Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0


By Malcolm Colless - posted Monday, 5 September 2011

With the High Court's sinking of Canberra's Malaysian asylum seeker solution the Gillard Government is now awash with speculation about a leadership change.

The rumours about a change at the top have been around for many months beginning not long after Gillard seized the Prime Minister's chair from Kevin Rudd. The collapse of her Malaysian solution has just given them more momentum.

And the focus has swung back on to Rudd who, if the opinion polls are right, could be the last Labor man standing in Queensland in a forecast Government wipeout at the next election.


Ironically despite the media fascination with Rudd, which began from the moment he was knocked off his prime ministerial perch last year, he is still widely loathed within the Labor Party.

So why would Labor want to put him back in the driver's seat? One obvious reason is that it is hard to see why any of the more likely contenders for leadership such as the ambitious Bill Shorten would want to take the party to an inevitable, humiliating, defeat at the next election.

One theory is that Rudd could be encouraged to accept the baton, take Labor to the election, and then stand aside to allow someone like Shorten, or Simon Crean, to begin the rebuilding process. Of course this would require a degree of humility which we haven't seen so far in Rudd's character. It would, in fact, be portrayed as an act of grace in the long term interest of the Labor Party.

But it would also allow Rudd to achieve what Gillard and her supporters denied him - the opportunity to go to an election as Prime Minister regardless of the fact that this would end up in certain defeat.

In the last days of his Prime Ministership Rudd was urged by a close associate to come clean with the electorate about the policy mistakes he had made and to accept the fact that things had to change. It was advice he ignored.

When Gillard took the reins she lost no time in claiming that the Government ( under Rudd's command) had lost its way and things would now be different.


But the policy blundering has,in fact, continued seemingly at a greater pace if that is possible. What has changed since last year's election is the country now has a minority government and as a result Gillard has been forced to cut a deal with the Greens and the independents to stay in power.

She may choose to argue that changing leaders would put this deal at risk. But if you are staring defeat in the face so what?

It is clear that Gillard flip flopped on her election promise that no government she led would put a tax on carbon to accommodate the pressures involved in sustaining power in a minority government.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

12 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Malcolm Colless is a freelance journalist and political commentator. He was a journalist on The Times in London from 1969-71 and Australian correspondent for the Wall Street Journal from 1972-76. He was political editor of The Australian, based in Canberra, from 1977-81 and a director of News Ltd from 1991-2007.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Malcolm Colless

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Article Tools
Comment 12 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy