The current situation is so fluid that it changes by the hour. Kevin Rudd has arrived back in Australia, and is already holding his second press conference since arriving from the U.S. barely hours ago. Current knowledge says he does not have the numbers, but you can bet that the phones are being hammered unmercifully as both sides seek to shore up their positions…..TonyfromOz.
Julia Gillard is winning:
About 20 of the 30 ministers, including 18 yesterday, have declared their support for Ms Gillard. Only four have declared for Mr Rudd.
One who has stayed silent is the Minister for Transport, Anthony Albanese.
A despondent Mr Albanese planned to hold a ballot last night among his branch members to help him decide which candidate to back on Monday.
That’s leadership from Albo.
Anything close to 40 votes for Rudd guarantees future trouble for Gillard:
… the latest number-crunching suggested Ms Gillard was on target to win any ballot, counting on as many as 65 votes to Mr Rudd’s 31, with seven MPs undecided.
Some history – the first of Paul Keating’s ultimately successful two challengs against Bob Hawke::
Keating lost the first challenge by 22 votes – 44 votes to 66 – but the margin was close enough to convince his principal backer, Graham Richardson, that he had ‘’another shot in the locker’’.
Britain’s Independent gives us a prize:
Gillard’s ministers tell their colleagues that a government led by Rudd is a government not worth serving:
TWENTY ministers have now publicly declared for Julia Gillard, at least 10 of them criticising the former prime minister in terms that would make it difficult or impossible to serve under Kevin Rudd again.
The extraordinary public attacks appeared designed to influence both the backbench and the public’s view of the former Labor leader, and raise the prospect of almost half the cabinet and a third of the full ministry resigning if Kevin Rudd were elected leader.
Take Nicola Roxon:
What a wonderful incentive for ambitious backbenchers, says Samuel J, a little hopefully:
In other words, a vote for Rudd would lead to a mass exodus from the ministry… A Rudd victory is a great opportunity for those presently on the backbench or who are parliamentary secretaries and junior ministers. What ambitious backbencher wouldn’t want to take that opportunity? They already blame many of those mentioned for the circumstance in which Labor finds itself.
So Team Gillard has made a major strategic mistake and will help swing many votes towards Rudd – expect a Rudd victory next week.
Rudd’s response is not convincing, but the best he can do:
Not a single cabinet minister would be sacked if Labor leadership challenger Kevin Rudd wins his old job back.
The extraordinary peace proposal, in the face of an increasingly bitter and vitriolic contest, will even be extended as far as Treasurer Wayne Swan and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, both of whom have been particularly scathing of Mr Rudd in the past few days.
How I’d love to see Prime Minister Rudd with his loyal Treasurer, Wayne Swan.
There is little doubt in the public’s mind that Gillard and her backers are now reaping what they sowed when they got rid of Rudd. It was always going to come to this. And few people would bat an eyelid if she went out the same way she came in.
HOLT MP Anthony Byrne has declared his support for former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd should Mr Rudd stand for Monday’s ALP leadership ballot.
Mark Latham doubts Rudd has the ticker to actually stand on Monday, but he is sure he’ll never succeed:
The former foreign minister is following a pattern… The Rudd methodology is to draw media attention to himself, talking non-stop about himself while, on a background basis, giving gullible journalists an inflated assessment of his caucus numbers. In 2003 and 2005 Rudd dropped out of Labor leadership ballots at the last moment, having garnered no more than a dozen votes. In 2010, as a sitting prime minister, he endured the humiliation of not contesting the ballot brought on by Julia Gillard. Reports at the time indicated support of less than 25 votes.
We are now witnessing Rudd’s fifth leadership bid, a record expression of ambition in the modern Labor Party. His only victory was in 2006 against Kim Beazley. In a delectable irony, Rudd’s running mate Gillard provided the bulk of support in that contest, with Kevin winning just 15 votes in his own right.
If Rudd was a racehorse his form guide would read: “Beneficiary of a rails run in 2006 but otherwise, a weak animal who disappoints at this level. In three of four runs, the barrier attendants have had trouble getting him into the starting gates.”
The starting point for Monday’s caucus meeting appears to be Gillard 68 votes, Rudd 35 – comprising 20 core supporters, plus 15 MPs disillusioned with the PM’s performance.
Andrew Bolt’s columns appear in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and Adelaide’s Advertiser. He runs the most-read political blog in Australia and hosts Channel 10’s The Bolt Report each Sunday at 10am. He is also heard from Monday to Friday at 8am on the breakfast show of radio station MTR 1377, and his book Still Not Sorry remains very widely read.