Australia dumps Gillard

Timothy Kincaid

June 28th, 2013

In an extremely rare unusual move, Australia’s governing party dumped its leader and, in the process, Prime Minister Julia Gillard. In her place, Labor reinstalled Kevin Rudd, who had similarly displaced by Gillard in 2010, as party leader and yesterday he was sworn in as Prime Minister.

What this means for marriage in that nation is anyone’s guess. Although Labor overwhelmingly supports equality, Gillard had steadfastly opposed the move. Last month Rudd endorsed same-sex marriage.

But whether Rudd is able to achieve equality may be secondary to whether he has time. Much of the motivation in Gillard’s ouster was driven by elections looming in September and polls showing that Tony Abbott’s Liberals (the more conservative party) held as much as a 70% lead.

In one of his first acts as Party leader, Rudd called on Abbott to allow a conscience vote on marriage equality. So far there is no response.

There is speculation that Rudd may push his new-found support for marriage – which is supported by a strong majority of Australians – along with a change in environmental policies in a desperate play to regain popular support for the party. Without a shift, Labor is primed to lose half its seats.


June 29th, 2013

Uncommon, but not ‘extremely rare’ for a serving PM to get turfed by their own party …

Gillard 2013 (by Rudd)

Rudd 2010 (by Gillard)

Hawke 1991 (by Keating)

Gorton 1971 (by McMahon)

McEwan 1968 (by Gorton)

Menzies 1941 (by Fadden)

Hughes 1923 (by Bruce)

and so on. Earlier govts were even more flakey. It’s one of the dynamics of Parliamentary democracy, particularly for coalitions with slim margins in the House facing electoral carnage.

I think Rudd will push (but not too hard) marriage equality (and other things) to help put Abbott in unflattering contrast. Somewhat bewilderingly, Gillard had painted herself into a corner on that one.

Timothy Kincaid

June 29th, 2013

thanks for the correction, guys.

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