Three years ago on the night when Julia Gillard challenged Kevin Rudd I wrote:
On the QT: The ALP: How to completely screw it up
… But its all irrelevant, because this evening it was reported that moves were underway to oust Kevin Rudd as PM and replace him with Julia Gillard. The word is that the Victoria and SA rightwing factions are behind the move…
But that doesn’t matter, the story has taken hold, and Julia might as well take over now – what the hell, due to this, the election is pretty much gone now anyway, she might as well have 5 months as PM.
And those people behind it in the ALP should be taken out back and gently slapped around the head with a 4x2 plank of wood. And I volunteer to be the one wielding the first slap.
What idiots. What utter brainless, dullards. The latest Newspoll shows the ALP up 52-48. As Possum pointed out, of the 24 polls since the start of May only 3 have had the ALP behind. No Government has lost an election when holding such a position this close to an election. There is no desire in the electorate to make Abbott the PM, and even with the decline in the ALP vote, very little of that has resulted in an increase in Liberal Party vote - in fact Rudd still leads as preferred PM! (so Rudd is doing better now than Howard did against Latham in 2004!!)
But I also wrote:
Within a couple days I changed my view on the stuffing up aspect. I placed rather far too much store in dodgy “internal polling” which was likely something pulled out of someone’s bum and printed up as though it was real. Perhaps it was the South Australian parochialism (as shown by the front page of The Advertiser) that changed my view.
But it was mostly that I was a fan of Julia Gillard as Deputy PM.
I remained confident of Gillard doing well in the election until Day 7 when she gave her speech on climate change, in which she put forward the idea of a “citizen’s assembly”.
On that day I wrote:
Do you know how bad this policy is Julia? It is so bad that Nick Minchin is criticising you for delaying action. Nick fucking Minchin. Nick Minchin: a person whose imbecility on this subject is almost without compare. A guy who seriously thinks climate change is a left wing conspiracy! Just think how bat-shit dumb you have to be to think that! And yet he is attacking you for delaying! He is saying the Liberal Party are the ones who will be doing direct action now!
But for mine Julia, this was your worst day, and you’ll get my vote because the Libs are putrid and Abbott as PM would be a national embarrassment.
But geez. Lift your game. Stop worrying about wining the election and go out and win the people.
And in the end that is something she was never able to do. She never won the people.
I remained a fan, but one who died a little with each shite policy position. Sometimes the policy framework was OK, but the delivery was awful. Take asylum seekers. I truly believe a regional framework is the best way to go, but the Malaysia setup was poorly done, failing to tick off the basics – like how would they be treated – until after the issues had been raised.
I wrote today in The Drum that “whenever a government dies the policy failures that they do live after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.” And the same goes for a PM. For a while at least.
Many of those on the progressive side while focus on asylums seekers and the single parents onto Newstart policy, and maybe the recent attempt to cut higher education.
They’ll downplay that she put a price on carbon (anyone apparently can do that if you’re forced to); they’ll ignore the NDIS (that’s a bipartisan thing ain’t it); they’ll dismiss the school funding (oh it’s really a right-wing type policy). They’ll remember that she played the gender card and like the worthless hypocrites they are they will say she demeaned the office of Prime Minister by posing for the Women’s Weekly.
I despaired at some of her policies, and many things she didn’t do I hated that she didn’t do them. But I’ll pause now while you go off and find that government which you liked everything that it did.
Heck, I’m old enough to remember ALP types who hated Hawke and Keating for destroying the ALP. I also remember many left-wing friends telling how much they couldn’t stand Rudd (and this was about 5 months into 2008).
I admired the amazing resilience she has. The crap she had to put up with for the past 2-3 years would have rendered me a small crumpled shivering figure. No one will ever say she was weak. Christ she stared down so many pathetic little pissants in a number of amazing press conferences. Question after question she would take; never shirking, never running off.
Watch her final speech.
It’s not a one off, she had many press conferences like this, so don’t say “if only…” she did and after each one the media would write “if only…”. And then they carried on.
Geez, if she did press conferences like Abbott did, the press would crucify her… oh right they did anyway.
And she was great at getting deals done. The problem perhaps is that in getting the deal done she often came up with a policy that was not worth the deal – such as the mining tax.
But all of that doesn’t matter now, the reality is Gillard never won the people. You can say it was because of the media, and I sure as heck think there were those in the media who really hated her – you only have to look at the front page of the Daily Telegraph on Monday to see it. But good leaders can speak to the people and render the media less potent (if not entirely).
But the voters hated her. Sure some men hated her because she was a women – if you want to pretend that was not an issue, enjoy your fantasy world – some people hated her because they think she lied to them, others hated her because they thought she was mean to Rudd. But when it gets down to winning an election it really doesn’t matter why they did, they just did.
You can’t go to an election with a leader who has a 62% of the voters disapproving of the way she is doing the job. That’s just asking to be slaughtered. The way it was looking, there was not going to be an ALP MP other than Rudd north of Sydney Harbour. Think on that
Now there is one party with a leader with a net dissatisfaction rating – and that is the Liberal Party. No other opposition leader in history has lasted so long with such poor personal polling. Abbott was able to because people hated Gillard more.
The was no way for the ALP to focus the electorates’ minds on Abbott; now they can.
You can say that Rudd’s forces helped that happen, and you’d be right. I am on the record as not being a fan of Rudd, but I also never understood Howard’s ongoing popularity with the voters. Both Howard and Rudd were not politicians for political tragics but for those who largely hate politics.
Will this result in a win for the ALP? I’ve been wrong so often in the past that I won’t bother with any predictions their that it was obvious the ALP would have been routed under Gillard; now at the very least there is a chance that won’t happen.
Tony Abbott’s press conference tonight looked pretty tired and old. Boats, carbon tax… blah blah.
I also don’t think most voters will give a stuff about Swan, Conroy, Emerson, Ludwig etc resigning. Most people might know who the treasurer is but beyond that have little idea and less care.
I also think the Liberal Party adverts showing ALP ministers criticising Rudd won’t be as effective as they hope, mostly because the voters don’t agree with them – much like ALP adverts targeting Howard never really worked.
But we’ll see. At least now things seem up for grabs rather than being a pretty predictable path towards an iceberg.
And just to show how parochial is politics here’s the font page of the Courier Mail: