensus on JGs knifing of Rudd, it has not been smoothed over with unconvincing, thinly-evidenced tales of electoral doom, there is considerable disquiet – but she will win anyway.

    In this, LP commentators here reflect the community at large – who have been polled on this question: a majority (57%, last I looked) appear to hold the view that her accession wasn’t kosher. Argue as you may, this alternate view is not winning the day.

    However, a very large minority (43%) dont seem to care. People are divided. I dare say that wont end – no matter how many people invoke the spirit of ‘internals polls alleged’. We’ve heard the arguments, we arent convinced. And we are in very good company among our fellow punters.

    More worryingly, the number of voters in QLD that are unimpressed with the mode of her accession appears to be greater than the national average, enhancing probably the only serious electoral issue she has – how she will fare in that state.

    My guess is she will get home easy. Just like Kevin Rudd. Why?

    Cos Abbott was never getting within coo-ee of Quentin and an oath.

    Ciao for niao, punteros.

  143. Ken Lovell says:

    Apologies then Eric. I did try to check, but of course the site is down.

  144. kimberella says:

    @Ken, we’re sorry for the inconvenience, but we think it’s pretty important that we manage to clean the site of the hack that’s plagued it for quite some time. We hope to be returning soon.

  145. Ken Lovell says:

    Heh I meant I tried to check before I posted MY comment, not after I read Eric’s.

    Good luck with the site Kim … hope the hacking has no connection with the election.

  146. Patrickb says:

    “but it’s not logically possible to ‘disagree with’ an explanation; you can only say that you don’t accept — that is, believe — it. ”
    With respect that sounds like total nonsense. Of course one can disagree or find fault with an explanation without accusing someone of lying. The explanation may be firmly held by the one making it, that is they believe the explanation to be true thus they cannot by lying as they are not deliberately claiming something that they no to be true. Explanations, such as the one at the head of this thread may be based largely on hearsay which has less value that evidence elicited from the parties actually involved this making it less agreeable. I humbly suggest that you are splitting hairs in order to try and shore up a rather weak position.

  147. Pavlov's Cat says:

    I wasn’t taking any particular ‘position’, Patrickb, I was talking about words and what they mean. ‘Finding fault’ with an explanation is fine, but that is not what ‘disagreeing’ means. I’ve been getting more and more perturbed by the way facts and opinions seem more and more often to be represented as interchangeable in the public culture both online and off, and I was making a point about the difference between them.

  148. jo says:

    Another bit of intestine to claw over….let’s do a Rorschach test using the trio who were running the whole show, just a month ago.

    You can read van Onselen’s piece if you need to (and he should talk).

    This was the trio that Gillard, and everyone else had to get past to see Kevvie. Didn’t Conroy famously take a plane so he could discuss *cough* vital national infrastructure.

    I’m sure they are all capable lads….I’ve been shopping at Harris Farm for like ever, but running the Prime Minister’s office..exactly how much um, work experience/environments would the three of them had combined – possibly not even what one 55 year old would possess…..of course it depends on the individuals blah, but..hhm, interesting choices, Kevin. (I ain’t going there.)

  149. Pavlov's Cat says:

    Jo, I’m glad someone else has brought this up. I’ve been a bit bemused by the people who say they aren’t buying the story about Gillard finally doing her narna after learning from an article in the paper — the same way Peter Garrett had learned that the insulation program had been cancelled — that Rudd had Alister Jordan ringing round checking on her loyalty, because it certainly rings true to me. (And if that practice is “normal”, as some claim, then in my view that just makes it worse.) Like most women over about 35 I’ve had some experience of being a hard-working, loyal and apparently totally invisible employee while the men in charge showered their young male proteges and mentees with attention, responsibility, trust and rewards, and frankly if I’d been Deputy PM and had been playing fourth fiddle to — and being spied on by — a cabal of boy wonders, I’d have cracked a lot sooner than Gillard did.

  150. kimberella says:

    @Ken, thanks, no it’s almost certainly not because of the election, but because of LP’s prominence in google rankings.

  151. kimberella says:

    @DrCat, I don’t think that’s quite right. Gillard enjoyed pretty much open door access to Rudd as DPM. The ones complaining about being frozen out by his staff were a bunch of hacks like Karl Bitar, Paul Howes and Mark Arbib, and then we had poor David Feeney being sworn at.

    The significance of the story was not that Jordan had been making the calls, but that Rudd was believed to have Peter Hartcher on the leash, and therefore it was assumed that he himself had inspired the story.

    That’s what she saw as disloyalty, not the fact that the calls had been made.

    In the meantime, we have people like Bob Debus complaining because Jordan’s text messages to him not sufficiently personalised. I think a lot of the plotters are the ones with incredibly fragile egos.

  152. jo says:

    Kim, I dont think it’s just about the night or even weeks leading up to…the point in my mind was that if one doesn’t know who and when to pat and who to bark at etc. – wtf are you doing running the PM’s office in the first place?

    Enemies closer and making sure caucus are happy yadda, yadda. Surely, that’s part of your job description before you even get to your to-do-list and that’s another kettle ie. dealing with journalists, policy inexperience etc.

  153. Pavlov's Cat says:

    Thanks Kim — I read several different versions of the story and more than one of them emphasised Jordan’s actions from a privileged position-of-trust, which seemed to be borne out by Rudd’s impassioned remarks in his defence at the press conference immediately after he lost the leadership. But you’re certainly right about the involvement of Hartcher, which I’d forgotten about.

  154. Labor Outsider says:

    Kim, Jordan’s text messaging is just one indicator of the disdain in which the PMO treated caucus members and often quite senior ones. It was routine within the PMO to have young, inexperienced staffers lecture/issue instructions to senior MPs and ministers. Rudd did little to cultivate good relationships with them. Perhaps their egos are a little fragile, but it is no way to successfully manage relationships within a political party, especially for a leader that already had poor personal relationships with many senior figures. Rudd effectively ran policy across a number of portfolios from within the PMO, often giving the relevent minister only marginal input into the policy process and announcements in their portfolio area.

  155. Brian says:

    Sorry I can’t be here when everyone else is. A few comments.

    My chief contacts in the boondocks in Qld thought they had a chance against Rudd, much less so against Gillard. But that’s 10 days ago, I might try to check again.

    Eric Sykes, Rudd’s nickname in Qld amongst public servants was “Dr Death”, but honestly we didn’t know much about him. It was Coaldrake, Glyn Davis and a couple of other high profile advisers that we blamed for turning the public service inside out. I do have a contact who was a Labor insider at the time and would have known Rudd at the time. I might make a phone call.

    I noted john’s experience, but note also that it was in Rudd’s electoral office. Running the PM’s office is an entirely different operation.

    I can’t find the link, but Patrick Weller spent four weeks in Rudd’s office when he was studying cabinet government. He has a more benign view of Rudd’s administrative style. But, frankly, I would want to know more about Weller’s own perspicacity. Also I doubt he would have been let in if he were not sympathetic.

    I am not trying to “purify Gillard’s ascent” and I’m not sure anyone else is either. Just trying to understand why she moved in the end. I’d been wondering about her experience as Rudd’s deputy and what it must have been like. Jo’s comment and PC’s response were interesting.

    Kim mentioned the text message to Debus. Stuart’s account of this was interesting.

    At the Caucus meeting Bradbury (from Lyndsay) talked about voters being worried about asylum seekers. Stuart puts it:

    It was not a plea to swing to the right: he was urging the need to communicate better with voters.

    Then Debus, whose electorate is a bit further west spoke.His voters were sympathetic to asylum seekers and he outlined some ways more sympathetic messages about policy could be communicated to the electorate.

    After the meeting Jordan sent him a text message to organise a meeting to discuss his ideas.

    Stuart says that the plotters were committed to topping Rudd at this stage and that it was the plotters who spun it as an ‘impersonal and bizarre message’ thanking Debus for supporting Rudd, and then proceeded to leak it to the media.

    The ethics of that are quite vomit-making, if true.

    But on Ken’s standard, we shouldn’t believe a bit of it, because it’s all hearsay by people with an interest in duping us.

    On polls, Mark says that politicians don’t understand how to read polls. I’d be surprised if journalists in the main do either. I certainly don’t. Williams is only saying, I think, that the plotters thought Rudd was taking them to oblivion. She doesn’t go into whether they were misguided in this view, and quite possibly she understood the polls the same way.

    Ken, I think you misconstrue the positions of your interlocutors a bit and it’s not all that helpful.

  156. Brian says:

    Finally, I didn’t want this thread to be canvassing whether Julia would make a good PM, but there’s been a bit said.

    She had the option, I think, of postponing the election and going through a cycle of policy review. She chose to run with what they had, and if Rudd had centralised policy development on himself, then the cupboard was probably a bit bare without him. His strategy, it seems, was to have a long stoush with the miners, which would have meant a late election.

    People like Laura Tingle have been saying, Gillard needs to be specific about how big Australia should be. She could only answer this by giving a number off the top of her head. Save us from a charismatic leader with all the answers.

    Rudd blurting out on TV that he liked the notion of a big Australia last October was one of the early signals for me that things weren’t quite right. Ministers would be wondering what was coming out of his mouth next.

    Gillard has responded by saying it’s not about a number, it’s about putting in place a planning process that gives us balanced and sustainable development. She’s asked Burke to prepare a report which will take about a year, as I understand it.

    In other areas too, I think she will be nominating priority areas where policy will be developed. And delegating the task of policy development.

    Right back in the Hawke-Keating days I often thought as policies were announced, Christ, if only they’d thought about that a bit more and asked around in an open way, rather than springing it on us fully formed.

    Anyway that’s what I’m hoping will come to pass.

    I have no idea whether Julia will win or what sort of a PM she will be, but if she can run cabinet where ministers enjoy meetings, as has been said when Rudd is away, then there is reason to hope.

    And just think of her sitting through all Rudd’s meetings, thinking, jeez, it’s not that hard, why can’t this guy do it?

  157. Fran Barlow says:

    Brian refers to Tingle in saying:

    Gillard needs to be specific about how big Australia should be. She could only answer this by giving a number off the top of her head. Save us from a charismatic leader with all the answers.

    Latham is also running a version of the line from Tingle, saying that if Gillard can’t specify a cut in immigration then her policy is “a fraud”. He’s pushing for a cut in immigration.

    Scott Morrison for the Coalition was running a similar line:

    You can’t take the pressure off all of these services and infrastructure if you don’t get population growth under control

  158. su says:

    It wasn’t merely that Arbib and Feeney had their noses out of joint, there were obvious signs of disquiet amongst Rudd’s ministers about the lack of consultation. I find it extraordinary that Rudd’s lack of support is being attributed to caucus having their hands forced when the dysfunction of cabinet was by then so obvious. Garrett had revealed that he had found out about the shelving of the ETS from the newspaper in early June. No wonder he was prepared to publicly state his support for Gillard. It seemed to be Rudd’s modus to leave his ministers to carry the can for policy stuff ups on which they had had little or no say. His political judgement was exceptionally poor.

  159. Ken Lovell says:

    ‘Right back in the Hawke-Keating days I often thought as policies were announced, Christ, if only they’d thought about that a bit more and asked around in an open way, rather than springing it on us fully formed.’

    Brian the problem with that approach is that it allows all kinds of groups to mount campaigns in support of their own narrow vested interests. “Can the minister rule out x?” type questions become the norm; a refusal to give a definite answer leads to a scare campaign that the government intends to do x and it will raise interest rates/hurt pensioners/embolden the terrorists/whatever; the opposition swears it will block x in the Senate; eventually the government either has to rule out x, or ends up fighting a protracted battle over one point of detail free of the proper context. The original strategic policy issues get lost in the process.

    We’ve seen this over and over, for decades. While the approach that you want would be the best way to govern, I can understand why in practice it’s politically difficult.

  160. adrian says:

    And on and on it goes, punctuated by the regular as clockwork contributions from a ‘Labor Outsider’ who seems to know much about the inner workings of the party he claims to be an outsider from.

    I’ve been wondering why so many have invested so much time in trying to give the Gillard coup some legitimacy. They have sought this legitimacy from supposedly poor (conveniently) private polling and from the claim that Rudd was impossible to work with. IMO both of these reasons are insubstantial and tenuous at best, particularly since we have no direct evidence of either. Even if they were substantiated, the question remains whether or not they give the coup the legitimacy its supporters seem to crave.

    The question of legitimacy is important for supporters of Gillard because unless they can form some kind of justifying narrative, the whole tawdry exercise lacks any justification or legitimacy, and this is because it has become clear that there is no justification in any area of substance like policy.

    What we are left with is a tawdry and predictable grab for power, the reality of which Gillard supporters seem loath to accept, hence the continual, and in some cases bizarre justifications or distractions.

  161. su says:

    IMO both of these reasons are insubstantial and tenuous at best, particularly since we have no direct evidence of either.

    Yes we do, we have the testimony of ministers like Garrett and Wong that the most important decision in their joint portfolio was taken without consulting them. You hold your opinion in spite of the evidence.

  162. tigtog says:

    adrian, the continued characterisation of what was essentially a simple vote (in the end, a non-vote) of No Confidence in Kevin as leader as “a coup” is giving me the flaming irrits.

    I don’t especially care why his fellow Labor parliamentarians had lost confidence in him: the result of that caucus meeting makes it painfully obvious that they had, and our system gives them a procedural remedy in such situations – that of changing their parliamentary leader no matter what stage of the electoral period they are in.

    I’m sure that most of us would, were it possible, leap at the chance to have procedures whereby we could vote our bosses out if we no longer had confidence in them. I don’t find it in me to blame the Labor parliamentarians for doing so at all.

  163. Ken Lovell says:

    Surely su if that is true, and the decision was bad, the principled course of action for both ministers would have been to resign. Passively accepting a bad decision on the most important issue in their portfolio testifies to a sad absence of character.

    An alternative explanation is that they have engaged in some ex post facto revisionism to gild the lily a bit.

    As I’ve written a few times, the implicit confidence on display that we can suddenly accept self-serving explanations by politicians as reliable evidence of what really happened is passing strange.

    When Rudd’s version of events is revealed, as eventually it must be, I’m sure it will be very different to the one on offer so far. Will people just dismiss it as a pack of lies?

  164. Eric Sykes says:

    Brian…just to clarify, “pretty boy” as a Ruddster nickname came at me regularly from 99 – 03, mostly thru Sorleys’ staffers and a former ALP national secretary.

  165. su says:

    So you don’t believe in the existence of the kitchen cabinet? I have not heard a single report that contradicted the account of how cabinet functioned, a report that originated with Tingle. I do not rule out the possibility of it being false but so far nobody, aside from yourself and possibly Adrian, but certainly nobody in Canberra has suggested that it is false. Assuming that it is true for a moment, then we would not have had very many ministers left if they had all taken your “principled course of action.” Perhaps rather than throwing themselves on the pyre, they managed to figure out that the fault lay not with themselves but with the man who was denying them a say in cabinet?

    Incidentally it was Peter Walsh, one of the ministers responsible for the successful introduction of the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax who came straight out and said that the biggest obstacle to the introduction of an RSPT was Rudd and his refusal to allow proper negotiation. Is he also in on the conspiracy of lies? It is a very odd cabal if so – Latham (prospectively in his diaries), Tingle, Garrett, Walsh, all conspiring to construct a false portrait of Rudd.

  166. Lefty E says:

    Agree and like with your very final point Tigtog, but dare I say our bosses ain’t the popularly elected PM. Might be some other stakeholders involved.

    Whats giving me the flamin irrits is the ongoing need to find bogus electoral justifications for the coup/ vote/ whateva-term-ya-like that are

    a. at odds with known evidence
    b. allegedly “supported” by unknown evidence
    c. totally at odds with the know history of similar situations

    As a social scientist, I just cant condone this. As a lawyer, I cant admit the testimony – its hearsay from persons with known ulterior motives. As an historian, c makes me cringe.

    As a Greens member, and general left democracy I also object to

    d. dressing up a situation where plotters were clearly leaking destabilising material to News and Bolt for ages, feeding a known hostile agenda to the elected PM, allowing hostile media to do the plotters work for them, as “See we wuz right all along about Rudd’s electoral problem. Despite what our own public polling said etc”.

    As I read Adrian’s posts, and mine, and Mark’s – no one contesting that Rudd was unpopular inside caucus – (though we have made the point that the plotter’s brinkmanship meant that any support couldnt be tested or mobilised without destroying the party).

    Yet all we hear by way of evidence from those who wish to justify it is that he was unpopular within the party.

    This is what Kim means by “talking past each other”.

    Im saying the electoral justification is BOGUS.


    I hope and believe we can ‘move forward’…. without it.

  167. kimberella says:

    dressing up a situation where plotters were clearly leaking destabilising material to News and Bolt for ages, feeding a known hostile agenda to the elected PM, allowing hostile media to do the plotters work for them, as “See we wuz right all along about Rudd’s electoral problem. Despite what our own public polling said etc”.

    Yep, that’s what’s been forgotten in this thread, Lefty E, before you raised it.

    Rudd was under intense pressure in the lead up to the leadership challenge and the News Limited papers were full of nothing but stories about how he’d soon be toast, planted by the plotters. I’m sure that affected:

    (a) how he was feeling and how well he played with others;

    (b) perceptions of his electoral prospects.

  168. kimberella says:

    Incidentally it was Peter Walsh, one of the ministers responsible for the successful introduction of the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax who came straight out and said that the biggest obstacle to the introduction of an RSPT was Rudd and his refusal to allow proper negotiation. Is he also in on the conspiracy of lies? It is a very odd cabal if so – Latham (prospectively in his diaries), Tingle, Garrett, Walsh, all conspiring to construct a false portrait of Rudd.

    But, su, these characters (Tingle aside) have vested interests here. Latham always hated Rudd because he saw him as a rival. Garrett had been demoted.

    Peter Walsh is from WA, his son-in-law is Gary Gray (who was a PR man for the mining companies), he’s a well known climate change denier, etc.

    It’s not as though their aim is to write an academic biography or create an impartial record of what occurred.

  169. Brian says:

    Ken, you seem to be saying that policy making through an open process can’t happen in a democracy, so we have a tight little inner group within the Caucus, vetted to make sure that the press, the opposition etc knows nothing about it. Many places in South America are trying models of participative democracy at the municipal level, seemingly successfully from what I’ve read. Gillard seems to be going for a more open approach. I’d like to see her try.

  170. Labor Outsider says:

    Ken and Adrian, I’m not sure there is any evidence that could persuade you that things were rotten except Kevin himself coming out and saying so. As if that is going to happen. Do you know any ex-staffers? Senior public servants? Caucus members even? Did you see the resignation rates in his office? Know how many climate change advisers he lost over the past three and a half years? Ever wonder why there are so few reports of him being good to work for or that his office was well managed? Sometimes when there is smoke, there really is a fire.

  171. kimberella says:

    LO, I don’t doubt that Rudd’s policy and party management skills were lacking.

    But that doesn’t mean the only course of action was to remove him.

    I made the point shortly after the event that Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan and Lindsay Tanner and John Faulkner, etc, all had the option of giving him private counsel, pointing out that his mode of proceeding was counter-productive, etc.

    In the interests of the party and the government and all that.

  172. Chris says:

    adrian, the continued characterisation of what was essentially a simple vote (in the end, a non-vote) of No Confidence in Kevin as leader as “a coup” is giving me the flaming irrits.

    Heh, you could describe the Dismissal in similar terms. Just a vote earlier than expected. But still a free and fair election.

  173. Labor Outsider says:

    Lefty, you cannot know whether Rudd would have won the election. You can point to a couple of polls that showed a marginal improvement before the ousting. You can point to previous periods in which PMs have come back from worse polling. But you can’t with any certainty say how the next few months would have evolved. The past is informative but it doesn’t reveal the future. Rudd was struggling with the RSPT. Rudd was struggling with asylum seekers. His office was functioning badly and had made a number of poor judgement calls. Is it not possible that things could have gotten worse rather than better? Might the personal flaws that contributed to the earlier poll cliff diving not have led to further errors in the future? Might it not have been reasonable for the plotters to think that it wasn’t worth the risk given the difficulties almost everyone had working with him?

  174. tigtog says:

    Kim/LeftyE: I should have added to my sentence about how it was simply obvious that caucus had lost confidence in Kevin as a leader, it’s also very obvious that there were some deliberately destabilising shenanigans going on in some quarters.

    I just do, and maybe that’s just my cynicism showing, see that largely as politics as it is played. If things had fallen out a little differently, the most active anti-Ruddsters might not have been able to get Gillard on board with their spill plan, but in the end they did, and the caucus indicated their preference for her when they did.

    I also continue to see party members being able to dump a leader as more feature than bug in our system: I know others don’t agree with me on this, but it’s one of the reasons that I just don’t care that much.

    No doubt many of the players in this particular drama will not smell of roses in the history books. That simply isn’t an especially important issue for me in deciding either my primary vote or my preferences. I don’t mind other people’s mileage varying, but I’m sick sick sick of hyperbole such as adrian’s being slung about willy-nilly.

  175. Labor Outsider says:

    Kim, you are underestimating the strength of Rudd’s ego and the patterns of behaviour that had developed over a long time. Rudd has never been consultative. It isn’t in his nature. He has been made aware of the problems with the functioning of his office, and his management style before. Alistair Jordan is no idiot. He knew exactly what the pressure points were. They just didn’t want to change and underestimated how quickly events could move. They overestimated the strength of their position.

  176. Ken Lovell says:

    ‘Perhaps rather than throwing themselves on the pyre …’

    Ummm su the resignation of two ministers over a POLICY issue would have caused something of a crisis in the government, don’t you think? If a third had done likewise, Rudd would have fallen … over POLICY issues. A much better outcome, one would have thought, than leaving it to the AWU to do the job behind the scenes.

    That is if he was really imposing bad decisions on ministers without consultation. Of course if he was imposing GOOD decisions to fix up the messes created by incompetent ministers, resigning would have been a bit silly. But bosses who have little tolerance for the mistakes of their subordinates are frequently disliked. Strangely, I’ve not seen that possibility mentioned as an explanation for the alleged hatred of Rudd, even though it seems quite a plausible one. It’s also consistent with the departures of Tanner and Faulkner – as intelligent and principled people, they could not stomach the prospect of the dills and rats taking over.

    Is that what happened? The apparatchiks and a bunch of ministers rebelled at being told to concentrate on public administration instead of the endless fighting over the spoils of office and attempts to manipulate the media? I have no idea. But it seems just as likely an explanation as the official version on offer.

  177. Pavlov's Cat says:

    What’s giving me the irrits is that anyone taking any kind of more nuanced and less adamantine position than ‘Burn the witch and all her henchpersons’ is being accused of being a supporter and an apologist and a justifier and so on.

    It seems to me that far too much emphasis is being put on “evidence” in a situation where (a) there was clearly a critical-mass type situation involving large numbers of people, conflicting perceptions of a complex but nebulous situation, and an exponential accretion of the kinds of unverifiable irritants, dissatisfactions, disquiets, serious worries and panicked perceptions of crisis that simply aren’t susceptible of proof, and anyway (b) any kind of evidence offered is immediately brushed aside as tainted. Not all situations can be reduced to a courtroom equation.

    Don’t know about anyone else, but I’m not seeking to ‘justify’ or ‘legitimise’ the replacement of Rudd, because I don’t think it’s either justifiable or unjustifiable, any more than any other link in the long historical chain of untidy leadership takeovers on both sides of politics. It happened, it was legal, and if quite a large number of people with assorted motives hadn’t seen the situation as a crisis it would never have got to that stage. There’s no onus on anyone to give it a moral score out of ten.

    What I’m seeing is a number of people indignantly taking sides and then scorning the rest of us along George W Bush lines — if we’re not with them then by definition we must be against them. But I don’t see why this has to be framed as a simple (and adversarial) dichotomy, I really do not. If there are sides being taken, it seems to me it’s the indignantly judgemental versus the people who are trying to work out why what happened happened and who are coming up with possible/hypothetical reasons for it. As far as I can make out, the angry are angry with the rest of us for not being as angry as they are, but the fact that we’re not enraged doesn’t automatically make us blindly partisan. Sorry, but it just doesn’t.

  178. adrian says:

    Well tigtog, I’m getting a bit sick and tired of lame justifications, and your characterisation of it as just a vote..well maybe you should take Chris’ point.

    I don’t think I’ve been hyperbolic or have been slinging it about ‘willy-nilly’, whatever that means. That is one of the rare times that I’ve used the apparently dreaded word ‘coup’

    Maybe you need to realise that others see these events in a different light to you and just because they do not share your version, doesn’t mean that they are indulging in ‘willy-nilly’ hyperbole.

    In fact I think this discussion has been remarkable civil, apart from a statement accusing me of ‘spluttering outrage’ and ossie’s bizarre attempt to inhibit any discussion of the party’s actions.

  179. su says:

    “Yet all we hear by way of evidence from those who wish to justify it is that he was unpopular within the party.”

    I don’t think that is a correct characterisation Lefty E. It wasn’t merely that Rudd was unpopular, but that the decisions he had taken, with very little consultation, had been pretty disastrous, had shown poor policy and political judgement, had been marked by a chaotic process by turns dilatory and fastidious. Government was not functioning, and why would it, concentrated as it was in his office? By the 23rd of June Rudd had already committed the party to an ongoing war with the mining industry over the RSPT, they faced an election period in which they would not only be battling the opposition but an ongoing media campaign from that industry. He waited until there was an election close at hand before finally releasing the Henry report and then eventually deciding to implement an RSPT which he then refused to consult on, instead committing himself to a media war. His personal failings could not be mitigated because he surrounded himself with young and inexperienced advisors and marginalized everyone else. The idea that caucus could have done something to save Rudd’s leadership rather than oust him kind of depends on his being prepared to open up the process a bit more, but everything we know about him from the beginning has indicated that he could not delegate and deliberately cut himself off from the very people who some say should have rescued him from himself.

    I can’t understand why all the manifest failures of process and policy are discounted as reasons for Rudd’s downfall but apologies if I am still seeming to talk past you.

  180. Fine says:

    Kim, how do you know they didn’t counsel him repeatedly? It’s not something we’re likely to hear about. Gillard may have had good reason not to do so, but there’s no reason to suppose experienced operators such as a Tanner and Faulkner wouldn’t have at least tried. There’s much evidence to suggest that Rudd was listening more to his personal staff than anyone else.

    All this silly talk about ‘coups’ and ‘backstabbing’ etc. The fact is that Rudd couldn’t muster enough support within Caucus to win the fight. There was nothing to stop him working the phones all night and having a spill next morning. Instead he stepped down because his support had shrunk so much. That’s telling.

    People are talking a lot about evidence and hearsay. But what about some direct evidence to back to the theory that Rudd had to be removed because he couldn’t be controlled? What radical action was Rudd about to take? Battle the mining companies for months to get the outcome he wanted on the RSPT? My bet is that he would have spent months negotiating a compromise outcome that would end up being similar to the one we have with Gillard. This would have just fed into the perception that he talked big and couldn’t deliver on his rhetoric.

    People seem to forget that Rudd was happy to swerve to the right when it suited him. He was a good PM and I liked and respected him. But I think there’s a fair bit of myth making going on about how progressive his politics are.

  181. Labor Outsider says:

    Ken, you don’t really believe that do you? All evidence suggests that policy and decision making was heavily centralised in the PMO. He was running climate change policy, not Wong. There is no evidence that he was cleaning up poor decisions made by other ministers. You are simply making things up now.

  182. Brian says:

    adrian, on the competence issue, Stuart talks about February, when the insulation stuff hit the fan, Rudd going on TV saying, yes, we stuffed up, I’m disappointed in myself, the buck stops with me, I should have asked more questions, we’ll have to work harder etc. He says from that time the problem of centralisation in Rudd’s office of supervision of process got worse. the assessment is that Rudd didn’t understand issues like the role of the leader, delegation etc.

    I’m predisposed to think the worst about the plotters, their methods and ethics. Rudd, who cultivated and used them to gain the leadership, made the mistake in practical terms of not cultivating their continued support once he gained power. This seems to be the seamy side of politics, but has to be attended to.

    Williams article didn’t make judgements about the propriety of what went on, just told the story of events.

    I’ve got no wish to justify or sanctify anyone. Williams makes clear that there was no show until Gillard changed her attitude and as yet I’ve seen no evidence that she gave anyone any encouragement. Stuart says “The move began without Gillard’s knowledge or encouragement”.

    Further, when Shorten approached her a week before it all happened, Stuart says “she rebuffed him”.

    Stuart, who earlier wrote an unauthorised biography of Rudd, can’t, I think, be dismissed as just another hack. But of course he doesn’t quote sources, and because the book was rushed to the press, there are no footnotes at all.

    My main interest is in Gillard’s role in all this, not to judge her, rather just to understand her.

  183. kimberella says:

    It’s interesting to me that people are much more interested in commenting on this issue and het up about it than anything that’s happening in the campaign.

    At The Punch, David Penberthy talks about unprompted comments on the election trail from voters upset about what happened to Rudd:

    It’s all being conducted in much more intellectual register here, but if we’re a reflection of the broader society, then this *is* a problem for Labor – the fact that a lot of people are unable to reconcile themselves to this decision.

    It is true that many people feel that the voters elect the PM.

    That is not be the case, but the fact that people feel it is not without potential ramifications for the ALP.

  184. Labor Outsider says:

    Good points Su and Fine.

    Remember the “I’m a fiscal conservative line”? Or how about the suspension of processing asylum applications from Sri Lanka and Afghanistan? Do you think the net filter would have got the go ahead without Rudd’s support? Income management anyone?

  185. Labor Outsider says:

    Kim, there is fairly scant evidence that anger about Rudd’s deposition will be a significant influence on voting intentions. We would have seen it register in the polling by now. It could have a minor impact in Queensland, but then I’d also expect Gillard to be much more popular in the rest of the country. Swings and roundabouts.

  186. adrian says:

    It’s amusing that Pavlov’s Cat begins her plea for a more nuanced approach to this debate with the characterisation of some people as wanting to ‘Burn the witch and all her henchpersons’. That’s nuance for you.

    Hey, all I’m asking really is that this vote to overthrow a sitting PM be seen for what it is, and that we can the lame and untested justifications until we have the full story, if we ever do.

    All we actually are seeing is those with a vested interest in setting their side of the story in concrete spreading it far and wide, and others lapping it up as though it were gospel. In other situations the very same people would probably be pleading for judgement to be witheld until we knew both sides of the story.

  187. adrian says:

    Brian, I should add, having read your latest comment that I appreciate your balanced attitude to this issue and consider the points that you have made, even if I don’t always agree with them.

  188. patrickb says:

    Look PC, in this the case the explanation stops short of trying to justify the fact of Rudd’s removal, this may be a defensive tactic on the part of the author. But the fact is it is based largely on the hearsay of motivated participants, in that sense it is a very one sided story, and it is a story. So it is perfectly valid to reject that story (as it hasn’t been used to justify the fact of Rudd’s removal we can’t disagree with that) as simply one interpretation of events as told by the beneficiaries of the outcome. I don’t agree that the set set of statements above are clarify the fact of Rudd’s removal.

  189. Pavlov's Cat says:

    All we actually are seeing is those with a vested interest in setting their side of the story in concrete spreading it far and wide

    Really? Who? Where?

  190. kimberella says:

    @LO, but that’s the problem with this word “evidence”. As Mark pointed out above, polls have limited predictive value.

    There may not be “evidence” from the polls about the negative impact of Rudd’s deposition, but:

    (a) It’s an unprecedented situation;

    (b) Most of the literature suggests that voting decisions are a product of a complex range of factors which lead to a decision, and it’s difficult to identify discrete factors – hence the finding in the AES that WorkChoices itself moved just 2% of the vote. But a series of events and policy choices all contribute to how voters perceive the leaders and the parties in toto.

  191. Brian says:

    I need to clarify the bit about Rudd having “cried and cried” after the meeting with gillard and Faulkner broke up. I should have left it with one “cry”.

    Williams says he went back to the office, but the staff, not him, initially tried to canvass support, but found that people didn’t bother to call back. Eventually Rudd picked up the phone himself.

    That’s not very flattering in relation to Rudd.

    Stuart says this:

    Rudd spoke to his staff and became very emotional. He began to cry. But then he sat, apparently shell-shocked, and did nothing. Instead of hitting the phones and desperately lobbying for support in those last, vital hours, he waited, like a DVD on pause.

    Finally, after an age, he began making calls to his MPs.

    Williams says MPs were offended by being approached by his staff and not him.

    It seems to me that questions may have been asked later as the what the heck Rudd was doing. On the balance of probabilities, to use Ken’s phrase, it seems to me likely that someone who knew told the truth.

    At least to me, Stuart’s account has the ring of truth about it. Of course we can’t be sure it’s accurate, but it can’t be used as evidence of sloppy work.

  192. kimberella says:

    What I’m seeing is a number of people indignantly taking sides and then scorning the rest of us along George W Bush lines — if we’re not with them then by definition we must be against them. But I don’t see why this has to be framed as a simple (and adversarial) dichotomy, I really do not. If there are sides being taken, it seems to me it’s the indignantly judgemental versus the people who are trying to work out why what happened happened and who are coming up with possible/hypothetical reasons for it. As far as I can make out, the angry are angry with the rest of us for not being as angry as they are, but the fact that we’re not enraged doesn’t automatically make us blindly partisan. Sorry, but it just doesn’t.

    With respect, Dr Cat, but that’s falling into positioning and framing the debate as if it only had two sides.

    I don’t read a lot of the people commenting here (eg Mark and Lefty E) as being judgemental or angry at others who are not angry.

    I still think it’s interesting that this is such an emotive issue for everyone. I think that goes for those who are not “angry”.

  193. Brian says:

    Can I suggest that everyone checks out the concept of confirmation bias. I have it, you have it, everyone has it.

    That’s me until tonight.

  194. Brian says:

    By “you” I didn’t mean Kim in the previous comment, I meant youse all.

  195. Pavlov's Cat says:

    So it is perfectly valid to reject that story (as it hasn’t been used to justify the fact of Rudd’s removal we can’t disagree with that) as simply one interpretation of events as told by the beneficiaries of the outcome.

    And that is perfectly fair enough. Again, my point was about language, not about the content of the argument.

  196. Ken Lovell says:

    PC adrian and Lefty E have summed up the position pretty well and provocatively obtuse responses don’t advance your cause. It’s not a case of people ‘talking past each other’; some commenters are deliberately refusing to engage with arguments from people they don’t agree with, meaning the same points keep being made because they have not been effectively rebutted.

    Let me ask another question: do Labor supporters believe the move against Rudd has been a positive move overall for their Party in the forthcoming election? If the evidence of this blog is a reliable indicator, all it has done has been to set progressives against each other in bitter arguments. As Kim observed, ‘people are much more interested in commenting on this issue and het up about it than anything that’s happening in the campaign.’ That was the entirely predictable outcome and I hope the my-party-right-or-wrong Labor supporters believe the benefits are worth it.

  197. Fine says:

    “dressing up a situation where plotters were clearly leaking destabilising material to News and Bolt for ages, feeding a known hostile agenda to the elected PM, allowing hostile media to do the plotters work for them, as “See we wuz right all along about Rudd’s electoral problem. Despite what our own public polling said etc”.”

    Yes, that’s true. Rudd was also known as a serial leaker when he climbing to the top. He spent months leaking against and destabilising Beazley, his leader and the alternate PM.

    Politics is a dirty business from all sides.

  198. kimberella says:

    @Brian, yep, I think there’s a lot of confirmation bias going around.

  199. Fine says:

    “Let me ask another question: do Labor supporters believe the move against Rudd has been a positive move overall for their Party in the forthcoming election?”

    Labor’s primary vote has gone up markedly. Three people I know are now voting Labor, who previously weren’t. They were voting Green.

    But, I think it’s too early to tell.

  200. Pavlov's Cat says:

    that’s falling into positioning and framing the debate as if it only had two sides.

    True. My bad. *backs off*

    provocatively obtuse responses don’t advance your cause.

    The precise point I was making was that I don’t have a “cause”. Just as well, as I have no idea which particular ‘provocatively obtuse response’ you’re referring to.

  201. Brian says:

    Kim, I had a bit of management experience in quite a complex organisation that was more heterogeneous, I suspect, than Rudd’s office would have been. I studied it a bit academically, went to numerous professional development seminars and courses, kept up with the literature and learnt a helluva lot from my second line managers who did the same. Learnt nothing from managers above me, who were exemplars of how not to do it (mostly).

    Also studied personality theories.

    IMHO Rudd was never going to change management style by counselling from underlings, if they were game to front him on the issue. Gillard as deputy probably had to pour oil on troubled waters down the line, which would have pissed her off eventually.

    Change in management style doesn’t come easily, and less easily with the kind of change Rudd needed. It could come from a traumatic life-changing experience, possibly, but I suspect that what’s happened to Rudd won’t in fact do it.

    There is one technique I know of that could have worked, but the first step would have to be that Rudd recognised that there was a problem.

  202. Brian says:

    Logging off now.

  203. kimberella says:

    Brian, I think one of the things here is that politicians operate in a much more turbulent environment than most. There’s rarely time to reflect, and I imagine rarely time to reflect on their personal style and approach.

  204. Eric Sykes says:

    Ken…I am not a “Labor supporter” but I do however believe the move against Rudd has been a positive move overall for the Labor Party in the forthcoming election…I will be voting 1 Labor because the Gill is there, as will a number of people I know who previously voted green or liberal, or like me abstained.

  205. adrian says:

    So it’s all about the ‘Gill’ being there and nothing about her non policies, her empty rhetoric, and the lunge to the right.

    Glad that we’ve cleared that up, and I’m glad that you are so happy that ‘Gill’ is there.

  206. Patricia WA says:

    This thread continues to be a gripping read! There’s an election going on out there too! It doesn’t seem to engage us to the degree that the ‘coup’ still does. But as Kim points out today this campaign is boring because the government wants it that way to emphasise their calm, competent incumbency and Abbott does too so he can avoid appearing as a Mark Latham look-alike loony. (IMO it could be that it’s Abbott’s party trying to hide the real ‘Action’ man, the frenzied fitness fanatic flaming…..ffffffff..cking fool that he is.)

    Seriously the best thing about this discussion here is the sincerity and clarity with which views are held and expressed by intelligent people. When I first read Brian’s post on this I was happy to accept his overview and assessment. I think I still am but I’ve certainly considered the different perspectives suggested here so convincingly. Without knowing exactly what happened during the three hours those three people were together in that room in Canberra on June 23rd none of us can be entirely certain that we know the truth.

    Kim makes the point above as he and many others have elsewhere that

    “Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan and Lindsay Tanner and John Faulkner, etc, all had the option of giving him private counsel, pointing out that his mode of proceeding was counter-productive, etc.”

    Judging from what we know of at least three of these people, even perhaps Swan, surely this had occurred already and more than once. All of them would well know ‘the strength of Rudd’s ego’ as L.O. points out and as we have all had cause to acknowledge on his recent return to public life.

    I still believe that it was Rudd’s own character which contributed more to his fall at this point than any ‘grubby scrambling’ for the spoils of office. His management style inevitably led to his ‘team’ turning to a more consultative and effective leader to deal with an impasse which that very style had to some extent brought about.

    Politics with a small ‘p’ aside, no one who understands our Westminster system can question the constitutional right of any political party to choose its own leader at any stage of the electoral cycle. The timing of this particular change may be more critical than others but Gillard seems to acknowledge this by seeking a mandate from the nation with an almost immediate election after her challenge.

  207. Eric Sykes says:

    adrian…actually for me its more about the Ruddster not being there….his empty rhetoric, his non-policies and what is more…his rabid god bothering….and as i have said previously the Gill has a fair chance of beating an extremely dangerous australian right wing politician…whereas i believe the rudd had no chance at all…regardless of “The Polls”.

  208. adrian says:

    Patricia, I know that we operate under the Westminster system, but I have always thought that this is a bit of a red herring since both parties haave adopted increasingly presidential style election campaigns in recent times, none more so that Kevin 07.

    Under these circumstances I think that people are entitled to feel aggrieved despite the technical point that we don’t elect a president/PM. It’s also why this is very different from the overthrow of an opposition leader or even a serving PM who has had the opportunity to go to the people in the past.

  209. Fine says:

    ” It’s also why this is very different from the overthrow of an opposition leader or even a serving PM who has had the opportunity to go to the people in the past.”

    I don’t follow your logic here, Adrian. Exactly how is it very different?

  210. adrian says:

    Because to some extent at least, many people feel that they voted for Rudd as much as they voted for Labor and they resent not having the oppotunity to do so, or not do so again.

    Try reading The Punch article that Kim linked to, which despite its source explains it quite well.

  211. Fine says:

    But using this argument, wouldn’t you find Keating’s ‘coup’ against Hawke just as bad?

    Wouldn’t the same argument work for the Opposition Leader as well? i.e. they shouldn’t be rolled because a sizeable minority (49 – 50% of people perhaps) voted for them in the previous election as the alternate PM?

    Are you arguing that a political party should never get rid of a PM no matter how badly they’re doing?

  212. adrian says:

    Fine, I’ve explained it as best I can, and to me the differences are obvious.
    Have you read The Punch article?

  213. adrian says:

    “Are you arguing that a political party should never get rid of a PM no matter how badly they’re doing?”

    Obviously no.

  214. Fine says:

    Yes, I’ve read the Penberthy article and I agree that the manner in which Gillard became PM is an electoral problem for Labor.

    But I’m referring to the principle of the Party removing the PM. The difference between this instance and that Hawke/Keating maybe obvious to you, but it isn’t to me. People voted for Hawke in ’90. Caucus removed him in ’91, an outcome of a long and bloody campaign by Keating.

    Under what circumstances do you think a Party should get rid of a PM?

  215. Ken Lovell says:

    ‘Under what circumstances do you think a Party should get rid of a PM?’

    Fine that’s an obvious attempt to derail the discussion. Rudd’s dismissal can be evaluated on its own merits without the need for some grand meta-theory of leader replacement.

  216. tigtog says:

    Given that others appear to be arguing that it was exactly Rudd’s incumbent PM status that should have protected him from such machinations, I would say that Fine may be barrelling along an existing derail, but she’s definitely not the one who pushed the discussion off the tracks.

  217. adrian says:

    Tigtog I’ve no idea what you mean by ‘pushing the discussion off the tracks.’ Perhaps you could be more specific.

  218. Fine says:

    Sorry, but I’m not attempting to derail the thread. If people think that Rudd shouldn’t have been deposed because he was incumbent PM, then I think asking when, if at all, would it be appropriate to get rid of the PM is appropriate. It’s actually a good faith effort to try to understand what this debate is about.

  219. adrian says:

    At the risk of pushing this discussion further off the tracks, Fine, my answer would be that it wasn’t just that he was an incumbent PM.

    It was also that he hadn’t been given the opportunity to go to the people as PM, and that on balance the reasons cited so far to not justify the decision to remove that opportunity, not only for him, but for those that voted for him.

    This may be why many people feel aggrieved by what has happened, as examined in The Punch article.

    Unless you deny that a sizeable proportion of voters think this way, it is worthwhile I think to examine the reasons.

  220. Lefty E says:

    At least one recent poll asked, and found 57% of voters were uncomfortable – when asked – about the mode of Gillard’s ascension. Worse in QLD.

    Now, I actually *agree* with Brian when he says that could well have been worse – That’s quite true.

    But can people please stop pretending that this view held by a MAJORITY OF VOTERS is some arcane, difficult to grasp position that needs constant rearticulation from 40 different angles?

    It really pretty straightforward.

  221. Ken Lovell says:

    Agreed Lefty E. A lot of my anger over the issue stems from the innocent “Gosh why is everyone upset?” attitudes of some Gillard apologists.

  222. Joe says:


    I think you should give the rhetoric a break. As an observer, I believe that the question that Fine asked is pertinent to the issue and legit. She even apologetically explained this to you and then you cheaply reply, “At the risk of pushing this discussion further off the tracks…” This is borderline, to being actually quite rude.

    One of the things we’re brainstorming in this thread, is why people are aggrieved? And to which degree this “aggrievedness” is justifiable? Admittedly, a very difficult task, but this is a very good discussion to have, because it does shine a light on the machinations of the MSM.

  223. adrian says:

    Joe I was referring to an earlier comment by tigtog. Perhaps you should read carefully before accusing others of being ‘borderline rude’. That’s a very unfair comment of yours.
    And I understand that Fine’s question was ‘legit’ that’s why I answered it.

  224. Patricia WA says:

    “But using this argument, wouldn’t you find Keating’s ‘coup’ against Hawke just as bad?”

    Agreed, Fine. As well the argument about this setting an unsavory and somehow unconstitutional precedent of a first term PM being knocked off is as irrational as might be one that Hawke should not have been ousted by Keating because he had been so strongly endorsed for yet a third term.

  225. Ken Lovell says:

    Sheesh Patricia WA, Keating had been stalking Hawke for months. He had laid out clearly the reasons why he believed he should replace Hawke as leader. Finally the Labor Caucus agreed with him, after he failed at the first attempt. The situation is not remotely analogous to Gillard’s secret coup. Making these irrelevant comparisons is just another attempt to divert attention from the legitimate arguments that many people have made about what happened to Rudd. Let’s just keep the discussion on the events of June 2010, uncomfortable though that might make some people.

  226. Fine says:

    Lefty E from memory, and I maybe wrong, the question asked was if they thought other people would be upset, not whether they were upset, which is a completely different question. I would answer ‘yes’ to that question, even though I’m not upset myself.

    “It was also that he hadn’t been given the opportunity to go to the people as PM”

    So, adrian is it because Rudd was a first term PM that you see it’s a problem and why it’s different that Hawke/Keating??

  227. Fine says:

    Is this what you were referring to Lefty E? This is from Possum’s blog and it’s a Galaxy Poll.

    “Do you agree or disagree that the way Kevin Rudd has been treated by the Labor Party will harm their chance of winning the next federal election?

    The results came in as 57% saying Yes and 37% saying No. This is an odd question because it doesn’t appear to be asking people whether the treatment of Rudd has increased or reduced a respondent’s own likelihood of voting for Labor, but rather it asked respondents if they believe Rudd’s treatment will affect how “other people” vote.

    So we have to be careful with how we interpret the results of this question, acknowledging that it’s actually more about perceptions of how other people might vote than it is about how the respondents themselves might vote.”

    In another Galaxy Poll, 56% of voters and 78% of Labor voters thought that it was right to get rid of Rudd. So, the idea that majority of people think its wrong, is really problematic. At least as judged by the polls, for all their weaknesses.

  228. Lefty E says:

    Fine, I cant find the wording of the question ( I looked – it isnt made available) but Galaxy reported the findings as “Nationally, 57 per cent of voters said Mr Rudd’s treatment would hurt the ALP at the ballot box”

    It was higher in QLD, at 62%.

    I think you’re splitting hairs, and the point remains exactly the same, whether they were thinking of themselves, or others. A majority are not convinced it was all tickety-boo.

    Link here:

  229. paul walter says:

    Yes Fine.
    Its just the introduction of deliberately nebulously worded questions that might reveal some weakness or tear in the cognitive fabric, that the opposition could then exploit with some sort of constructed counterattack, using push-polling for a kick start.
    I understand the concerns concerning accountability and the current state of the ALP, any time but an election campaign with Abbott the alternative, and I’d have howled more loudly as well.
    But I have to make a choice for my future as well and- moving forward- a Gillard government looks far closer to a
    Rudd government than a putative Abbott government, of the real world choices left me, judging from the last few days alone, especially if also, the Greens can finally translate their voter support into sufficient senate and lower house seats.

  230. Fine says:

    Lefty E, perhaps you didn’t see my second post about that issue before you posted. But it’s obvious if we’re looking at what the poll say, it isn’t at all clear that the majority of people aren’t upset about this.

  231. Joe says:

    “You are now passing another news media commentary.” Well, at least speeding through it.

    Agree with Fine and paul. The Liberal campaign is rapidly transmuting into a media spebacle.

  232. Lefty E says:

    Come on, Fine. Its clearly a divisive issue – isnt it? Really. Its totally obvious.

    Wishing it away just isnt working. You’ll note I and others have been debating and putting a side forward. It has plenty of support – whether thats 57%, or 62% in QLD or nearly half of voters at 44% thinking it aint right; whether or not they think Aunty Gertie will be mighty peeved, or they are simply unimpressed themselves.

    This is an evenly spilt debate in the public mind. Isnt it?

    Now, I have disagreed with people’s view that the Gillard ascension was all fine. But I havent sat around pretending there is no other side one could possibly take.

    Forgive me if Im wrong (really), but you appear to want to pretend there is no issue here at all – its all been clearly above board, and any disagreement is terribly puzzling.

    But there clearly is an issue. In the public mind. Denying that seems to me to be unhelpfully contrary. And I dont think its remotely puzzling that it is so.

  233. Joe says:

    Here’s the poll from the SMH (with current standing):

    Poll: Is speculation over Kevin Rudd’s future – and how Labor dumped him as PM – likely to influence your vote?

    No: 44%
    Yes: 56%

    Total votes: 16573

  234. Joe says:

    Oh, what a team player the Ruddster is:

    “For about 15 minutes, Kevin Rudd had a perfectly natural conversation with Coorparoo State School’s principal about the history of the school, and the new structure it now boasts thanks to the BER scheme.

    Natural, that is, aside from the 30 or so journalists and photographers – summoned by Mr Rudd’s office to the spot – forming a human Thunderdome around the pair.”

  235. Chris says:

    Joe – what would be more interesting is if pollsters asked if people would be changing from Labor to Liberal because of the way he was dumped. If they just vote 1 Green, 2 ALP, then in the end it’ll make little difference.

  236. Fine says:

    I’m not saying there isn’t an issue. I’m saying that there’s no evidence to say that the majority of people think it’s wrong, which is what you stated. I’m specifically questioning the interpretation of the poll you cite, which isn’t splitting hairs. I’m saying it’s not necessarily measuring what you say it is.

    I also referred you to another Galaxy Poll cited at Possum’s place that states that 78% of Labor voters think it was right think to do and 56% of the total voters think it’s the right thing to do. How this actually translates into votes, is a completely different issue and I haven’t seen a poll which asks that question.

    If you’re saying it’s an election issue for many people – I agree.
    If you’re saying that the majority of people think it’s wrong – I say the evidence doesn’t show that at all.
    If you’re saying that it effects voting intention – none of us have any idea.

  237. adrian says:

    According to Pemberthy: “Political focus groups are showing a strong sense of unease over the manner in which Julia Gillard was installed as PM. And having spent last weekend talking to voters in the western Sydney seat of Lindsay, there were plenty of unsolicited remarks making the exact same point.

    What does it matter if it’s a majority or many? As Lefty E said, I think you’re splitting hairs.

    And Joe it’s standard operating procedure to notify media of a local candidates visit to a school or whatever during an election campaign. I suppose you want him to campaign in secret, otherwise he’s not a team player.

  238. Joe says:

    Yes Chris, it would be a strange world in which this became a dominant voting issue and yet this does damage Labor’s image.

    It seems so un-newsworthy. As if the media, upset that it has not been able to capitalise on the usual media frenzy (and associated sales) around a leadership spill has more or less manufactured this one in absentia.

    I mean the question is similar to: Do you think not seeing your children as much after leaving a partner is unfair? It is very reminiscent of push-polling. But who’s doing the pushing?

    There’s a sense of tautology in this discussion, I find. And the issue must also be seen in the context of a totally under-whelming campaign beginning from the Libs. On the other hand, the Liberal orchestration of an inherent media dynamic is perhaps superior.

  239. Fine says:

    And many people think it isn’t a problem. Could be a majority of people think it isn’t a problem. So what does it matter?

  240. Joe says:

    Well adrian, you are of course correct and it’s all most unfortunate, but you can’t help but notice the damage that Rudd’s little foray yesterday is doing to his Party’s national campaign.

  241. adrian says:

    What would you have him do then Joe – not campaign at all perhaps?

  242. Rebekka says:

    Since when does x% “said Mr Rudd’s treatment would hurt the ALP at the ballot box” = x% thinking that treatment was wrong? It only has to mean they think some people will perceive it as wrong.

    You can’t possibly be serious in arguing that you can tell from that poll whether a majority agree or disagree with Gillard’s method of taking over the leadership.

    Logic Fail.

  243. Joe says:

    Adrian, I think he’s gonna retire.

  244. tigtog says:


    Natural, that is, aside from the 30 or so journalists and photographers – summoned by Mr Rudd’s office to the spot –

    “Summoned” how exactly? By the entirely normal method of sending out a press release about a candidate’s campaign itinerary? Methinks that Annabel Crabb was using some hyperbole for ironic effect there.

    Media orgs receive hundreds of press releases daily, a substantial swag of themduring an election campaign from politicians (naturally enough) but also from commercial and charity PR teams pushing all sorts of other events/announcements. The journos choose which ones they’re going to chase up, with more or less input from their editor depending on what else is going on. Nobody can “summon” a pack of journos to cover their event.

  245. paul walter says:

    ” no one can summon a pack of journos”.
    Sounds a bit like raising of the dead (serf choices?) or the conjuring of demons, you’d have to wonder why they’d bother.
    Applause for Rebekka for the dedicated employ of the syllogism in further exposure of the uses and purposes of weasel worded op polls.

  246. Ken Lovell says:

    The story so far (as approved by Ludwig and Howes – all party faithful please push at every opportunity):

    – Notorious nerd and religious zealot Kevin Rudd, the most despised public servant ever to come out of Queensland, somehow ended up leader of the federal parliamentary Labor Party (skip over that bit quickly) and won an election which anyone could of won because WorkChoices=BAD.

    – Everyone in the Party like, really hated Rudd. He was an absolute tyrant and naturally there was nothing – NOTHING – they could do about it. Even when it was obvious he was completely emo and had a few kangaroos loose in the top paddock.

    – Leader Rudd was so hopeless he would of lost the 2010 election for sure, leaving loyal Labor MPs NO CHOICE but to replace him with reluctant Julia Gillard after some intrepid party officials ably assisted by senior Australia’s Weakest Union officials had prepared the way.

    – In the latest development, Rudd shows his true colours by campaigning in his own electorate and NOT SAYING ANYTHING BAD ABOUT JULIA GILLARD OR THE AWU OR ANYONE AT ALL, thereby pissing off the journalists who the Party is so desperately afraid of. This failure to say anything newsworthy REALLY HURT THE NATIONAL CAMPAIGN (according to Joe, probably not a plumber).

    Stand by for the next instalment in which Rudd will turn out to have been leaking Australian secrets to the Chinese during his breakfasts with Brian Burke and trips to New York strip clubs.

  247. Fine says:

    “Sheesh Patricia WA, Keating had been stalking Hawke for months. He had laid out clearly the reasons why he believed he should replace Hawke as leader. Finally the Labor Caucus agreed with him, after he failed at the first attempt.”

    Okay, now I’ve got the difference. It’s okay as long as it takes months and you fail the first time.

  248. adrian says:

    Ken don’t forget the bit about he was heading for a nervous breakdown the poor bastard and his removal from office by said intrepid party officials Australia’s Workers Union bosses was for his own good and they were actually doing him a favour.

  249. paul walter says:

    Well,, let’s cut off our noses to spite our faces, by harping over a relatively mundane peice of politics (Rudd’s overthrow) that changes nothing, as to underlying fundamentals leading into this election.
    Let’s instead harp so incessantly over spilt milk, that we create the conditions whereby we eventually get saddled not with Gillard Labor, but something even worse, in the form of Abbott.
    If any one bought about Rudd’s down fall, it was spiteful David Marr, but I doubt whether many current Ruddites were too concerned when Marr was undermining him.

  250. Philomena says:

    Paul Walter, blaming David Marr or any individual for Rudd’s downfall is just silly. And how many people read Marr’s essay? And even if they did, how many were subsequently decisively turned against him as a direct result.

    In fact, many who read Marr’s piece became more not less sympathetic towards Rudd.

    I don’t think the manner in which Rudd was replaced by Gillard was insignificant or immaterial. Rather the opposite, for all the obvious and repeatedly explained reasons. Whitewashing and downplaying those key events and their outcome, stinks.

  251. silkworm says:

    …won an election which anyone could of won…

    Leader Rudd was so hopeless he would of lost the 2010 election for sure…

    Pedantic note: It’s “could have” and “would have.”

  252. Joe says:

    This just shows the level at which Australian (UK and US) politics operates. And we wonder why there’s no policy debate? Well, it’s called supply, demand and Liberty. Over to captain Willard, “Everyone gets what they want. And for my sins that’s what I got. They brought it up to me like room service and when it was over, I’d want no other.”

    Gillard’s some kind of grey union mannequin, and female because that’s a media advantage, with a strangely too Australian accent. She’s not religious– a harlot living together together with a hairdresser (maybe she’s even gender. Is that good or bad?). But anyway, she’s insipid and grey.

    Rudd’s a nerd. Have you seen his pigeon-toed walk? He makes me feel good because I can’t dance at parties either. Nerd btw is when you’re so socially inadequate that just to stop the boredom you have to start playing with computers or studying or anything. He liked to stand around in front of churches. And he didn’t believe in friends. Had a terrible childhood. I’m starting to cry for him– but he made it! (Cue rocky music.) Anyway, they assassinated him, just before he could go for the world championship against ol’ cauliflower ears himself, “The Mad Monkster.” May he rest in peace.

  253. paul walter says:

    I said, Philomena, Abbott is there for you if you want him.
    For my part, I will not vote for a crank like Abbott, just because a few people pushing barrows didnt get their way straightaway when they demanded it earlier.
    There is not meaningful difference in the alternatives beyond the cosmetic.
    The choice?
    or worse.

  254. Pavlov's Cat says:

    Anther pedantic note, Silkworm: Ken Lovell was doing that on purpose. It was satire. Or, more specifically, mockery of what he sees as the self-evident semi-literate dimwittedness of everyone who doesn’t agree with him. As you can see, these people speak in cliches and capital letters, they jump onto bandwagons and say ‘of’ instead of ‘have’. They are, in short, the masses, and we should therefore despise them.

    …. Oh, wait.

  255. Lefty E says:

    “If you’re saying that the majority of people think it’s wrong – I say the evidence doesn’t show that at all.”

    I think you’re being plain contrarian now, Fine. There is clear evidence from polls that an awful lot of folks arent impressed with it. We could debate the importance or otherwise of that fact if you like.

    But If you’re going to stall the debate with unhelpful semantics which determinedly deny the obvious – I think my own time might best be spent elsewhere.

  256. Lefty E says:

    Oh and btw, if we average the two cited Galaxy polls above cited we get 50.5 percent of polled punters perturbed post-putsch.

    (PS Higher in QLD. 🙂

    Frankly, I’m going to stop wasting my time and take “It definitely hasn’t gone over well with about half the public” as my own base point for future participation in this thread.

    So, you know, carry on pointlessly parsing poll questions at the porcelain without me.

    There’s plenty more of interest to focus on. I’ll be over there if anyone needs me.

  257. Ken Lovell says:

    PC thanks for interpreting my comment. Your withering sarcasm does you credit. Except if you read what I wrote, you would see it was not mockery of ‘the masses’, but of the AWU and Labor Party Central. There is a difference, I suggest. Sorry to puncture your smug moral superiority.

    By the way, have any of the Labor supporters here paused to think how conservatives must be hugging themselves with glee at arguments like these? All entirely predictable and preventable. The long-term damage this episode has done to the progressive cause is incalculable but is likely to be severe. Hope youse all think it was worth it.

    I’ll be with Lefty E.

  258. Labor Outsider says:

    Ken, I wouldn’t have thought it had done much at all to impact the cause of progressivism. One not particularly progressive Labor leader has been replaced with another. The new not-particularly progressive leader appears to be somewhat more electable than the previous one. When the conservatives lose the election comfortably, I doubt there will be much glee at all.

  259. paul walter says:

    Sorry Ken. The Pavlov’s Cat is a bit more astute than some.

  260. Ken Lovell says:

    The systematic destruction of Kevin Rudd by his party continues apace.

    ‘Commonwealth officials and cabinet sources have told the ABC that, as prime minister, Mr Rudd showed a casual disregard for the national security committee, at a time when Australia was engaged in a war and wrestling with its border security policy …

    ‘This is another example of the chaos at the core of the Rudd government and helps to explain why he was dispatched so swiftly by his own and largely without regret. But his casual attitude to the most important cabinet committees raises serious questions about Ms Gillard’s promise to revive his career.’

    Not a single named source in the entire story, which ends with the observation that ‘a senior Labor figure said that since day one of this government, staffers have represented their ministers on the committees of cabinet’. But no matter, it’s still an example of poor old Kevvie’s chaos.

    I guess it’s all part of moving forward. Gillard supporters must be so proud of what they are witnessing.

  261. Ken Lovell says:

    BTW to clarify, the bit about ‘the chaos at the core of the Rudd government’ was not a quote from an anonymous source. It was a bald assertion of fact by the journalist, Chris Uhlmann. Such are the depths to which Our ABC has sunk.

  262. Ken Lovell says:

    Plus I’m having some trouble reconciling Rudd’s delegation of authority to staffers with his alleged control-freakism and workaholic tendencies. No doubt it was all part of the chaos, and it definitely proves he is unfit for any further role in a Labor government.

  263. paul walter says:

    Don’t quite get why you think “Gillard supporters”, whoever these ethereal and fitful wraiths may be, would think that Rudd being canned by a MacCarthyite public service chop-bone fed to the tabloid chooks is “amusing”?
    Respect Rudd, I am releived Gillard is PM rather than Abbott. In the meantime there is the hope that the election may throw up better results for the Greens.
    Finishing off captain budgie would be a fitting way for the libs to leave the nineteenth century and commence internal reform also, our system needs a credible alternative to Gillard Labor, whether we deserve this or not currently.

  264. Labor Outsider says:

    It is pretty easy to reconcile Ken. Kevin was overcommitted (there are only so many meetings in a day) so prioritised other things. Nobody is suggesting he went jogging while the NSC meetings were taking place. It is up to you to decide whether it is reasonable to have a 31 year old that knows little about foreign policy representing the PM at NSC meetings.

  265. Lefty E says:

    LO, speaking of reasonable: why is anyone in the govt leaking any sort of information at all about National Security Council meetings?

    Is there just no bottom limit to factional leaking?

  266. Lefty E says:

    Why are the leaks against Rudd continuing? And why demonstrate you cant be trusted keep national security matters secret if there’s all-important ALP factional hatreds at stake?

    Bit of an own goal, Id have thought.

    And they wonder why so many people feel queasy about the victors.

  267. wbb says:

    I am a stickist generally. I didn’t even want Crean to go. And I was a big Rudd fan for a long time. But – there’s just way too much smoke around this one.

    Anyway – an election very soon. That’s the only game in town now.

  268. Brian says:

    wbb, actually I think I’m with you. I didn’t want Crean to go, would have stuck with the Beazer and probably gone down with him. I was always uneasy about Rudd, and the cracks were showing, but probably would have stuck with him. Really not sure, as we didn’t have time to think, did we?

  269. paul walter says:

    “Why are the leaks against Rudd continuing”?
    Well, that presupposes that there are leaks and these flimsy tissues should arouse we plebs to any predetermined destination being “interpreted” by rubbish like Paul Kelly and Laurie Oakes as anti Rudd.
    Why are certain people so exercised as to continue to poke around a wound when Labor is fighting an election campaign.
    You surely know Kevin Rudd has been out and about campaigning for Labor.
    In the meantime, its probably past the bed time of this non issue, let’s start talking about policies again, or real news.

  270. Lefty E says:

    Non-issue, you reckon, Paul?

    How are these ongoing leaks “fighting an election campaign”?

    If I was Gillard, I’d send the plotters who put her there to sleep with the fishes asap – before they do to her what they did to the NSW govt, and Rudd.

  271. Brian says:

    Ken said:

    Plus I’m having some trouble reconciling Rudd’s delegation of authority to staffers with his alleged control-freakism and workaholic tendencies. No doubt it was all part of the chaos…

    This is going to take a while for me to type, but people might be interested in what Laura Tingle said in the AFR back on 9 June. She said that behind closed doors there was a quiet revolt in the way Rudd ran his government from the 2008.

    sources jaded by the mess created for the government by the Prime Minister – and by the MPs, advisers and party strategists who advise him – insist, from the highest levels of government down, people are increasingly demanding to be heard.

    The say this has started at the very top, with Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Treasurer Wayne Swan and Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner all increasingly contesting and trying to reshape a political strategy widely seen as driven by youthful advisers with limited political experience, and by Labor’s NSW Right machine.

    Other senior figures are also understood to be making more interventions in political strategy, partly driven by the knowledge the government’s problems have caused a collapse in confidence in its political judgement, which is hitting staff hard. The question now, according to some, is whether the “government by smart-arsery” clique is listening.

    It was the first time the govt was in deep shit, a source noted.

    “If they are not prepared to learn, and concede there were reasons why older heads argued against the way they’ve been working for some time, they never will.”

    This article appeared two days after the disastrous Nielsen poll. It was accompanied by another article by Louise Dodson and Laura Tingle, starting as a front page lead, on the “kitchen cabinet”. It had become entrenched during the GFC. The article lists the major decisions taken without Cabinet involvement. It says that cabinet had become a rubber stamp where Ministers were given a folder of decisions already taken for them to endorse. The folders were not allowed to be taken out of the room.

    Taken together, the articles paint a picture where the kitchen cabinet, the ‘gang of four’ was losing relevance.

    I clipped the articles to post on them but didn’t get around to it.

    Ken, to go back to the top, Rudd didn’t delegate very far in the case you mention. The more general problem was that he engaged in micro-management at times and worked on a project by project basis. So some areas of government had too much of his attention and others none at all.

    Up thread someone mentioned Conroy getting on a plane to talk to Rudd. I hadn’t heard that, but Marr spoke of a minister getting on the PMs plane to go to Dubai and then catching a plane straight back. Stuart says Rudd had no involvement in the NBN.

    It seems to me Rudd didn’t understand the difference between leadership and management and had a shocking sense of time management. If you’d drawn up a job spec and looked at his skill set you probably wouldn’t have given him the job, tempting though it may have been because of his obvious talents and intelligence.

  272. Brian says:

    If I was Gillard, I’d send the plotters who put her there to sleep with the fishes asap – before they do to her what they did to the NSW govt, and Rudd.

    Amen to that, LE.

  273. Brian says:

    LE, in that link to the ABC story, they are still using the same tired overblown language, as in the Opposition “blasted” the govt.

    And still publishing highly negative photos of Rudd. They can’t say it just happened that way. It didn’t.

  274. Labor Outsider says:

    Btw, it is quite possible that the actual leak of this occurred some time ago and the the journo involved has been sitting on it up until now.

  275. adrian says:

    Quite possible LO, but highly unlikely. But keep on spinning – it’s what your good at.

    In fact when I think of all the anti-Rudd stories that started appearing since his days as opposition leader, it’s quite possible that they were all leaked by the same group within Labor to the same journalists, one of which would have to have been Chris Ulhmann.

  276. akn says:

    Rudd fcked up. Didn’t go hard enough on the AWB scandal, the sinking of the SIEV-x or replace the board of the Australian Bullshit Corporation; didn’t get rid of the ABCC and didn’t create a base for himself within the party. The 40% resources tax was a last ditch attempt to creat a policy that might have won popular support but the timing was a mess and the unions weren’t on board behind him from the get go for what was always going to be a stoush. Big dirt’s ad campaign slaughtered the gummint on that one.

    His essays on neoliberalism were acute but failed to take into account the way that neoliberal subjectivity has super saturated the Australian polity for decades now. Consequently, he failed entirely to realise the degree to which he also was a neolib. Hence his inability to work collectively, his managerialism, his inability to inspire union support due to his total disinterest in unionists. The BER was mismanaged to enough of a degree that it allowed constant media propaganda about mismanagement. Fail. Garrett is a waste of space and had young advisers who had no idea that the section of the economy into which they were dropping shit loads of money was full of spivs; the four deaths attributable to State level OH+S laws were a disaster because the Feds didn’t manage that either as they ought to have done. Wong’s done what, exactly? Waste of space.

    Finally, what sort of dickhead doesn’t go for a DD election when he is running the major issue of the times in AGW?

    Gillard is a right wing Labor pragmatist. What galvanised action was the prospect of having their snouts ripped out of the trough too soon. There will be zero improvement if she wins and worse if she loses because the ALP won’t even be as effective in opposition as they were against Howard – no Tanner, no Faulkner.

    What a bollocks.

  277. su says:

    People keep saying that Faulkner is leaving, he is not, he is just retiring to the back bench, as he has done in the past. Faulkner is also helping Gillard with her campaign strategy, Gillard is not so stupid that she won’t draw on Faulkner’s deep experience and expertise in political strategy, some of which was gained battling the NSW right.

  278. tigtog says:


    How are these ongoing leaks “fighting an election campaign”?

    The leak about Rudd sending his Chief of Staff to stand in for him at some National Security Committee meetings (oh no – Jed Bartlett would never do it!) strikes me as far more likely to be coming from a defence forces figure rather than from anyone in Labor – look at the quotes about how offended they were by Jordan’s youth, never mind that as Rudd’s Chief of Staff he was the most senior person in the PMO after Rudd himself. I have more thoughts on the subject over at Hoyden.

  279. Ken Lovell says:

    When I worked for a national employer association, a faction within the membership was convinced I was making secret deals with union officials and the Hawke Government to the detriment of good honest builders. They relied on all kinds of ‘evidence’ to support their beliefs, some of which was misinterpretation and selective reporting of actual events and a lot of which was pure fabrication, repeated so often that it became a kind of urban myth. I have no doubt that if they had been media savvy, they would have taken great pleasure in swearing to journos that it was all true – provided, of course, they could hide under the cloak of ‘association sources and prominent builders’.

    My point is that people with an axe to grind can construct a plausible narrative which has some grounding in actual events, and even be convinced that it is true, without the narrative being remotely accurate. That’s why I have consistently asked for primary evidence of Rudd’s alleged failings as a PM.

    Uhlmann cites a staffer attending a committee meeting as ‘an example of chaos’, which is pure horseshit. Anyone who works in a big organisation understands how committees work, and it’s not to do anything worth the attendance of a PM. As Lefty E has written, the evidence in support of the ‘Rudd was a hopeless leader’ thesis is mainly hearsay and gossip; it might be true but in the absence of solid primary evidence, I’m inclined to regard it as malicious misinformation.

  280. Sam says:

    It doesn’t seem likely that Rudd’s enemies within the party leaked this, because it is a negative for the campaign. They do want to win the election. Look to one of the many people that he pissed off in the public service for your culprit.

  281. tigtog says:

    @Chris, I missed this yesterday

    adrian, the continued characterisation of what was essentially a simple vote (in the end, a non-vote) of No Confidence in Kevin as leader as “a coup” is giving me the flaming irrits.

    Heh, you could describe the Dismissal in similar terms. Just a vote earlier than expected. But still a free and fair election.

    That’s actually a very interesting comparison.
    1. No matter how much the Labor faithful decried Fraser’s manoeuvrings, what he did was entirely legal.
    2. Many, many voters were highly disturbed by how the Dismissal of the Whitlam government played out.
    3. Nonetheless, the coalition under Fraser won the following election with the largest majority in Australian federal election history.

  282. Brian says:

    tigtog, very perceptive post at your place.

    Jordan is, I think you’ll find, about the same age Rudd was when he headed Goss’s office.

    My reaction was in two parts.

    First, there is no earthly reason why Rudd would need to attend every meeting. When in the public service I experienced a similar setup one one committee. The Director General was chair, more for status reasons than anything. He made me deputy chair, and as such I was the next most senior person in the room. The DG attended every second (monthly) meeting. He gained a morning’s work. I gave him a report and a five-minute briefing. It all worked just fine.

    I think if Jordan was sent along he should have had observer status only and a report on the meeting should have come from Gillard. This may have been how things worked. There would be other ways of handling it, depending on who was executive officer etc.

    Secondly, on the ‘leak’ there are plenty of ways it could have happened. When in the public service, I didn’t used to highlight my position when I rang people up, and ended having interesting little chats with secretaries and minders, usually beginning with some weak joke, or open-ended question/comment or just friendly chit-chat. You wouldn’t believe what I found out on occasion. And inter-agency politics was a reality of the public service.

    Successful journalists would have to be good at fishing.

    Also I’m wondering whether attendance is on the public record.

    I’m not putting it past some idiots within the ALP, but the bottom line is that we don’t know, and to jump to conclusions is totally unjustified, inappropriate and unhelpful to say the least.

    So there!

  283. tigtog says:

    @ Brian,

    tigtog, very perceptive post at your place.

    Thanks, I’ve just crossposted it here.

  284. Lefty E says:

    “Finally, what sort of dickhead doesn’t go for a DD election when he is running the major issue of the times in AGW? ”

    That was always my major criticism of Rudd.

    Tigtog & Sam, according to Uhlmann there’s a “cabinet source” along with “govt officials”. Tony Burke didnt dispute it came from the ALP on LL last night.

    Sam, I admire your faith in the factional heads who brought down Rudd – but they may have leaked this as
    a. post-facto justification of the knifing and
    b. to prevent Rudd getting a ministry.

    Im not sure rationality is something you can rely on when there’s internal hatreds at stake. Treason will eat itself – unless its head is chopped off.

  285. tigtog says:

    @Lefty E

    Tigtog & Sam, according to Uhlmann there’s a “cabinet source” along with “govt officials”.

    Wouldn’t a public servant assigned to the Cabinet Office also be a ‘cabinet source”?

    Tony Burke didnt dispute it came from the ALP on LL last night.

    That doesn’t mean he knows for sure that it did, although I agree it indicates he’s not totally sure that it didn’t.

  286. Fine says:

    I had dinner with five women last night, all from different parts of the political spectrum. None of whom were going to vote Labor because they detest Rudd. All thrilled that Gillard is the PM and all voting Labor now.

    It’s interesting that the polls are showing a significant gender gap in Gillard’s support. She’s getting more support from women that men.

    “Frankly, I’m going to stop wasting my time and take “It definitely hasn’t gone over well with about half the public” as my own base point for future participation in this thread. ”

    Except of course, there’s only very thin evidence of that. But whatever, Lefty. I understand your reluctance about talking about this issue and I’m happy to leave it alone.

    Now, I’m very amused about the shock and outrage about how Rudd is being leaked against. Except that tigtog has put forward a cogent case that it’s a bit more complicated than that. And people have forgotten recent history about how Rudd was a serial leaker when he was busy destabilising various Labor leaders in the past. But it’s much easier to play Heroes and Villians here.

    FWIW, I think Rudd is campaigning ably and loyally and the stuff about him sucking oxygen out of Gillard’s campaign is hot air.

  287. Lefty E says:

    Maybe Tigtog – but lets face it, “someone leaked internally, against Rudd??!!!” hardly constitutes a convincing negative proposition these days, does it?

    … its just so hard to believe that would happen!! 🙂

  288. su says:

    One former senior national security bureaucrat told The Canberra Times last night that Mr Rudd’s management of national security and international issues was ”often at odds with his claimed foreign policy expertise”.

    ”He knows a lot, but his chaotic management and obvious disrespect for people didn’t help. All too often he would think he was the smartest person in the room when he wasn’t,” the former official said.

    Not that this will change anyone’s mind. Adrian is now convinced that Rudd is victim of a conspiracy that, bizarrely, began before he was PM and Ken prefers to read the tea leaves and rely on mind reading skills rather than accept the overwhelming consensus on Rudd’s style of management. So just add to your list of “treasonous haters” assorted public servants from within National Security and Intelligence, all of whom were conspiring with Sussex Street, Latham, Tingle, Marr, the CIA, BP, Rio Tinto, Andrew Forrest and Paul Howes to bring down the twin towers put Rudd in the top job for the express purpose of knifing him at a later date.

  289. Paul Norton says:

    Ken Lovell upthread, were you really in cahoots with Norm Gallagher and the BLF?

    The BLF’s shonky dealings with developers were cited as one of the official reasons why it was deregistered in 1986. However a woman with the same name as the current Prime Minister, in a round table discussion published in the newsletter of the Socialist Forum group in 1986, stated that the BLF deserved to be deregistered because it campaigned outside the auspices of the Accord.

  290. Patricia WA says:

    This thread is still going strong! I’m glad it was a reference to PJK elsewhere that caught my bleary eye late last night. Otherwise I’d be still here caught up by the power and the passion of both sides in this argument.

    I got to meet Bill Shorten yesterday as he diligently worked the room at an ALP fund raiser. What a charmer! No tail or cloven hooves. His speech was funny and inspiring. No apologies for his role in the spill, but as with Gillard on the day an acknowledgement of Rudd and his brilliance and a listing of his achievements which he claimed the Labor movement could all be proud of as we moved forward with Julia Gillard. Yes, he used the magic words and they sounded unremarkably appropriate.

    I can’t imagine that JG will be able to send him ‘to sleep with the fishes’ any time soon or even later, much as she may want to. ALP politics will play out in the future as it has in the past, and as it does in other parties. I’m glad the left has people of his talent in the fray, willing to act at times of crisis. Shocked as I was by the spill, out here in the electorate without any insider knowledge or leaking I could see the mess the government was in and what a loser Rudd was looking. I even harboured hopes of his suffering a serious, but non fatal heart attack or a sudden elevation to a glorious role in the UN. Instead Shorten and others stepped in and used due party
    process, yes in unprecedented circumstances, to oust him and elevate Julia Gillard.

    I for one am grateful.

  291. adrian says:

    Don’t know about a conspiracy su, but that’s a nice emotive word that doesn’t mean a whole lot in this context.

    Given the symbiotic relationship between the media and politicians, it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that individuals or groups within the ALP who disliked Rudd leaked negative stories to selected journalists over a long term period.
    This happens all the time. Where do you think these stories like the Scores Nightclub drama, the meetings with Brian Burke etc etc came from?

  292. […] spectre of Kevin07 by mbahnisch on July 23, 2010 There’s been extensive discussion on Brian’s thread about the political demise of Kevin Rudd of Nicholas Stuart’s new book, Rudd’s […]

  293. Brian says:

    I’m not sure this will show up on the new main blog, but here’s a summary of Nicholas Stuart’s explanation of how Rudd fell. I’ve made a lot of specific references in comment above, which I won’t repeat. I refer also to Mark’s post and comments I made there from @ 7.

    Stuart says Rudd’s rise and fall can be explained with reference to three factors.

    First, Rudd assiduously established a media presence that made him very recognisable and he started to register in the polls.

    Secondly, he cultivated the factional leaders.

    Thirdly, there was Gillard. Rudd recognized her ambition, the support she had from the faction leaders, her warmth and friendship with many in the caucus.

    Rudd approached her and pointed out that being from the Left she would never command sufficient numbers in her own right to gain the leadership. But together as a leadership team with her as deputy they could win. Although she commanded more numbers in the Caucus than he did, she recognised the truth of what he said and agreed to join him.

    After the election in 2007, Rudd did not maintain his support from the faction leaders, or anyone much in Caucus.

    For Gillard, OTOH, the deputy leadership gave her a high profile so that she registered in the polls and maintained her contacts in the Caucus to the extent that when the faction leaders turned to her, she had the numbers.

    Stuart says she remained the loyal deputy to the last.

    Stuart then goes into a summary of the problems of process in Rudd’s administration, how he was losing traction with the electorate and didn’t seem to be able to do anything about it, which you’ve heard more than enough about before. I don’t want to rehash the extent to which Stuart may be right or not about this.

    Gillard’s support cracked when the Hartcher article appeared in the SMH about Jordan canvassing support for Rudd. Stuart says:

    It was obvious that Rudd no longer trusted her, yet he was demanding her unconditional support for his project – even as it began to fall apart. The government was headed for oblivion. Gillard had been loyal in the past, while Rudd had reciprocated with dishonesty and mistrust. The deputy decided her time had come.

    It’s not particularly relevant, I think, as to whether those who thought the government was going over a cliff were right or not. What matters to Gillard’s motivation is what she believed. And that we really don’t know, but it is a fair bet, I think, that she really thought they were going down.

    We are entitled to say that she should have been able to deconstruct polls better and also appreciate the potential harm done to democratic process, but she committed no crimes, broke no rules, so the proof will be in what happens in the future.

    I have worked in a large organisation with many divisions and branches. I’ve seen the loyal deputy scenario play out where the loyal deputy finally gives up on a boss that he/she sees as ineffective or worse.

    At this stage I’ll say three things. First, that I make no judgement on whether Gillard should have acted. I’ve said that I’m inclined to think that she should have waited until after the election and I’ll stick with that. But then she would have had a case only if Rudd had won, but barely scraped through.

    Secondly, I’m more hopeful than many on this blog that she will make cabinet government work, if she wins, and there can be no certainty about that.

    Thirdly, I think it is incredibly important if Labor wins that she chooses her ministry on merit, ignoring the factional leaders who got her there if their talents are only in scheming, plotting and playing power games. If she does that she will have struck a blow for all of us and for the Labor Party as well.

  294. Brian says:

    If you are wondering why this popped up on the comments sidebar, I’ve just updated the end of the post to link to stuff you’ve already seen in comments and Mark’s post. Just house-keeping.

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