Aussies dump PM Julia Gillard for former leader Kevin Rudd

2013-06-26 14:18

Canberra – Australia’s ruling Labour Party elected former leader Kevin Rudd as prime minister and dumped Julia Gillard today, in a dramatic move to try and head off a catastrophic defeat at elections due within three months.

The return of Rudd could now see Australia go to an election in August rather than the set date of September 14, to cash in on his greater popularity with voters and an expected honeymoon period with the electorate.

Rudd, a former diplomat who speaks Mandarin, won a Labour Party ballot with 57 votes to Gillard’s 45. Gillard promised to quit politics if she lost the ballot.

The leadership change followed a series of opinion polls showing Gillard’s minority government could lose up to 35 seats in the looming elections, giving the conservative opposition a massive majority in the 150-member parliament.

But polls also show Rudd is more popular with voters and his return to the prime ministership, which he lost to Gillard in June 2010, could stem the size of Labour’s election loss.

The shift from Gillard to Rudd is unlikely to have any major policy implications, as both are strong supporters of Australia’s military alliance with the United States and strong supporters of growing ties with top trading partner China.

Gillard has struggled to win public support despite ongoing economic growth and low unemployment and low interest rates at a time when other developed countries are struggling to keep out of recession.

Gillard has also pushed social reforms that pour money into schools, and which help disabled people gain access to much-needed free care, but the changes have done little to shift her dwindling support in opinion polls.

Voters have also remained angry that her government, which holds a one-seat majority with support from the Greens and a clutch of independents, introduced a controversial carbon tax in a backflip from her 2010 election promise not to do so.

Several key ministers, including treasurer Wayne Swan and communications minister Stephen Conroy, have said they would not serve under Rudd.

Rudd said he would hold no grudges against internal critics who have openly slammed his previous stint as prime minister, and said he would not punish ministers who have remained stubbornly loyal to Gillard.

“If I win this ballot, every effort I have in my being will be dedicated to uniting the Australian Labour Party. No retributions, no paybacks, none of that stuff. It’s pointless, it’s old politics,” Rudd said ahead of the vote.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.