Australian leadership speculation mounts

2013-03-20 12:10


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Sydney - Speculation intensified on Wednesday that Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard could be toppled by her party within days, with one report saying ex-leader Kevin Rudd was five votes from victory.

The Australian Financial Review said Gillard, the nation's first woman leader, was lagging so badly in opinion polls that even her more strident supporters doubted she could win the 14 September national election.

It said three senior sources had confirmed momentum was moving towards Rudd, who was suddenly ousted in a party room coup in mid-2010, less than three years after he swept Labour to power over the conservatives.

The paper said one supporter, asked whether Gillard could maintain her position, replied: "It's hard to see."

Gillard has been dogged by speculation about her leadership for weeks, with the latest rumours fed by a government decision to try and introduce media reforms which the industry has united to fiercely oppose.

Former Labour leader Simon Crean admitted on Tuesday that the handling of the media legislation - which includes stronger self-regulation requirements for the print media - could have been done better.

"I hope it is another lesson to all of us about the right way to do things," he said.

‘Feisty woman vs policy-weak man’

Some ministers, including Foreign Minister Bob Carr, have stressed their loyalty to Gillard, but reports said Rudd's camp was actively canvassing for support and any leadership vote between the two would be tight.

Gillard became prime minister in mid 2010 when she ousted Rudd, who at the time had lost the support of powerful factional leaders.

She called an election which she failed to win outright from the surprised public, gaining power only after cobbling together a coalition with a Greens MP and several rural independents to form a majority in the lower house.

Questions as to what tipped caucus against Rudd were never answered at the time, and the popular Queenslander quit his post as foreign minister and challenged Gillard in February 2012 for the leadership. He lost 71-31.

Gillard, meanwhile, has vowed she will not readily vacate her position.

"The election will be on 14 September and let me be very clear, it will be a contest ... between a strong, feisty woman and a policy-weak man (opposition leader Tony Abbott) and I'll win it," she told parliament on Tuesday.

Read more on:    julia gillard  |  kevin rudd  |  australia

Join the conversation! 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.
NEXT ON NEWS24X 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
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

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


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 network.


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.