The stand off between Gillard and Rudd has been coming to a head in the last few weeks. Yesterday Rudd made his move with his surprise announcement from Washington of his resignation as Foreign Minister because as he stated
" The truth is I can only serve as Foreign Minister if I have the confidence of Prime Minister Gillard and her senior ministers. In
recent days, Minister Crean and a number of other faceless men have
publicly attacked my integrity and therefore my fitness to serve as a
minister in the government. When challenged today on these
attacks, Prime Minister Gillard chose not to repudiate them. I can only
reluctantly conclude that she therefore shares these views. The simple truth is that I cannot continue to serve as Foreign Minister if I do not have Prime Minister Gillard's support."
Then another annoucement this morning from Washington shortly before boarding a flight back to Australia Rudd sounded like he was on an election campaign . He indicated that he would contest the leadership but would not make an annoucement about this until he was back in Australia. He spoke of attacks on him yesterday by Wayne Swan and others and asked his supporters not to retaliate and act in the same way as he felt it was unaustralian. Rudd outlined his achievements while he was Prime Minister and he asked Australians to contact their local members and representative and tell them who they wanted for Prime Minister (seen as bold and unusual move by commentators later). Also to his caucus colleages "There is one overriding question to my caucus collegues who is best placed to defeat Tony Abbot at the next election". (Food for thought!).
Julia Gillard media announcement this morning from Adelaide.
She stated I have decided at 10 am Monday morning to call a ballot for the leadership. Gillard said we need a leadership ballot to settle this once and for all. For all to long we have seen squabbling within the party. That this has moved to a distraction and Australians are rightly sick of this and they want it brought to an end so that Labor can proceed with unity and determination. She stated "But let me be very clear about this if I lose" she would go to the backbench and make no further leadership claims and act in the benefit of the party and nation and she said she would invite Kevin Rudd to the ballot and ask him to give the same undertaking. She spoke of how before she took over from Rudd in 2010 how she tried to hold the Rudd governemnt together to end the paralisys.
Laurie Oakes, Political Journalist when asked by Carl Stefanovic on the Today show this morning who
would win the ballot on Monday said he thought that Julia Gillard would
as it was clear that Kevin Rudd did not have the numbers but now it is
out in the open he can campaign. Laurie said he was "not sure he will
accept Julia Gillard's timing for Monday it's got a few problems with it
apart from the fact that it is to advantage her so no one has a chance
to campaign. It also means that if Kevin Rudd did happen to win the
ballot on Monday morning parliament sits in the afternoon". Therefore
not giving Kevin Rudd time to negotiate with anyone and the possibility
of a no confidence motion. Peter Beattie has ruled out Friday but as
there is no parliament sitting that day would be a better day to give
the winner of the ballot a chance to do what has to be done. Laurie
spoke of a comment to him recently from a member of the Liberal Party" if
we don't win this election they will have to do a boat people in
I can imagine the scurrying around the corridors and the phone calls and meetings behind closed doors in the lead up to the ballot which may or may not be on Monday. In the meantime Kevin Rudd has tweeted @KRuddMP
"Heading back home to Brissie. Not exactly the visit I had planned to Washington! A big thank you for all the support. KRudd"
"My resignation speech is here http://www.kevinruddmp.com/2012/02/statement-of-resignation-as-foreign.html - thanks to everyone in the twitterverse for your kind words. Much appreciated. KRudd"
Who will win who's campaign will reign supreme!!