Not a trace of ideology anywhere. This Labor leadership contest is not motivated in the slightest by any clash on matters of policy principle. It is purely and simply a debate among MPs about who will best help them keep their job. Concern about who would best run the country is secondary and only relevant at all insofar as it affects that survival question.

A long term solution. Leadership of a major political party really should be too important a matter to be decided on such self interest of MPs. Surely the time has come in Australia, as it has in the United Kingdom, for the wider party to have a say with procedures for calling a ballot set out to discourage the kind of guerrilla warfare that is now going on within the Labor caucus.

The Crikey Indicator moving towards Rudd. If the money does talk then Julia Gillard’s chances of surviving to lead her party to the next election are declining. The Crikey Leadership Indicator now puts the chances of being leader when the ballots are counted at just 30%.

Proving he has changed. There’s a simple way for Kevin Rudd to prove to his colleagues that he is that rare beast of a leopard who has changed his spots. That is to say he will end the practice he introduced so unilaterally in 2007 whereby the Labor Leader has the dictatorial power to select the ministry. Return to the old ways where the caucus did the choosing and all MPs has a vote.

Calling for a spill. Old Premiers are becoming like old Prime Ministers — incapable of fading away. This weekend we had Queensland’s Peter Beattie tweeting that “Julia Gillard needs to call a caucus meeting and resolve the leadership question once and for all or Anna Bligh may as well stay at home.”

This morning it was the Victorian Steve Bracks who turned columnist for The Australian to argue that the only beneficiary from a leadership challenge would be Tony Abbott. Not really much of a solution to the current problems in the advice of  those two.

My guess is that both in Queensland and federally the damage to the Labor brand is well and truly done whatever happens to the Prime Ministership.

Peter Fray

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