Australian PM Julia Gillard ousted by rival Kevin Rudd

PM set conditions for snap leadership vote: ‘If you win, you are Labor leader; if you lose, you retire from politics’


(Seth Perlman/AP Photo)

It was Julia Gillard who called the snap leadership vote, vowing to quit politics were she to lose.

The conditions, as the Australian prime minister explained: “If you win, you are Labor leader; if you lose, you retire from politics.”

Gillard said the Labor party leadership vote was in the best interest of Australia. “This is it. There are no more opportunities. Tonight’s the night.”

But it was not her night, as a count of the ballots revealed.

With a vote of 57 to 45, the prime minister of Australia was out and Kevin Rudd was in.

“If I win this ballot, every effort I have in my being will be dedicated to uniting the Australian Labor Party,” Rudd said before the vote. “No retributions, no paybacks, none of that stuff. It’s pointless, it’s old politics.”

After the vote, Gillard confirmed her plans to leave politics. “I will not recontest the federal electorate… at the forthcoming election.”

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Australian PM Julia Gillard ousted by rival Kevin Rudd

  1. If the Canadian system operated the way a true Westminster parliament does, as in Australia and the UK, a party’s caucus, instead of being held hostage to the leader’s power to withhold nomination papers, could vote him/her out. That would certainly shift power to where it properly belongs, in the legislature, not the PMO.

    The Canadian model is broken.

    • Well, we voters are to blame. We demanded greater control over selecting the party leader, and we choose to vote for the leader of the party at election time, rather than researching and getting to know our candidates to be our member of parliament.

      The way to get the UK or Australian Westminster parliament is to vote for a party that makes the independence of the legislature a priority, and says to the rank and file of that party “Sorry, but you don’t get to vote for a Prime Minister if you elect us.”

      • We can only vote for that option if a party makes it available. The Cons have merely crystallized a dynamic that was well under way when Chretien was PM. The true center of power in Canadian politics is now the PMO and no leader has indicated a genuine willingness to give it up. In the absence of any party that limits its leader’s authority to sign nomination papers, the only way to change this dynamic is a full-out revolt in the caucus of the party in power.

        Ain’t never gonna’ happen.

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