Rudd replaces first Aussie woman Prime Minister and open atheist. Boo!

Rudd replaces first Aussie woman Prime Minister and open atheist. Boo! June 26, 2013

The Australian Labor Party have ousted their PM ahead of the elections which they will probably lose. This upsets me. I have always admired Gillard. Forthright and a good leader, in my books. And an atheist, too.

When interviewed in 2010, she said:

“I think it would be inconceivable, if I were an American, for me to have turned up at the highest echelon of American politics being an atheist, single, and childless.”

The BBC:


Kevin Rudd has ousted Prime Minister Julia Gillard as leader of Australia’s Labor Party.

He won by 57 votes to 45, in a leadership ballot of Labor lawmakers.

The change comes ahead of a general election due in September, which polls suggest Labor is set to lose.

This is the latest twist in a long and bitter rivalry between the two politicians – but it could be the last as Ms Gillard has said she will now leave politics.

“I will not re-contest the federal electorate… at the forthcoming election,” said Ms Gillard, Australia’s first female prime minister.

“What I am absolutely confident of is it will be easier for the next woman and the woman after that and the woman after that, and I’m proud of that,” she added.

Wednesday’s leadership vote makes Mr Rudd the leader of the Labor Party, but not yet prime minister.

Ms Gillard must first write to Governor General Quentin Bryce stating that she is resigning before Mr Rudd can be sworn in.

Despite their bitter rivalry, Mr Rudd praised his predecessor, describing her as a woman of extraordinary intelligence, with great strength and energy.

“Julia, as prime minister and prior to that as deputy prime minister, has achieved much under the difficult circumstances of a minority government,” he told a news conference after his victory.

Mr Rudd is more popular with voters than Ms Gillard, and many believe Labor will perform better in the election under him.

Meanwhile, opposition leader Tony Abbott called on Mr Rudd to name an election date, arguing that it should be sooner than 14 September – the date set by Ms Gillard.

“The Australian people are yearning to make a choice. The Australian people are well and truly over this low and dishonourable parliament,” he told a news conference.

Limiting losses?

Wednesday’s leadership test was the third faced by Ms Gillard since she took office in 2010. She herself ousted Mr Rudd as prime minister in 2010.

The BBC’s Nick Bryant in Sydney says Mr Rudd has exacted his revenge, after three years of him and his supporters mounting a destabilisation campaign targeted very much at her.

Julia Gillard thanked Australians for their support

The ballot followed months of speculation over the party’s leadership, and came after a day of drama that saw Mr Rudd’s supporters push for a vote.

Shortly before the vote, a key power-broker, Bill Shorten, switched his support to Mr Rudd, saying Labor stood a better chance in the polls with him.

Many people do not think Mr Rudd will win the election but he may mitigate the losses and shorten the time Labor could spend in opposition if the party loses, our correspondent says.

A poll published earlier this month suggested that three cabinet ministers would lose their seats at the poll under Ms Gillard’s leadership, but would retain their seats if Mr Rudd was leading the party.

A shake-up in the cabinet is expected following the leadership change.

Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan has already quit because of Mr Rudd’s victory. He has been replaced by Rudd ally and transport minister Anthony Albanese.




Nick Bryant,

BBC News, Sydney

Kevin Rudd has exacted revenge on Julia Gillard, his one-time friend and deputy who ruthlessly deposed him in 2010. Ever since he was removed from the prime minister’s office, he has sought to destabilise her leadership. This has been a very personal feud.

For Ms Gillard, it’s a dramatic reversal. Three months ago, when she last called a leadership election, her rival could not muster enough support to mount a credible challenge.

In the meantime, the Labor government has slipped even further in the polls. Labor is not only one of the most brutal political parties in the world, but also one of the most calculating and pragmatic.

Its parliamentarians might not necessarily believe they can win the forthcoming election against the conservative opposition. Many already believe that’s a lost cause. But many calculate Mr Rudd will at least prevent an electoral wipe-out, and maybe help save their own seats.

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  • jakcharlton

    Fundamentally, despite being an atheist, and a woman, she was just a plain terrible PM. And very off putting as a human being.

    As an atheist myself, and resident of Australia, an adamant anti-theist, and a natural Labour party supporter … Rudd has far more chance of keeping the loon Abbot out … and Rudd also suports rational positions over religious dogma (luckily considering he is a Christian)

    • Michael R

      Agree. Gillard was a terrible PM and deserved to go. No PM in recent memory has been so widely despised, and deservedly so. Her policies were terrible. As an atheist, she was a horrible example. But I would place Rudd in the ‘loon’ category far more than Abbott. Rudd is a transnational progressive in the extreme i.e. he wants to dissolve Australia into some anarchistic EU-style open-borders dystopia (the Asia-Pacific Union). The guy is a transnational ideological lunatic. Bottom line: I couldn’t care less whether my PM is atheist or religious, I care far more about their polices. Abbott, brain damaged as he is from boxing, and prone to religious conservatism is the lesser of all the evils.

      • I understand she is not the most popular in some circles but:

        She has presided over possibly the most successful economy in the world during the worst economic downturn in living memory.

        She has introduced some ballsy environmental policies (the carbon tax apparently has more supporters than detractors).

        This article is balanced, but here are the good bits:

        “Departing backbencher Sharon Grierson noted recently that no one apart from Gillard could have propelled Labor through this period of stubborn policy achievement – through a carbon price, through tax reform, through education reform, through the beginnings of a national disability insurance scheme. No one apart from Gillard had the work ethic, the courage, the resilience, the attention to detail, the ruthless self-belief to shrug off all the naysaying in the single-minded belief that there was a job to do, and every day you are in government is better than every day you are in opposition.

        It is absolutely true, as is the discomfiting reality that Gillard faced gratuitous attacks that were entirely gender-based. Over and over, we saw confirmation that there was a proportion of people in Australia who struggled with Gillard as a public manifestation of feminist progress. This pushback against the prime minister was, at times, extraordinary – and for a woman of my generation, depressing.

        Julia Gillard is incredibly brave, astoundingly resilient, one of the toughest people we have seen in The Lodge. Through all the difficulties of her prime ministership she was stoic, dignified, composed, resilient. She departed in that style on Wednesday night. Shoulders back. Head high. In the circumstances – the provocation, the consistent undermining by colleagues, the terrible erosion of her authority executed by her enemies within Labor, Kevin Rudd’s slow terrible revenge – she exited with class.

        There was no self pity. She was confident it would be easier for the next woman, and the one after that. She had done her best. She had achieved difficult things in tough times. She had blazed a trail.”

        • I appreciate your comments, guys and admit I am probably harbouring confirmation bias etc.

          • Michael R

            Gillard betrayed democracy right from the start. She broke an explicit election promise about “there will be no carbon tax under a government I lead” in order to form a coalition government. That sound bite was played endlessly throughout her term as PM. She lost trust on day-one and was thereafter seen as an illegitimate leader. We expect to be lied to occasionally by politicians but not so brazenly. The woman has no morals.

            Our banking system was largely unscathed by the financial crisis, and our mining boom means that we have a labour shortage – so we were never going to have a recession. Gillard’s party overspent on an unnecessary and wasteful stimulus, and now the debt and deficit has ballooned way out of control. Her party took a sound economy and spent like drunken sailors. It will take years to re-balance the books and repay the billions. And they are still wasting billions because of soft border-security policies enticing hoards of refugees here.

            The carbon tax is much ado about nothing. It will just send manufacturing overseas where they have no tax. And people won’t change their electricity consumption much.

            If you want to talk about the environment, her party (all Australian parties actually) are drilling for coal seam gas on prime agricultural land. And they’re selling farms off to China. And free trade is killing our manufacturing industry. And competition policy is bleeding the little producers dry. I could go on and on … She was a terrible PM.

            Her brazen broken election promise was the biggest reason for her downfall. Trust was destroyed between her and the voters. And that’s a shameful immoral act, and a terrible example for atheism. You have no idea how much the public despise her. They really do.

          • Harsh words indeed! i am well aware of Australia’s lack of environmental credentials for a developed nation….