On Wednesday night I wrote when I heard that Julia Gillard was challenging Rudd that it was a dumb thing to do because the ALP was in front in the polls on a 2 Party Preferred basis and Rudd also led on a Preferred PM basis.
However, having made the challenge I did think there was no alternative but to dump Rudd.
The basis for the challenge all seems to be the ALP internal polling which showed the ALP losing pretty much every marginal seat – including seats like Adelaide (held by Kate Ellis with around 10%).
Now whether or not party polling can be completely believed – the seats shown on Andrew Bolts’ site (and the word is they were leaked to him by the ALP National Secretary, Karl Bitar, because Rudd’s chief of staff would not let him show them to Rudd!!) imply that there has been national polling done, which would be damn expensive to do it right, and the rumour is that the ALP kitty is not exactly overflowing at the moment. But still, faced with a list that says you would lose these seats:
Macarthur - huge loss
Macquarie - big loss
Swan - huge loss
Corangamite - big loss
Hasluck - huge loss
Bass - narrow retain
Bennelong - big loss
Robertson - big loss
Solomon - big loss
Gilmore - huge loss
Herbert - huge loss
Deakin - narrow retain
Longman - big loss
Eden Monaro - big loss
Flynn - big loss
Page - narrow loss
Dawson - huge loss
Braddon - retain
Forde - loss
Franklin - retain
Brisbane - retain
Dobell - either way
Leichhardt - huge loss
Petrie - either way
Kingston - big loss
Adelaide - loss.
Makin – retain
would be damn sobering reading for many MPs (not the least those in those seats). Were I them, I would probably have acted as well – especially as I don’t think were I an MP I would have been in the Rudd camp anyway (I would have voted for Beazley!).
And now having made the change, they seemed to have caught the Liberal Party flat footed. Thus far it seems like the Liberal Party doesn’t know what to do. They wanted desperately to fight Kevin Rudd – think about the Kevin O’Lemon advert; it was pretty devastating really – the analogy fit (fair or not) and when shown on Q and A it got a huge laugh. Now that ad is wasted money – in fact the Libs may have found themselves in the same position the ALP was in 1995 – Keating killed off Alexander Downer so quickly that they were faced with John Howard – an opponent they never were able to undermine and in fact an opponent in the end they could not defeat.
Apart from died in the wool Liberal Party voters (or those who say “I used to vote ALP , but no more”) I haven’t heard from those I have chatted with at work much discontent with Labor; it’s all been anti-Rudd. In fact the most voracious feeling of anti-Rudd sentiment has been from ALP voters who were pissed that he might stuff it up and let Abbott win.
So while on Wednesday night in the flush of excitement I wrote:
What complete fools. They might as well give Abbott the keys to the Lodge now – because they sure as hell will be giving the LNP a huge boost in the polls.
I now take that all back. After watching how Julia has charmed the shock jocks (Neil Mitchell was about to volunteer to be the father of her children after hearing her first speech); watching her absolutely destroy Tony Abbott in the Matter of Public Importance on Thursday in Parliament, and watching Tony Abbott dither and jump all over the place on the 7:30 Report tonight – admitting that what he had previously said was not true about him saying the Libs were on the verge of a famous victory was actually true – I am now feeling pretty sure the ALP will win. And win well.
She has got the mining companies to stop their adverts. She has got them to come out and say she is someone they can do business with (well not Clive Palmer, but he’s a joke so that’s irrelevant).
She sounds so calm and collected. She sounds so real. She has outlined her tasks – the mining tax, asylum seekers, and climate change. But unlike Rudd she has not stated what her goals are – ie what will determine success or failure – just that she wants to work on these three things. She wants to negotiate with the miners and bring in a profits based tax – but the rate and everything else is up for review, so she is not putting herself in to a position of “backing down” on anything, because she has not said what things are set in stone and cannot be changed.
That’s smart operating.
I have long been a Julia fan ( a huge fan) – as readers will know she is the only one of whom I’ve ever transcribed whole answers from Question Time. I didn’t think the polls showed any need to change leaders, but if the internal polls are for real, then they really had no choice, and the ALP should just be thankful that in changing leaders they really are upgrading.
No disrespect to Kevin Rudd – he did some excellent things, and he outplayed Howard, Costello, Nelson and Turnbull (pretty bloody amazing that) – but Julia is a once in a generation figure. He is a one slam wonder; Julia is Steffi Graf.
So I’m jumping on the Julia bandwagon (well I’ve been on it for a while, but you know what I mean) and will declare this far out that the ALP will win with an increased margin. William Bowe at Poll Bludger thinks the same, and I have to say I agree with him all the way. He was onto the Rudd slide pretty quick – countering a lot of the arguments of those on his blog (me included) who thought Rudd was doing ok.
Rudd’s defeat proves once again that great polling maxim that when your net satisfaction rating goes negative, you’re buggered. Abbott is in the negative zone, and has been for ages. Will the Libs move to dump him? I have often said that were this any other year, the polling numbers would have been putting more pressure on Abbott than on Rudd because with the way Rudd had dived in the polls, the Liberal Party should have been way out in front – instead all those disaffected ALP voters went to the Greens. The hope of the Rudd camp was that they would come back via preferences. The Gillard camp thinks she’ll get them back as primary votes.
I now agree.
It quotes her line about how she grew up in “the great state of South Australia”.
Just wait till she goes back to the Adelaide – no doubt she’ll stop by Unley High. I think Chris Pyne will be very worried. Very worried.
Last week I was spending a few night lying in bed thinking about what the hell was I going to do if Abbott won.
It is such a stupid thought. I mean Tony Abbott!!! – a nothing Minister, hated by everyone. A guy who consistency ran 5th in most favoured Liberal leader polls. How the hell could he become PM?
I consoled myself that it couldn’t happen, that people even thought they hated Rudd (and more than 50% were unsatisfied with him) they hated, or distrusted, Abbott more. I was prepared to wear a narrow win.
But now I’m not thinking narrow win. Everything that was wrong last week is not wrong now. The ETS back down – sure Julia was there, but it was Rudd who said “greatest moral issue of our time”. The miners and their $100m ad campaign? Gone – and how pissed off must Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party be about that – it is akin to the union movement in 2007 saying they’d drop their anti Work Choices adverts and negotiate with John Howard.
What the Liberal Party found out is the big business is not to the Liberal Party like the unions are to the ALP. The unions are the ALP; big business is big business. They use the Liberal Party if it is in their interests, but at the end of the day they don’t have membership of the Liberal Party. So suddenly the Liberal Party has to recalculate its advertising budget, because the miners aren't doing their work for them.
Yes the Libs will try to tar Julia with the Rudd brush, but it won’t work, because the voters are not anti-ALP – the Government remains in the lead (the latest Morgan Poll taken before the spill has the ALP up 53-47). And while that is good, the reality is after leading Australia through the world recession in the way it did – let’s face it were the World Cup be fought on economies and not soccer, we would be World Champions at the moment – the ALP should actually be more in front. They should bolt in this election. And when Rudd was riding high, they were going to. But when he stuffed up. When Rudd made the mistakes, things went bad.
People who wanted to vote for the ALP were not going to because of one reason – Kevin Rudd.
Me, I was going to always vote ALP, and was content to think the ALP would get over the line because ever first term Government usually loses some seats. But in 1984 Hawke should have increased his majority but had a horrible campaign and Peacock was brilliant. And in 1998 Howard had to contend with One Nation referencing away from sitting members. All the ALP in 2010 had to beat was Abbott – why on earth would they lose votes?? And yet they were going to.
Many will say Abbott did well to beat Rudd, and I guess we have to give him some credit, but to be honest I think all of Rudd’s wounds were self inflicted. He was the one who admitted defeat on the insulation program, he was the one who hyped up the health and hospitals reform only to come up one state short and yet still say it was a win, he was the one who dropped the ETS on the quiet, and failed to show any sense that this was a big decision.
He was the one who despite showing a great ability to make good speeches kept talking in his sludge of buzz words and focus grouped sound bites.
I wrote yesterday that he wasn't as good a PM as was his Government.
This Government deserves to win and win well – especially if the Liberal Party is so contemptuous of the electorate as to have Tony Abbott as leader. Yes Rudd deserves credit for being PM of a Government that deserves to win well, but if he was unable to deliver that victory – and there was even suggestions that he might even lead them to a loss – why then they had to act.
Especially because they have put in someone better.
There’s a way to go – hell the Libs might even dump Abbott and put in Hockey – but I’ll put my money on Julia (and Hockey won’t change that). It may even take a week or two – people will feel a bit sorry for Kev and they may want to see Julia a bit before they change their vote. But the more they see of her, the more they will like her.
Back in 2006 I thought she was a handicap for the ALP, but through 2007 the more closely I watched QT, the more I realised she was a gun, and during the 2007 election she was actually better than Rudd. By election night, Kev might have been PM, but she was the favourite of the true believers.
After 11 years of Howard the voters may have needed a Howard-lite to help them vote for the ALP, but once they did, they remembered the reason they vote in ALP Governments is because they are different to Liberal Governments. I think once the put Rudd in power, they wanted a true believer. They thought Rudd was for two years (certainly was with the apology and the way he responded to the GFC – that was true ALP work), but post the ETS dumping they knew that is was a sham. He was Howard-lite – perhaps “Howard-less”. They didn’t want Howard – they kicked him out, they still wanted the true believer. And they were bloody annoyed – annoyed that he was making them even think about voting for Tony Abbott (and if that wouldn’t make you feel annoyed then I don’t know what would)
In Julia they have the person they want.
I’m locking in an increased majority.
I now wait for the polls, because, yes, nobody knows anything, but my gut tells me now that this was the smart play.
*fans of The Beatles will recognise the title of this piece is from their song on The White Album called (what else) “Julia”