It was like a lightning strike. Over in the blink of an eye, or half a day to be exact. But before we watch PM Gillard move into The Lodge, Crikey takes a look back at the events of the last 12 hours. Here’s how it happened.

Yesterday, 9.00am: NSW Right faction power broker Mark Arbib has a meeting with Gillard in her office. Reportedly offers her the leadership.

10.30am: The AWU, led by secretary Paul Howes, meet in Sydney and throw their support behind Gillard.

Early afternoon: Labor powerbrokers Bill Shorten, David Feeney, Don Farrell and Tony Burke have a meeting with Gillard in her office. They tell her they have lost confidence in the PM.

2.30pm: Question time goes on as usual in the House but the movements on the leadership continue behind the scenes.

7.00pm: Rudd, Gillard, Anthony Albanese, Lindsay Tanner, Wayne Swan and John Faulkner meet in the PM’s office for crisis talks over the leadership. Gillard tells Rudd she intends to challenge him for the leadership.

7.30pm: At dinner in a restaurant in Kensington, Shorten does the numbers working two phones and crossing names off a list.

9.00pm: Factional powerbrokers are confident of the numbers in support of Gillard if she decides to challenge.

10.10pm: Rudd calls a press conference and confirms there will be a leadership spill at 9am on Thursday. He says: “I was elected to do a job. I intend to continue to do that job … I think I’m quite capable of winning tomorrow.”

10.40pm: Gillard emerges from the PM’s office and confirms she will be a candidate for the leadership in tomorrow’s spill.

10.40pm: AWU Secretary Paul Howes goes on Lateline to explain his union’s position: “We have to look at what’s in the best interests of our members of our union to ensure fairness remains in our member workplaces and we think that Julia Gillard is the best option to lead Labor to victory at the upcoming election.”

Today, 8.30am: Reports suggest Gillard has 70-plus votes and Rudd has about 30. There are whispers that Rudd’s supporters have conceded defeat.

8.58am: Gillard and Wayne Swan walk side-by-side into the caucus meeting. This is the first public show of the challenging ticket.

9.00am: The Labor caucus files into the party room for the leadership spill and are locked away with the press breathing at the door.

9.30am: Reports that ballot is called off; Rudd has stepped down and Gillard is the new prime minister.

9.36am: Caucus spokesman and NSW Senator Michael Forshaw emerges from the caucus room to make the announcement: “The new leader elected unopposed is Julia Gillard, the new deputy leader is Wayne Swan.”

11.25am: Rudd holds press conference, announcing that he will be recontesting election. Breaks down in tears at times, especially when speaking of Sorry Day, health reform, and his wife and family.

11.55am: Gillard delivers press conference. Calls a cease fire on political advertising with the mining industry, pays tribute to Kevin Rudd.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey