A LITTLE over three years after she knifed Kevin Rudd in the back, Australian prime minister Julia Gillard has fallen by the wayside. She came to office by the backdoor and has been seen off with a very public blood-letting.
Rudd did not scrape through; the leadership vote, foolishly called for by Gillard a day before Parliament rose for the winter, ended 57-45 in Rudd’s favour, much more than expected. Gillard thought she would ambush Rudd by not giving him enough time to marshal forces but her gambit failed.
There’s a lot of bleating going on about the first female prime minister being knifed and so on, but everyone fails to remember that Gillard was the cause of it all. She agreed to be put in the leadership position by the faceless men of the Labor party at a time when there was no need to change leaders.
In June 2010, Rudd’s poll figures were down to 33 percent of the primary vote but he had time until February 2011 to call an election. It’s important to remember that in the crazy Australian political system, parties have come to power with just 38 percent of the primary vote.
Further, while Gillard justified her stabbing of Rudd on the basis that his poll figures had put electoral success at peril, she herself was hanging on to the leadership when she had much worse poll figures. Gillard was an opportunist who initially pledged loyalty and then stabbed Rudd in the back. She deserved what she got.
No matter what Rudd’s faults were, the Labor party was in deep doodoo for 11 years before he emerged as its saviour. No matter what the party tried, it could not defeat John Howard. Only Rudd managed to do it.
It’s all very well to have ambition in politics but Gillard went overboard. She was greedy to be the boss. It was far too early in the story for her to challenge Rudd. He would have quit after two terms in office as it is well known that he has ambitions to be UN secretary-general.
In the end, it was one of the faceless men, Bill Shorten, who pushed things decisively Rudd’s way by announcing, a few minutes before the leadership ballot was held, that he would be backing Rudd. He dished out a great of bullshit about changing his allegiance from Gillard to Rudd because he cared for the nation and the party.
He forgot to mention that he also cared for himself.
Whom did he think he was conning? Does he take the nation to be a bunch of mugs? Shorten wants to be prime minister one day; his reasoning would have been that it is easier to lead a party which is not reduced to a rump in opposition. With Rudd taking Labor to the polls, the damage is likely to be minimised.
That’s why Shorten, the supreme hypocrite, switched sides.
Interestingly, no woman quit the cabinet in support of Gillard. They have been shouting themselves hollow about their support for her but when it came to the crunch none of them walked the plank. Penny Wong, Kate Lundy, Tanya Plibersek, they are all still in the cabinet. What happened to the sisterhood? Looks like their own interests come first and all those platitudes they mouthed in support of Gillard are just that. Hypocrites would be an understatement.
Some of the men who had supported Gillard — Stephen Conroy, Wayne Swan, Craig Emerson, Peter Garrett, Greg Combet — quit, but they had all abused Rudd after the leadership challenge last year and their positions were untenable. Others like Stephen Smith are hanging on to positions of power. It makes one stomach churn.
In politics, self-interest comes first. All the talk about caring for the public, the country and the party is a lot of bullshit. Politicians are the worst kind of scum and when the public and media start treating them as such, things will turn out much better. They live on public money but do exactly what they want, they defraud the public and they do not deserve anything like the respect they get.