Today our Prime Minister, the Hon Kevin Rudd, who lead the Labor Party to one of the most resounding defeats of conservative forces in Australia’s history was booted out of the job by his own party – and in his first term. This is unprecedented.
Still beating the Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, in the polls as preferred Prime Minister, it wasn’t good enough for Kevin’s parliamentary team. For the Labor caucus, like scared rabbits in the headlights, they jumped into a rushed decision that I think is catastrophic. Sure, the electorate were disappointed with changes in policy on climate change and for the refugees – is that a reason to shoot the leader? Rather than working through issues (and I’m sure there were many including dealing with the reality and/or perceptions of the Gang of Four tag), they shot the commander in chief.
The whole thing reminds me of Gough Whitlam and his government that introduced such great reforms that still resonate in Australia today. What he did in the 1970s made a difference to the very structures of our society. I believe the reforms of the Rudd Government will be seen in the same light in years to come. The difference between then and now is that Gough was removed by the conservative side of government. This latest coup was the result of Rudd’s own Labor party. In that, it has similarities with Keating’s ousting of Bob Hawke – still the quintessential Australian Prime Minister in my book.
I wonder how future Australians will view the actions of those people who were the architects of today’s events. I suggest, they will not be viewed well. That the result of this coup is that Australia has its first female prime minister, is a different issue. As a feminist, I totally advocate women being able to do anything they want, be anything they want. I don’t advocate that we do anything necessary to get there including stabbing colleagues in the back. Sorry, Julia, it looks a bit like that to me.
I was proud that our Kevey, as we refer to him in our house, handled the fiasco with dignity and even more proud that he attended Parliament on the last sitting day before the winter break on the backbenchers. Character will win out. I’m disappointed that so many Labor politicians appear to have very litte.