We were in the Northern Territory and northern Western Australia during the last Australian election campaign.
There was no great enthusiasm for Labor or Julia Gillard there, although we were mostly talking to station owners and business people who probably didn’t give a representative sample of views.
Several referred to her as the “geenger beetch” but I wasn’t sure whether it was her hair colour, gender or politics to which they were objecting.
However, she won the election – just and has managed to hold a fragile coalition together and keep the country on a reasonably sound economic footing in the face of global turmoil.
However, she and her government have become increasingly unpopular and now the man she deposed as leader, Kevin Rudd has resigned as Foreign Minister, jumping before he was pushed by Gillard.
The question now is whether or not he has the numbers to lead a leadership coup or whether he’ll resign and force a by-election.
Exactly what would be achieved by Rudd’s return as party leader and Prime Minister is summed up by Larvatus Prodeo:
. . . a government which presides over an anomalously healthy economy (by international standards) and, for all its imperfections, made real progress in many important areas, is currently ripping itself to bits in a leadership contest between two individuals who do not appear to have any significantly different policy views, in the midst of appalling polling.
It’s a ruddy (Ruddy?) mess which is entertaining for political tragics.
But it’s very damaging for the government and the Labor Party and the only ones likely to benefit from whatever happens are the Liberals.