Forget the referendum, just go. This is one of those “he who hesitates is lost” moments. Kevin Rudd should be holding the next election at the very first opportunity. Forget about that local government referendum. It is a matter of little or no consequence in the overall scheme of political things and is probably doomed to failure even if held.

Labor will get a boost in support because of the replacement of a prime minister who was widely disliked with one who is widely liked. The electoral chances are greater with the shortest time possible for the Coalition to mount its memories campaign based on why Labor sacked Kevin Rudd the first time around.

Predicting the outcome. My much-cherished readers have shown considerable aptitude at picking the trend of public opinion. Every bit as accurate as the findings of opinion pollsters, it seems to me. So here we go again.

This time your judgment is required to predict what the Essential Report to be published in Crikey on Monday will show and, more importantly, what the outcome will be when the election is finally held. Make your predictions here.


And the winner was… Our congratulation and a First Dog calendar goes to reader Jeff Miles for winning our “predict the day and time” of the leadership challenge contest.

Tributes without names. In his first address to the House of Representatives as a reincarnated Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd paid what the ABC called “tribute to Julia Gillard.” A rather strange “tribute”, I would have thought. He didn’t even mention her name. Read and judge for yourself.

“On indulgence, I would also like to acknowledge the contributions of the former prime minister and the former treasurer. Through the difficult years of minority government, the former prime minister has achieved major reforms for our nation that will shape our country’s future. I acknowledge her great achievements in taking the Fair Work Act through the Parliament. I acknowledge her great achievements in bringing in a national scheme for the testing of literacy and numeracy across the Australian school system, something we once believed was impossible given the institutionalised hostility of the states. Now the parents of Australia know the results of their schools and know the results of their kids, and as a result we can intervene as appropriate to support our children. I also acknowledge her great achievements in delivering better funding for Australian schools. And, on top of all that, I acknowledge her great work as a standard-bearer for women in our country: Australia’s first woman as deputy prime minister and Australia’s first woman as prime minister.”

Departed treasurer Wayne Swan received a similarly anonymous recognition from the Prime Minister.

A rather churlish beginning.

The equality argument. If you are a male leader and your party thinks you are guiding it to inevitable defeat you get replaced. If you are a female leader and your party thinks you are guiding it to inevitable defeat you get replaced. Where’s the inequality in that?

News and views noted along the way.

  • The future of feminism — “Two controversial new books — by Sheryl Sandberg and Alison Wolf — consider the prospects for ambitious women in Western elites.”
  • Does Facebook have a privacy phobia? — “The recent online surveillance scandal involving US intelligence agencies has renewed calls for an urgent reform of European legislation on personal data, which has already been under discussion for years. The proposed reform, though, has consumer associations pitted against the lobbies of the Internet giants.”
  • Rudd’s return marks the victory of opportunist politics — “Watching a coup via distant internet is bizarre … My Facebook messages breathed indignation, with most of my friends convinced Gillard was the victim of misogynist bullying.  I would be more convinced of this had Gillard herself not come to power by a similar, if less anticipated, coup. It is hard to accept the thesis that her fall was due to the machinations of nasty male machine politicians when she was made prime minister by similar means.”
  • Extra, extra, read all about it: paperboy Anthony Albanese becomes Deputy Prime Minister
  • ‘Black babies cost less to adopt’
  • What the rise of cage-free eggs means for chickens — “Promises from big food companies to switch to ‘cage-free’ eggs have set off a supply chain reaction among egg producers. Some producers are adding more cage-free houses to their operations. But scientists are still trying to measure whether cage-free chickens are really better off.”
  • Ultra-wired South Korea is battling smartphone addiction — “An annual government survey estimated that nearly 20 percent of teenagers were ‘addicted’ to smartphones. Addiction was defined by a number of criteria, including anxiety and depression when separated from a smartphone, a repeated failure to cut back on usage time, and feeling happier using smartphones than being with family or friends.”

Peter Fray

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