Amazingly and almost inconceivably, Australia today has a new prime minister. And a female one at that. Why?

How could a government presiding over a successful economy that managed to avoid the worst of a savage global recession reach the point where, over a matter of days, it turned on its leader with such surgical precision that he was sliced from office without even a vote?

The superficial answer is that the polls went sour for Labor. The real answer is that a handful of so-called Labor ‘power brokers’ rustled up the numbers within caucus to roll a first-term prime minister whose management style they didn’t like.

The press gallery have been hashing over the (widely considered remote) possibility of this for weeks.

But here’s a reality check: many of the general public haven’t tuned into politics for months.

Suddenly, they wake up to a new prime minister. A prime minister they didn’t vote for.

That’s democracy, you could say. Or Labor party democracy, at least. Let’s see what the punters make of that.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey