Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Backdated - Labor Leadership Predictions, 2012

Rudd resigned. Gillard called a leadership vote to quickly for Rudd to build up his support.

Gillard wins vote, Abbott wins next election, Labor wins following election after disastrous Liberal policies with neither Rudd or Gillard as leader (Swan? Emerson? [Editor: Shorten?])

EXCEPT rumours suggest Rudd wanted a leadership vote in mid-March. That's only a few weeks away, so perhaps Rudd still has an ace up his sleeve. I'm pretty sure Gillard played her last card by calling the vote for Monday, which is why Labor has come out all guns blazing (Swan, Combet, Emerson, Crean and Cameron) without Gillard actually appearing on the front line (or Lateline).

Rudd said it would come down to who was best suited to lead the party to the next election, so his trump will be something that boosts his public support or (more probably) ruins Gillard's. If he can still play it, expect it by Saturday evening to make the Sunday papers but not much earlier than Saturday afternoon - too late for Gillard to mount a proper response.

Of course, there is the possibility that Rudd cannot play his ace any more if, for example, it depended on an unavoidable, disastrous move by Gillard in early March. This may mean a renewed Rudd challenge in a month or so, and the party-shredding "two-step plan" the media keeps mentioning where Rudd loses (or fails to contest) this vote, then triumphs in the next.

Whether Rudd can beat Abbott depends on how his hypothetical victory is received, whether he has learnt his lesson about playing as part of a team, and who he places in cabinet - he needs reliable, media-savvy men and women, but has to drop the largely pro-Gillard people in office.

Alternately, there may be no ace. Perhaps Rudd is done for, but I'd expect a back-bench attack sooner or later.

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