The idea of Julia Gillard sweeping in and taking over the leadership of the ALP has become the favourite media story of the last few weeks. The damsel who saved the original knight in shining armour, or whatever mixed metaphor you prefer.

Both Rudd and Gillard ruled out the possibility of a leadership change.

Obviously the Libs are concerned that the popular Ms Gillard might be leader very shortly, with news that a Liberal campaign has already been devised to fight her in the election. The campaign focuses on her prominent role in major government stuff-ups, painting her as just another Rudd.

So is a Gillard takeover likely? Is that the best option for the party or even for Gillard herself? Would she win the election if she got the leadership? Or is this just a media narrative to oust Rudd?

Here’s what the pundits are saying:

The Australian

Glenn Milne: Tax backlash leaves Gang of Two isolated

While not isolating Ms Gillard completely from the [RSPT] tax, the strategic leaking of the news she was not intimately involved in its development gives her the potential room to abandon the tax were she to be pressed into taking over the Labor leadership.

Peter Beattie: Rudd needs a Bishop to tell him the truth

I am a Gillard fan. She is intelligent, thoughtful, has the political smarts and relates directly with people. She is a vote winner, and I hope one day she will be our first woman prime minister. But she knows that assuming the party leadership with a united caucus and cabinet is the best way to run the country and lead the party. The best way to the leadership for Julia is by a well-orchestrated transition similar to my handover to my then-deputy and now Queensland Premier, Bligh.

Glenn Milne: Why Julia Gillard would romp home in the election

My judgment: Gillard would romp home in an election against Abbott because the bumper sticker based on the disastrous polls for Labor is “It’s Rudd stupid!”. In other words, take Rudd out of the equation and there would be every chance the government’s prospects of re-election would be substantially restored.

Peter van Onselen: Kevin Rudd has a week to shape up

Despite his poor performance and polling in recent months, no one is counting numbers. They don’t have to. If Julia Gillard decided to challenge, she would win a ballot hands down.


Niki Savva: What the heck happened to Kevin Rudd?

Publicly Gillard remains loyal but she has been choosing her words extremely carefully. If anything were to happen, the last thing she wants is to be accused of lying.

Sydney Morning Herald

Phillip Coorey: No escaping a fortnight from hell for Rudd

There is talk about Julia Gillard but it is just that – talk. Those close to Gillard say she is not agitating and the factional bosses are not moving away from Rudd.

Phillip Coorey: Angry voters ready to give Rudd the red card

If Rudd believes he can turn it around, and all leaders do, then the smart money would be on a late election. If he thinks it’s only going to get worse, and the Gillard threat becomes real, he will go early.

Australian Financial Review

Laura Tingle: A crash course in damage control [paywall]

That is, it almost doesn’t matter whether things are true or not, they develop a life of their own when the government is no longer in control of the agenda.


Larvatus Prodeo, Mark Bahnisch, Media narrative demands Rudd’s head on a platter according to Newspoll timetable

Let’s be very clear about what’s happening here. We’re going to read about this ‘narrative’ all week, and the same people writing it will bemoan that the government lacks ‘oxygen’ for its ‘message’, in the hope that having ensured that’s true, they can further shape reality by influencing the Labor caucus, and by necessity, Julia Gillard. If the ‘deadline’ passes and nothing happens, some other set of facts will be invented, and I’m sure that will occur, as Gillard’s far too smart to dance to the News Limited tune.

The Gutter Trash, reb, Is The Australian running the country?

Glenn Milne is attempting to fuel The Australian’s self-engineered fabrication about leadership speculation at The Federal Labor party with a story about how Julia Gillard would “romp home” as Leader. This is despite the fact that Julia Gillard has constantly stated that she doesn’t want the job.