Papers cry wolf, but is a challenge on? "Unions shift on Gillard" screams the front-page of The Australian Financial Review this morning. Someone walking past the newsstand would be forgiven for thinking that union leaders were backing away from the Prime Minister en masse in favour of Kevin Rudd (or another Labor leadership aspirant).
But no -- as the story itself makes clear, this hasn’t happened at all. Last week, several union leaders -- including Joe de Bruyn, Michael O’Connor, Tony Sheldon and Charlie Donnelly -- got together for a meeting. The topic of federal Labor's fortunes was raised. De Bruyn, O’Connor, Sheldon and Donnelly all re-affirmed their support for Gillard -- although two said there is a "real prospect" she may be replaced. In other words, they stated the bleeding obvious -- as Joel Fitzgibbon did on Q&A on Monday when he said that political leaders who are unpopular are unlikely to survive for long.