As the Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd leadership spill grew from a trickle of leaks to a flood of animosity culminating in a caucus ballot, Australian politics came for a while to resemble a US-style presidential primary.

This impression was amplified by live blog coverage, photo montages of the contestants clashing head to head, op-eds replete with war-like language, and especially in Rudd’s call to the people to petition their MPs to swing their caucus votes in favour of him.