Correction

Paul Chamberlin writes: Re. “Windsor and Oakeshott, independents alike to the last” (yesterday). Bernard Keane said yesterday that Peter Andren won the seat of Calare from the Nationals. This is incorrect — he won it from Labor. David Simmons held it for Labor until 1996 and announced his retirement before that election.

Where it all went wrong

Jim Hart writes: Re. “Back from the dead to bury Labor? Rudd returns as PM” (yesterday). Never mind the plots and conspiracies, Julia Gillard’s fate was sealed with the knitting picture. If you tried to create an image to parody a political leader you couldn’t come up with anything better. I’m told that many professional women in very senior roles enjoy knitting and other crafts as a way to de-stress, but I’ll bet they wouldn’t include a picture like that in their CV when applying for a CEO position. Nor do I recall ever seeing a picture of Margaret Thatcher crocheting or Hillary Clinton scrapbooking — I wonder why.

Jackie French writes: Knit one, pearl two, drop one (a pattern that only true knitters may find amusing).

Niall Clugston writes: The main conclusion we should take from yesterday’s events is that the Australian political system is broken. Unfortunately, Mark Latham was right. At the heart of the problem is the lack of a cause. The political divide used to be about your attitude to socialism and unions, which are now seen as so last century. The “environment” is touted as a substitute, but it is not a radical cause: it is a loosely associated agenda of reforms which can be accepted or rejected regardless of political stripe.  Even the Greens have shown themselves willing to horse trade on climate change.  So it’s all about winning and ambition.  Added to this are opinion polls. They are now highly scientific, and Australia’s compulsory voting removes a lot of uncertainty. Electoral defeat is now highly predictable. And because it’s all about winning, when a party can see defeat coming, they dump the leader.

It’s not just Labor. Remember Ted Ballieu  Remember that Abbott only came to the leadership after Turnbull and Nelson were dumped. Sure, factionalism is a factor, but it’s the breakdown of stable factions that’s the problem. And, yes, s-xism played a part in the stalking of Gillard.  But the toppling of Rudd was bad too.  It’s the system. It’s broken.

Margaret Walker writes: I voted Labor for my entire voting life, but not this time. Kevin Rudd is popular with people who have no understanding of politics. He failed as PM the first time — not because anyone white-anted or sabotaged him but because he lacked the skills to work with his party to achieve change. Julia Gillard had these skills in spades — and demonstrated them over and over again. The term warrior is also accurate. But the party allowed Rudd to remain in the Parliament after he lost the second challenge and he spent all of his time systematically and indefatigably undermining his prime minister. History will judge him.

John Richardson writes: Re. “Crikey says: ‘he’s back’” (yesterday). “Crikey!” would have done.

Peter Fray

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