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Mar 21, 2013

Crean’s coup flops as Rudd fades away

Simon Crean's impassioned speech this afternoon imploring Kevin Rudd to challenge for the Labor leadership took everyone by surprise -- most especially Kevin Rudd.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has stared down an attempt to resolve Labor’s ongoing leadership woes after former PM Kevin Rudd declined to contest a leadership spill sparked by Simon Crean’s defection.

The surprise intervention by Crean to request that the Prime Minister call a spill appeared to take the Rudd camp by surprise and left Rudd’s allies no time to muster the numbers to defeat the Prime Minister; Crean himself failed to bring sufficient numbers to Rudd as putative deputy leader to make up the difference between Rudd’s core support and the 51 votes needed to defeat the Prime Minister.

Rudd’s decision was based, he said, on a determination to keep his word not to challenge the Prime Minister or accept a return to the leadership unless drafted by an overwhelming majority of his colleagues.

In asking the Prime Minister to bring on a spill, Crean stated he had not consulted with Rudd — and the evidence of that was clear in Rudd’s response.

Crean has been sacked from his cabinet position and now joins Rudd on the backbench.

Chief Rudd spruiker Joel Fitzgibbon, who has been described as a “freelancer on a suicide mission” by Rudd camp sources, has said he would be “considering his position” as Chief Whip.

With Rudd declining to contest, Crean’s effort appears to have failed: the incessant speculation over Julia Gillard’s leadership may quiet for a time, but it is likely to eventually resume, with the media having demonstrated they are prepared to continue running leadership stories until parties respond.

The result is the overshadowing of what was a historic day in Parliament: the apology to the victims of forced adoptions in the Great Hall, where both Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott made heartfelt, resonant speeches about the issue before hundreds of mothers and children torn apart by forced adoption policies.

This may well go down as “Crean’s gambit”, an attempt to short-circuit Labor’s leadership difficulties, incited by a media obsessed with leadership stories. Julia Gillard remains as Prime Minister, but Labor’s poor position in the polls — and a febrile media — also remain.

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70 comments

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70 thoughts on “Crean’s coup flops as Rudd fades away

  1. asdusty

    Today is a recognition that the ALP are facing at least three terms in opposition at a Federal level, no matter who’s the leader. I cant see Kev spending all that time as opposion leader so dont be surprised to see Kevin Rudd as the next Premier of QLD…

  2. Petroleuse

    How naive we all were to believe that Labor actually wanted to defeat Tony Abbott. Morons.

  3. Paddy Forsayeth

    The trouble is they are looking at Gillard and not on their party and social contract. They are little different politically than the Libs. except that Abbott is one of the slimiest lying …ts to grace the political stage.

  4. klewso

    The gap between the Gillard and Abbott camps widen – her’s are in Competent and his are in Tolerable?
    We’re caught in the middle?

  5. Achmed

    Gillards anonymous win as Leader again makes Abbott’s one vote win look weak.
    Abbott was ranting that the minority govt “experiment” had failed. Given his level of honesty, integrity etc we can expect to see him immediately call another election if he finds himself a party to such a failed “experiment”.

  6. Venise Alstergren

    BERNARD KEANE: You don’t think there was a hint that Kevin Rudd was backing away from accepting the poisoned chalice? Or is the whole thing a secret deal between Labor and the conservative parties to hand Tony Abbott the leadership of Oz he so desperately craves? If so, why spend all that taxpayers’ money to hold an election? Just give it to the bastards.

  7. shepherdmarilyn

    Yes but the media will still blame Rudd – they are whining morons.

  8. Kate Ahearne

    Actually, Bernard, we don’t know that ‘Labor’s poor position in the polls’ will remain. Watching the story unfold today, I had the distinct impression that what had happened could only boost Gillard’s standing with the public. She was elected unopposed. What could be stronger than that? The Murdoch Press blew their big chance, and if speculation continues in the media, it will be, quite clearly, a media beat-up. Yes, there are those within the party who would like to see Gillard deposed, but they have failed. Again. So let’s just see what the pollsters come up with, and let’s those of us who want the Labor-led minority government to do its best for Australia in the coming months, switch our attention to policy on both sides.

    What part of ‘unanimous’ and ‘unopposed’ is so difficult to understand? Today was a victory for the PM and for the Labor party.

  9. Gungaroo

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott! I thought I’d just type this to see how it reads, what it looks like, sounds like, some useful preparative psychotherapy…
    • The Prime Minister Tony Abbott said…
    • Tony Abbott PM said today..
    • In question time today PM Abbott denied allegations that he admired Hitler..

  10. Andybob

    The leadership speculation will continue exactly as long as the polls that would see a significant proportion of caucus lose their seats continue.

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