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Australia: Dramatic Fall of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd

Former Prime Minister Kevin RuddIt was swift and secret. Kevin Rudd has been replaced as Prime Minister of Australia by his deputy Julia Gillard. She is the nation’s first female PM. News of the challenge broke on Wednesday night and Rudd stepped aside the following morning. You can find some background to the dramatic decline in Kevin’s popularity and his fall on my blog.

This post looks at other bloggers’ reactions to what has been called a political assassination and worse by some commentators. These are the voices of people who rarely post about politics or are not part of the regular commentariat.

Rorybaust in his ‘ramblings of a bemused individual’ was no fan of the PM but was bitter about the way he was deposed:

I felt for Kevin Rudd simply because he had been betrayed so publicly, so humiliated that no man deserves, not a man whose soul aim was to serve his, mine and your country. Kevin Rudd may had failed as a leader and maybe he should have stepped down but the actions to remove him are so devoid of respect for our most important job that I doubt the integrity of people that orchestrated this.

Like many others, he did not turn against the new leader but kept an open mind:

Julia Gillard may prove to be a good leader of our country, she may prove to be a successful Prime Minister in her own right, I just think this is an ugly stain on her tapestry.
what if the act of throwing out the rubbish, leaves sourer taste

Bill Kerr, at his self-titled blog, blamed the Australian Labor Party backroom bosses for Rudd’s sudden end:

There is little difference between ex PM Rudd and new PM Gillard. The main reason for the change is that the factional bosses of the Labour Party seized their chance to remove Rudd who had refused to play their game by ignoring them whilst relying on his direct electoral popularity (which faded once he renounced his climate change scheme).
australian democracy

Like the devout ex-PM, Cath Swan at New Day, is an avowed Christian. She expressed empathy for his extraordinary removal:

For many reasons the shining glow of Kevin Rudd's climb to glory in 2007 dulled significantly in 2010. The many supporters and political allies’ very quickly turned to administer the final blows to Kevin's demise. Relieved of duty by a woman must to any red-blooded, testosterone charged male be a humbling hit.

It seems unfair, wrong and utterly humiliating for him.
The coup that was!!

As the title of his post indicates, Bushfire Bill at the Political Sword seemed torn between support for Gillard and admiration for Rudd’s contribution:

Well, after a good night's sleep and a bit of a think, count me in on the Julia side.

It seems Rudd isolated himself, and treated the caucus and the cabinet with seeming indifference.

Why this is so, I don't know.

Could this have been his personal nature?

After a lengthy analysis of Rudd’s strengths and weaknesses, he concluded:

His mistake was to hold on too tightly and too long. I for one can forgive him easily and say to him, with love, “Kevin, job well done”. It is up to him now to forgive us.
thank you kevin

Peter at Holties House, ‘All About Australia. The Land I Love’, summed up what he saw as Rudd’s achievements:

Just 31 months into his term as PM “Kevin 07” crashed from a popularity rating of 70% to a shattering 37%, even so his short term as PM has some memorable moments, he was the PM who apologized to the indigenous population for the stolen generations, he steered us through the World Financial Crisis without the nation slipping into recession, and he battled honorably for an Emissions Trading Scheme to help with the Climate Control problems.
A new Prime Minister

Same Same is Australia's #1 gay and lesbian lifestyle website.’ They asked a range of lesbians and gays to comment on the change of leadership.

Michael Rolik believed that:

The Rudd Government began the process of delivering major reforms for gay and lesbian equality throughout their first term. We look forward to a Gillard Government continuing that process.

Tim Wilson was not so sure:

The Rudd government was big on symbolism, but not on delivery. Gillard has to break that dynamic and stand up for what is right and then deliver on it.

Our hopes for Julia Gillard

M. ‘Lorenzo’ Warby, at Thinking Out Aloud, blogs mostly abut books and films not politics. The unprecedented events stirred his cyber pen:

Now, as it happens, Julia periodically says things I agree with while I just found Kevin irritating, but that is not the point. The problem with Kevin Rudd as PM was simple: he is a domineering control freak and you cannot be a successful PM of a modern democracy if you are a domineering control freak. You have to be able to listen, to consider because modern societies are just too complex for a single individual or narrow clique to understand the ramifications of actions and policies. In particular, you have to be able to listen and consider if you are going to be at all persuasive.
The polls must have been diabolical: the Pointy-haired Boss is no longer PM

Dr Marko Beljac's Vile Maxim, ‘Ranting and Ravings Against Neoliberalism’ saw the Prime Minister’s defeat as a victory for the mining interests who opposed his Resource Super Profits Tax proposal:

The mining industry decided that it would destroy Rudd and destroy him they did. The change over has been fulsomely praised by all of Australia’s peak business bodies. The ascent of Julia Gillard comes with the promise that they will be “consulted” better, as if they have not hitherto been consulted enough already.
A Delusion of Grandeur: Kevin Rudd in Politics

Alexis Ituarte, a final-year High School student, blogs at Lex-icology. He echoed what many others felt when they saw Kevin Rudd’s emotional speech after his downfall:

I’m not sure where I stand in the land of politics or what I think of Rudd (or Gillard for that matter) but the most important thing that I took out of today was that Kevin is a person like the rest of us, with a conscience, with passion, and perhaps sometimes well-meaning.
Kevin Rudd – a human?

Rhiannon Hart usually writes about ‘young adult books and writing, fantasy, dystopia, paranormal’. She was one of many who were excited about having the first woman in the job:

In Australia we are all still reeling from the news that K-Rudd (Prime Minister Kevin Rudd) was booted/stepped aside from the prime ministership yesterday morning (depending how you look at it), and into the helm stepped Julia Gillard … who is a woman! Our very first female PM, in fact.

There's a lot of grumbling going on, but also a lot of celebrating. I for one think it's absolutely fantabulous that after a long history of Old White Men PMs we have a woman (and a ranga!) bringing a bit of diversity to the portraits that hang in Parliament House.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard: Something to celebrate

Finally Patricia who writes poems at POLYPOMES left this as part of a comment on one of my posts:

I often write political ‘pomes’ tongue in cheek. I suspect what I wrote this time is hand on heart:

Mutatis Mutandis

We held our leader in high regard,
Watched helpless as he was daily mauled
By media and an opposition fighting hard
And dirty, with no holds barred.
And finally when he lay bleeding,
Victim of press gallery canard,
Yes, we killed him because we knew
He was near dead, so battle scarred
And bruised he could never rise again.
So much was his reputation marred
Our cause, also dear to him, looked lost.
No choice but for the old praetorian guard
To take control and end a tragic farce.
This was no assassination.
It was an end to suffering; a ‘coup de grace’.

The first opinion poll after the ‘coup’ has shown a bounce for the government. My next post will look at the blogosphere’s response to Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s first week in the hot seat.

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