Joseph Del Duca argues that even if Julia Gillard wins Monday's vote, it is inevitable that the next election will be a contest between Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd:
The world’s worst kept secret is no longer a secret. The Federal Labor Party is a divided Party. A party that once thrived on their union slogans such as ‘Solidarity Forever’ and ‘United We Stand, Divided We Fall’ have indeed divided. As the slogan suggests, they will fall.
No matter how much Prime Minister Gillard tries to convince us that having a leadership ballot will bring Labor’s troubles to an end, it is clear it will not. The issue of the Labor leadership cannot and will not be resolved until Julia Gillard is Prime Minister - no longer it is no longer a question of if she is done as Prime Minister, but when she will realise it.
The attacks we have seen made by senior members of the Gillard Cabinet this week are unprecedented to say the least. We have seen Wayne Swan leave us in no uncertain terms that the hatred that he held for Kevin Rudd whilst attending school together many years ago has not gone. Simon Crean has gotten behind any microphone that will have him to speak about the damage Rudd has done to the party, and he has been joined in a chorus of Rudd bashing by the likes of Tony Burke and Nicola Roxon. All of these people are front bench ministers and all of them have put their hatred of one man before the unity of their party.
On the other side of the Labor Party we have those who support Kevin Rudd, those such as Doug Cameron, Kim Carr and Darren Cheeseman who have made very clear that Labor has no hope of winning an election whilst Gillard remains Prime Minister.
The Labor Party divide is out in the open for all to see, even those who normally would pay no notice to politics are aware of the Labor soap opera. Gillard has called a ballot to try and put this drama to bed. This move is simply too little too late.
Let’s look at the likely scenarios for Monday’s ballot: it seems clear at the moment that Rudd will not win this ballot. It is still largely debatable whether he would be wise to put his name down for it. Most ‘experts’ put Rudd’s numbers to be somewhere between 30-40 people, well short of the magical 53 required for a majority in the 103 member Labor Caucus. So if he loses what happens? Gillard has made it clear that she expects the whole party to unite behind the leader whoever it is.
Does this seem likely or even possible? Is the outcome of a vote going to suddenly change Doug Cameron’s mind? Is he going to miraculously fall 100% behind Julia Gillard less than a week after he said that Labor could not win an election under her? Beliefs don’t work like that unfortunately. The increasing majority of Labor Party members who believe that Gillard’s leadership is toxic will not waiver from this position due to the outcome of a ballot. Just ask the millions of people who voted for the Coalition at the 2010 election. I assure you they have not changed their view on Julia Gillard because of her (technical) election win.
The reality is that the people who feel that Julia Gillard is too incompetent to be our leader this week will still fill the same next week. Those that feel the party could perform better under Kevin Rudd will have their opinions consolidated by each and every horrific poll that comes in for Labor under Gillard’s future tenure.
The important number in next week’s ballot is not the number of people who vote in support of Julia Gillard. The important numbers are those that vote against her. These are the people who in a party of ‘Solidarity Forever’ despise Prime Minister Gillard so much that they would rather break ranks with the rest of their party in a bid to get rid of somebody they see as a complete failure than present a unified front.
From now on the Prime Minister will know that there are a percentage of people sitting behind her who want to see her fail so badly they don’t care who knows about it. It is simply not possible for a Prime Minister to govern in this way. Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott both know this and they will quietly watch Gillard writhe and struggle under the realisation that she is finished until she is ready to accept that she is through, and that the next election will be a contest between Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd.
Joseph Del Duca is a Mortgage Broker based in Sydney’s Inner West. He has previously worked as a Media and Communications Advisor to Federal Members of Parliament. Joseph’s two major interests are finance and politics. He enjoys all sports along with any other realm of life where two humans are competing against each other. He has a particular love of rugby league but is not sure how many more seasons of pain he can endure as a Rabbitohs supporter.