I’m quite sure that the journalists who wrote the leadership stories that dominated the papers throughout late last week actually did speak to Labor Party members of parliament who told them of unrest in the ranks about Julia Gillard and the various possible alternatives.
Politicians are great gossips and no subject excites them more than their own job prospects, be it retaining the income and perks of ministerial office or clinging to a seat in the House of Representatives or the Senate. As the saying goes, the first job of a politician is to be elected and the second is to be re-elected.
And re-election is now looking quite doubtful for many in the Labor caucus so it is only natural that thoughts turn to whether changing the leader might improve matters. But that does not mean that a leadership change is likely.
The first difficulty is finding someone brave or silly enough to actually take the job if offered. At the moment becoming Julia Gillard’s successor as Prime Minister would be a sure fire way of becoming the person who led Labor to the greatest defeat in its history.
The judgment Caucus members must make is whether the instability of sacking another Prime Minister would make the electoral prospects better or worse. They are unlikely to come to a conclusion about that in a hurry.