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Kevin Rudd defeats Julia Gillard: expert reaction

Kevin Rudd has completed one the great political comebacks in Australian history by reclaiming the prime ministership from Julia Gillard in a party room vote in Canberra tonight, 57 votes to 45. Earlier…

Kevin Rudd has returned as leader of the ALP three years and three days after he was deposed by Julia Gillard. AAP/Alan Porritt

Kevin Rudd has completed one the great political comebacks in Australian history by reclaiming the prime ministership from Julia Gillard in a party room vote in Canberra tonight, 57 votes to 45.

Earlier, Victorian factional heavyweight Bill Shorten switched his allegiance from Ms Gillard, whom he supported as late as this morning, to Rudd. Rudd is now seen by many as the ALP’s only hope of avoiding an electoral wipeout in the September 14 election.

Outgoing leader Julia Gillard had said prior to the vote that she would resign from Parliament if she lost the leadership ballot.

The result may provide hope for Labor MP in marginal electorates; but first it raises critical constitutional questions over whether an early election will be called.

Expert comment follows:


Maxine McKew, Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at University of Melbourne

The return of Kevin Rudd to the Labor leadership puts some real contestability into the election campaign. Rudd at least, will make Tony Abbott sweat and that’s a good thing. Democracy demands a contest.

The last time that Rudd and Abbott went head-to-head was on the issue of health during a National Press Club debate in April 2010. Even though he was facing off against a former health minister, Rudd wiped the floor with him. Rudd’s leadership represents an immediate confidence hit for embattled government MPs.

He is an energetic and convincing campaigner, a big plus for those defending shrinking margins in electorates across the country, and he is, after all, the bloke who beat John Howard.

Rudd now has a unique opportunity - to lift the national debate above the noxious poison that has been the recent norm, and to re-connect the Labor Party with the mainstream of Australian voters. Does he have a chance? Absolutely. Can he win? If he leads with purpose and moral clarity, he may yet surprise us.


George Williams, Anthony Mason Professor, Scientia Professor, Foundation Director - Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law at UNSW

The process now is that Julia Gillard will tender her resignation to governor-general Quentin Bryce, and in doing so will advise the governor-general on who to appoint as her replacement. This is likely to be Kevin Rudd on the basis that he is likely to have the confidence of the parliament, but whether or not he has the numbers could be tested on the floor of parliament.

August 3 is the earliest possible date for Rudd to hold an election of both houses of parliament, while November 30 is the latest possible date.

If opposition leader Tony Abbott calls a no confidence motion and it is successfully passed, you would expect he would be given the chance to form government, and in turn you could see if he had the numbers. It is possible that Abbott would not pursue a no confidence motion - he might not want to become prime minister at the end of the term - but might instead push for an early election.

In these scenarios you look to what the independents as the kingmakers will do. As it is a minority government the Labor leader is not guaranteed to be prime minister, so we wait to see how the uncertainty about their positions will be resolved.


Eva Cox, Professorial Fellow Jumbunna IHL at University of Technology, Sydney

Julia Gillard lost the prime ministership not because she was a woman. She lost the prime ministership because she didn’t connect - there were a whole lot of problems and unfortunately a lot of it’s going to be tagged as a gender issue and I don’t think it was.

I think a lot of the unpleasantness was gendered but I think basically she was not connecting with people and unfortunately it sort of ended up blowing up in this particular way.

It was interesting listening to Rudd’s speech before he went in. He very clearly attacked Abbott on policy and I think that’s what somehow or rather got tangled and it didn’t work. One of the things that I am concerned about is if we do end up with a gender debate on this, that we will end up creating a sort of myth about the whole thing - because every time a man falls over we don’t claim men are incompetent.

When Barack Obama was asked whether his election meant black people had equality, he said, “no, we’ll get equality when we get a stupid black person in power”. I think it’s a bit like that. I think some of the stuff that’s gone around in the last few weeks about gender has really obscured the fact that there has been a major problem of communicating policy within the Labor party. She’s had to wear it and I think we have to blame the party and not the person.

I think Rudd’s got a clearer idea of where it might go and he might actually get some passion back into the party because what it’s been doing at the moment is sort of deadening itself down. There’s no sense of excitement about the Labor party even the fact that they’ve got two fairly good policies, that gets muted down because of all the other ones that don’t work.

I think (Rudd’s leadership) will mean that there won’t be an (electoral) rout. I’ll be very surprised if they got back in but I think at this particular stage it wouldn’t be a rout or they’ll have enough seats in the Senate so as not to give the Coalition government a good go.

Labor has got the capacity to spring back from this because I think there’s a Labor vision. One of the things that Rudd said, and I’ve heard it again and again, people felt the moment they didn’t want to vote for either major party and I think what Rudd will give people is a reason to vote Labor.


Trevor Cook, University of Sydney

Gillard is much closer to the unions than Rudd is, so this move will be problematic for the union movement. Rudd will want to run as a presidential candidate, beholden to no-one in the party. I don’t think he’ll think he owes anything to anyone in the party or the unions. If he has a chance of winning, he has to run on a sort of Peter Beattie platform.

On the other hand the unions have a lot at stake. They don’t want Abbott and they don’t want Abbott with a large, majority control of the senate. It cuts both ways for them.

Bill Shorten did as many union officials do when they reach parliament: he put his future ahead of his past. I think he’s quite serious when he says he’s committed to the Labor party.

I think if Rudd does win, this will be a signal change to the labour movement, the relationship between the union movement and the ALP. Whitlam didn’t have any relationship with the unions, and it didn’t seem to matter that much until inflation hit.


Geoffrey Robinson, Senior Lecturer, School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Deakin University

I think today showed that ultimately the desire to minimise losses at the next election is what motivated Labor MPs. It took a long time for that to happen but it happened.

Now it’s a matter of the government focusing on the election. The party will unite reasonably well, but voters will not forgive these dramas fairly quickly. The popularity issue isn’t going to be fixed: there is still the carbon tax, the asylum seeker issue, issues about the economy.

Labor now have a slightly bigger chance, but they still don’t have much of a chance. It will minimise some losses, like Queensland, which looks a complete disaster area, and New South Wales as well.

There should be a focus on left wing issues like carbon pricing, asylum seekers. Is marriage equality an issue that can be put on the agenda? This could reel in leftist voters that may have been lost to the Greens.

Join the conversation

141 Comments sorted by

  1. James Hill

    Industrial Designer

    History will remember Julia Gillard as the real leader, (in Christ's words, you lead by serving), since 2007.
    Those prognosticating the consequenses might imagine how England would have fared if those who thought Elizabeth I "illegitimate" had managed to have her beheaded.
    Sadly, even half a millenium later, the same passions are at play.
    What a sad and ugly squalor Australia has sunk into, under the disproportionate influence of medieval religionists; ugly caterpillars consuming the flower of Democracy, beware their poisonous progeny.
    The only bright spot is that Asia, in whose century we find ourselves, has very little of the ugly religious extremism, presently sprouting in Australia.
    So the poison will not persist.

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to James Hill

      " The only bright spot is that Asia, in whose century we find ourselves, has very little of the ugly religious extremism, presently sprouting in Australia. "

      You really do not know too much about Asia do you James.

      Sharia Law in Indonesia for starters not to mention attacks on christians by muslims.
      Muslim extremists in Thailand and the Phillipines.
      Religious violence in Myanamar
      Persecution in China of Falun Gong , Tibetans and other minorities.

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    2. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Leigh Burrell

      Leigh, according to the more rabid conservatives, environmentalists have always been Satan worshippers.
      Gaia/Satan being the "God of this World!"
      Have we moved far from the 1400's?
      This is the religious belief that allowed Abbott to defeat Turnbull.
      Turnbull, you see had been "glamoured" by the green witches.
      Come on, Leigh, get with the program.
      Or will you become a victim of such "enthusiasms"?
      You are either with the Abbotteers, or against them, on the environment, ask Malcolm.

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    3. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Greg North

      Good, Greg, just what we need to counter the rabid, religious right in Australia.
      But I imagine the resurgence of Confucianism across the region will provide some balance.
      Not a religion as such: respects the ancestors, emphasizes the family, respects learning.
      Actually know how to count.
      People like you, Greg, and the "moights" might be able to improve yourselves.
      Hope, Reward. but not from Mr Medieval, "look at me! I'm not Gillard", Tony Abbott.
      He's looking a little weird, eh Greg?
      So who is he going to pick a war with, China, Indonesia?

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    4. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Leigh Burrell

      Lets go to war with them, eh, Leigh?
      Oops, we already are.
      "Shit happens!" as Dear Tony might say.
      Are you signing up soon?

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    5. Deirdre Whitford

      Un-Worker

      In reply to Greg North

      Thanks, Greg, for sparing me the trouble.
      And, since I'm here, I might as well mention the Pakistani Hazaras, who, courtesy of their co-religionists at home, and others, may be lucky enough to spend an indefinite happy holiday on Manus Island, funded oh-so-generously, by me, a proud Aussie taxpayer.
      That's if they don't take advantage of their alternative option, to float unclaimed somewhere in the Indian Ocean until the flesh rots off their bones.

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    6. Ron Chinchen
      Ron Chinchen is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Retired (ex Probation and Parole Officer)

      In reply to James Hill

      Julia's problem was that she was not a good salesperson. Time and again she allowed the opposition or those against her policies take the high ground and win public support. She was a fine ideas woman and tried her best to bring in necessary reforms and innovations into this country. But consistently when her government should have been stepping up to the plate and confronting the criticisms and alternative points of view, there was too often silence and even at time an almost apologetic air…

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    7. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Ron Chinchen

      Yes it was all fairly well unavoidable, considering that the media hounds did a Diana on Gillard, finally running her off the road, after an extraordinary three year campaign of de-stabilisation with Rudd as the backseat driver.
      And as you say, it will all be over soon, moving on from Gordon and Slater two decades ago to how Bill Shorten might revamp his party.
      The good news is that the capacity of the MSM to wreck an elected government will disappear when the destabiliser follows his victims into retirement.

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    8. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Ron Chinchen

      "Rudd is a salesman, ...". When he can be bothered.

      Remember the mining super profits tax? Good policy, poorly marketed.

      Rudd can communicate, when his ego doesn't get in the way.

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    9. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Deirdre Whitford

      They have the same problem in Europe, but probably worse.
      As a result, extreme right-wing nationalist parties there are receiving increasing voter support.
      Perhaps Deirdre, you and Greg could found the Australian version, assuming that "Dear Tony" doesn't already support your views, which you are entitled to express.
      Don't keep your plans secret, though, share them please.
      That silent majority we keep hearing about just might join you if they share the courage of your and Greg's convictions.
      You might be natural born leaders of the "Save Australia Party".
      Those of us who don't want to be burnt at the stake might be happy to have a sporting notice of your possible intentions along those lines.
      Those who don't agree with you will be traitors, no?

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    10. Ron Chinchen
      Ron Chinchen is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Retired (ex Probation and Parole Officer)

      In reply to David Boxall

      I think you'll find the mining tax issue was during Julia's tenure, not Rudd's. Had Rudd been PM he would have handled the PR far better. But that's not to say he would have proceeded in that direction. I'm suggesting Julia tried hard to implement a lot of good ideas and succeeded with many, and for that she deserves much credit for being one of the most active PMs in decades. But she couldnt seem to sell the mining tax despite it being a very sensible idea and backed down because of a very clever campaign by the opposition and the mining companies.

      No disputing Rudd's arrogance. But it doesnt get past the fact that he is presently the most articulate and clever communicator in parliament. You dont have to like the guy and I certainly have grave reservations about him, But credit where credit is due.

      ps If you had seen Question Time today, you would have thought the opposition was the party on the defensive such was Rudd's ability to turn questions around and against them.

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    11. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Ron Chinchen

      Nope. Rudd screwed it up. Gillard did her best to fix it, but it was still a mess.

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    12. Leigh Burrell

      Trophy hunter at Trophy hunter

      In reply to James Hill

      "Leigh, according to the more rabid conservatives, environmentalists have always been Satan worshippers. Gaia/Satan being the "God of this World!" Have we moved far from the 1400's?"

      Some loony Gaia worship from Tim Flannery:

      “I think that, within this century, the concept of the strong Gaia will actually become physically manifest.”

      “Once that occurs, then the Gaia of the ancient Greeks really will exist. This planet, this Gaia, will have acquired a brain and a nervous system.

      ”..just…

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    13. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Leigh Burrell

      The wonderful thing about the Internet is that, no matter what you want to believe, you can always find someone who will tell you it's true. If you're of the Rabid Right, you also have the Murdoch media. Hence, you cite The Australian.

      I find it usually best to go with the majority. They have been wrong in the past, but they're more often right than the minority.

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    14. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Leigh Burrell

      Yes, Leigh but you'd have to recognise that this sort of religionist nonsense, among single issue conservationist extremists, is only relevant in the political context of right-wing religionists using it as a means to promote their own essentially, superstitious, and equally mindless side of the argument.
      This sort of mindless appeal to emotion, from either side of the argument, is a tacit admission of failure and despair.
      Now perhaps you have heard the one about this global consciousness evolving…

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    15. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to James Hill

      "To hell with the lot of them." Unfortunately, we're going with them.

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  2. Lee Emmett

    Guest House Manager

    Minimising electoral damage to the Labor Party obviously was the motivation for Julia Gillard's former supporters to change their allegiance to Kevin Rudd. I will never vote for Kevin Rudd or Tony Abbott because, despite their words, their actions lack of integrity and honesty. Kevin Rudd's persistent treachery has caused the Labor Party irremediable damage.

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Lee Emmett

      I really do not understand how he is so popular and from what little I heard of his speech it seems we still have the real Kevolemon to be re-squeezed.

      Are so many Australians so gullible they accept his fair shake of the sauce bottle ramblings without really asking what it is he espouses or the economics behind it.

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    2. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Lee Emmett

      It is not Rudd who has been persistently treacherous, it is Gillard who was involved in 5 leadership spills.

      She brought this on today with great hubris and no humility at all because her ego got the better of her.

      If she hadn't swung to the far right of Bob Katter on social issues and even many environmental issues it might have worked but she is essentially a cold union apparatchik.

      Those who maintained support for her to the end showed that they support brutal racist and xenophobic policies.

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    3. Gordon Comisari

      Resort Manager

      In reply to Lee Emmett

      Hi Lee,
      I know where you are coming from but in my humble opinion this isn't about political parties or for that matter the ongoing beauty contest of their respective leaders.
      This is about serious business.
      Maximising power and profit is the name of the game.
      The players: Big Media, Big Mining, Big Banks and Big Business.

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    4. Anna Young

      Project Manager

      In reply to Lee Emmett

      Unless you live in their electorates Lee, you cannot vote for either.

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    5. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Anna Young

      Anna, most people know this, they also know that they vote for the candidates in their own electorate. When I say that neither Abbott or Rudd will get my vote, I mean that the party that either is the leader of, will not get my vote. I suspect that Lee means the same.

      I will not be voting for either major political party in the upcoming election, and will be putting in an informal vote if there is no Greens or Independent candidate in my electorate. I refuse to add my voice to promote the destruction of my country by either right wing major party, and could not, in good conscience vote for any political party that promotes the discrimination and bigotry, that are the core policies of both majors.

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    6. Anna Young

      Project Manager

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Quite a fair enough position, I think Judith. Politics has always been a messy business but it seems to have degenerated into a particularly loathsome pit of vipers.

      Perhaps I'm being overly sensitive to the semantics but I think it's an important distinction given how much of the debate in the last three years has been about JG 'usurping' power and not being a legitimate PM. Rubbish on so many levels and yet this language proved to be a powerful tool (as language so often is) in muddying the…

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    7. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Federal Election 2013 presents:

      Narcissist V Narcissist

      Unpalatable.

      I have started looking for suitable Independents and, of course, there is always the Greens.

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    8. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Greg North

      But, even with all those faults, he does make "Dear Tony" look bad, eh, Greg?

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    9. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      Hey, Marilyn, she's gone.
      You can change the subject now, or, better, direct your concerns to the new government.
      But, seriously, do you think that your subjects for improvement will be addressed during the election campaign, basically starting now?
      A considered rely would be appreciated.
      How will the problems, of which you complain, be solved now that Gillard is gone?
      Was Gillard really the cause?
      Because if she wasn't, then you will still be up against it.
      Or will it be a case of "Hope and Reward" for you Marilyn, with the demise of your Bete Noire?

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    10. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Gordon Comisari

      The Highest, and The Biggest; "IOVE OPTIMO MAXIMO", as still? worshipped by the "Romans" among us?
      It is a bit of a belief system among those "players".
      Nothing Christian about them, IMHO.
      But they do make the effort to pretend.

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    11. Dr Maria Hill

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      I agree with Marilyn Shepherd. It was Julia Gillard and senior ministers within her cabinet that were treacherous, not Kevin Rudd. I thought the way they removed the Australian Prime Minister was despicable and believed that parliamentary conduct couldn't descend any lower, but I was wrong.

      It declined even further with vitriolic attacks on Rudd's character on national television while he was serving as Australia's Foreign minister in an attempt to bury him once and for all however the strategy…

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    12. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Anna Young

      I think Ms Olney said neither right wing *party* would receive her vote, Anna.
      I support her sentiments.
      As one elderly ABC RN listener put it: "we now have two vengeful men to choose between."

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    13. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      It was sad and interesting to note last night on Lateline that Carr pragmatically dismissed the disaffected female vote by citing the example of Obama winning back the votes of women after Hilary Clinton lost the candidacy. Because the alternative was too appalling.

      Politicians must be practical and calculating but rubbing our noses in the miserable lack of choice before us, was not his most sensitive moment.
      And Rudd ain't no Obama!

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    14. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Freya Elizabeth

      Freya

      When I heard Carr's voice, my l'il ears pricked up and the Teev narrowly avoided destruction by fluffy slipper yet again.

      What colour tie was he wearing? Must check. Could be important.

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    15. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to James Hill

      James, I console myself that there will be a lot of people now drowning in their own bile because they have lost their scapegoat.
      Either that, or both Abbott and Rudd are going to get a serving, but of course, that won't stop them "cutting through" in the least.
      "cutting through" being media-speak for being misrepresented, cut out and gagged by the media from what I can observe.

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    16. Peter Hindrup

      consultant

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Dianna: not 'suitable independent', any independent!
      A swing voter I have except on one occasion, being rid of Howard. given first preference to the candidate i thought least likely to get the percentage required to collect the $2:50 odd, Then the person/party I hoped would win, then ALL the others, before holding my nose tacked in Labor/Coalition.

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    17. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Haha!
      I consigned him to a very special place in hell, along with Shorten.
      I understand that politics is politics, but a little solemnity and respect would have been more seemly and a decent pause, before they start rewriting history.
      I didn't notice the tie dammit!

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    18. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      "Narcissist V Narcissist"

      I was thinking psychopath V psychopath.

      If there's any justice in the world, our next parliament will hang higher than the current one.

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    19. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Freya Elizabeth

      "... they have lost their scapegoat." A while back, after taking a look at http://pickeringpost.com/ a friend commented about "Right-wing wankers who gratify themselves, fantasising about what a naughty girl Julia is". To which I'd add, not only male wankers. There was one woman who seemed obsessed with Julia's cleavage.

      Anyway, now they'll just have to gratify each other, I guess.

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    20. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to David Boxall

      David, when did they stop, gratifying each other, that is.

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    21. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to David Boxall

      Back in 2007 I sent my (politicly interested) friends, family members a spreadsheet with details of all contenders so they could vote below the line.

      Time to resurrect that file. I colour coded everything so my more elderly relatives could follow with ease. It was the last time my mother voted, how we cheered when we heard that Howard lost his seat.

      In memory of my mother, I will not be goaded into choosing between 2 untenable options. Rudd thinks he has been victorious, he is just a pawn. See how long he lasts (unlikely) victory or not after whenever the 2013 election is. See how long Shorten remains waiting in the wings like the good little pollie he is.

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    22. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to David Boxall

      I don't even want to speculate on the sexual perversions of Pickering. But I will mention that Thatcher was said to be an excellent flirt and could apparently make a male journalist or politician feel like a rather naughty boy. What that says about journos and pollies is quite disturbing. Perhaps they would have felt more comfortable with a dominatrix than an honest, direct and intelligent woman in power?

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    23. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Paul Reader

      Not for me he doesn't resonate conviction, where was his conviction when attempting to destroy the Labor party during his 3 year dummy spit?

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  3. Greg North

    Retired Engineer

    " I think if Rudd does win, this will be a signal change to the labour movement, the relationship between the union movement and the ALP. Whitlam didn’t have any relationship with the unions, and it didn’t seem to matter that much until inflation hit. "

    And the key is " until inflation hit "
    Manufacturing being curtailed more and more, agriculture going down the drain and China's demand for resources reducing and so with limited trading capacity, massive imports and a soaring national debt, inflation…

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Democracy will certainly never live Judith if you and more do vote informal and that is such a childish approach.

      Squeal all you like about the media and their reporting of what happens in politics and with how politics affect various sections of communities and yet you fail to realise that without information from the media, people would not really know what was going on.

      And yes, you may have to do some thinking to see what policies appear best to you for the country and by best, you may also want to consider just what can be afforded by the country.

      Does Murdoch even get a single vote now that he is a US citizen

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    2. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Judith

      The MSM giveth and the MSM can taketh away.

      If I was Rudd, I would be toadying up to Murdoch, tout suite.

      On reflection "continue toadying up to Murdoch.

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    3. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Greg North

      "Does Murdoch even get a single vote now that he is a US citizen"

      Who needs to be an Australian citizen when you own 70% of the media?

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    4. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Actually, a vote for LNP is a vote for Murdoch isn't it?
      Murdoch doesn't vote for anyone, they vote for him.

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    5. Paul Reader

      independent researcher

      In reply to Hardy Gosch

      Yeah it may be a problem. News Corp could really be considered a spent asset, but also something of a loose cannon. The real concern may be who our Australia Harvard graduate friends at "Get Up" are going to support now that their "baby-sitter" has been shown the door? Remember the jubilation from Get Up the day Julia became PM? I do. May be they will have a change of heart, as the USA opinion of Rudd has since be outed by Manning on WikiLeaks. Obama's a Democrat and I'm sure he'll be taking…

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    6. Hardy Gosch

      Mr.

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Hi Judith,
      Call me old fashioned but voting informal for me personally is not an option. In my opinion anyone who truly appreciates living in a democratic society should see casting a vote as a privilege, a duty and an obligation
      And yes, it is difficult sometimes. Wasting a vote however is not the answer.
      Cheers.

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    7. Hardy Gosch

      Mr.

      In reply to Freya Elizabeth

      Hi Freya,
      A vote for the LNP is a vote for the IPA fraternity. Do these names sound familiar? Murdoch, Rinehart, Abbott, Jones, Bolt and Pell - do I need to go on? You get the drift!
      Is there a chance that Rudd will toe the line of the manipulators? Yes, there is! Are characters like Abbott in the pocket of the rich 1%? Certainly, no doubt!
      I personally do not care about parties. I do not give a damn this time who people vote for as long as they put the LNP last.
      G'day to you!

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    8. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Greg North

      No squealing from me Greg, just a sigh of resignation and sorrow, as I see the death of our once great democracy. An informal vote is not childish at all Greg, unless you consider someone having a conscience childish. I cannot, in good conscience, be a part or the process that will see our society and environment destroyed for the sake of a greedy few, so I will abstain from casting a formal vote, unless there is a candidate that represents my values, and the people in my electorate.

      Your views on the media are not mine, and I do not consider what we are fed by the Murdoch media to be information, it is spin and propaganda, nothing more.

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    9. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Hardy Gosch

      I would rather give up my right to cast a vote, than be responsible for the continued destruction of our society and environment. As I said, if there is a Greens candidate, or an independent candidate that represents my values, I will indeed cast a vote for them. As we have to preference if we cast a vote below the line, I will be putting the LNP dead last.

      I see voting as a right, in a supposedly democratic society, if it wasn't a right, our society would not be democratic.

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    10. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Hardy Gosch

      G'day Hardy!
      Indeed I have lost all vestige of attachment to Labor and any other party, but LNP will be last for me too. Pragmatism has to take precedence much as I would like Labor to feel the wrath of my lost vote (by preference, via Greens, of course) ;)

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    11. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Judith Olney

      "I see voting as a right, ...". Both that and a responsibility. It's when voting is hardest that the responsibility weighs most heavily. What does denying that duty say of you?

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    12. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to David Boxall

      I see the responsibility as voting for the candidate that best represents my own values, and supports the policies that will be best for the country, IMO. I don't see voting as supporting a political party or candidate that endorses policies that I believe will not be good for my self, my electorate, or my country as a whole. My first duty is to myself, and to my own conscience, if I cannot discharge this duty to my own values and beliefs I will choose to abstain rather than simply voting for the sake of it, and assisting the election of a party or candidate that supports policies I do not agree with.

      My legal duty in this country is turn up at a polling booth and have my name crossed off the list.

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    13. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to David Boxall

      To answer your question, denying the duty to vote, is only something I can do to myself, I am not advocating that this duty or right is denied to anyone else. What this says about me, from my own point of view, is that when faced with the choice of no candidates that I can in good conscience, vote for, I will choose to abstain from voting rather than be forced to deny my conscience.

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    14. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Judith Olney

      "My legal duty ..." Is legality the only criterion?

      Isn't an adult sometimes called upon to do the distasteful? Will a responsible adult do their duty? Will a responsible adult seek to evade their duty?

      "... denying the duty to vote, is only something I can do to myself, ..." Doesn't everyone else have to live with the consequences of your behaviour?

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    15. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to David Boxall

      No David, not the only criterion, as you would have gathered if you actually read my post.

      A responsible adult will act according to their conscience, and that is what I intend to do.

      How is everyone living with the consequences of my behaviour David? I think you vastly overestimate the value of my contribution to the political landscape of this country.

      If I abstain from voting I will not be supporting that which I consider unsupportable. This, in my view, is being responsible.

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    16. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Judith Olney

      "How is everyone living with the consequences of my behaviour ..." You think voting - or not voting - has no value? If a vote has value, then doesn't voting or not voting have consequences? Doesn't everyone in the nation live with those consequences?

      "If I abstain from voting I will not be supporting that which I consider unsupportable." If you abstain from voting, won't you be evading your duty?

      No matter how we rationalise our behaviour, we remain responsible for the consequences of our actions and of our failures to act.

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    17. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to David Boxall

      No David, again you seem to have jumped to a false assumption, I think you over estimate the value of my one vote though. I live in a safe liberal electorate, and know very well the value of my one vote.

      I'm happy to accept responsibility for my actions, in fact at no stage have I said otherwise.

      I will vote for a candidate that best represents my own values, and what IMO is best for the country as a whole, if, (and its a big if), there is such a candidate to vote for. If not, then I will choose not to support a candidate, party, or policies, that I do not agree with, and do not represent my values.

      To simply cast a vote because it is expected or a duty, regardless of the consequences of that vote, is irresponsible in my view.

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    18. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Judith Olney

      In another context, it was pointed out that "The behaviour that you walk by is behaviour that you condone". In refusing to vote, you don't absolve yourself of responsibility for the outcome.

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    19. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to David Boxall

      David, I am not trying to absolve myself of responsibility at all, I am happy to accept that my possible refusal to put in a formal vote, (please note that I have not said categorically said I will not vote, only that I will not vote to support a candidate, party, or policy, I disagree with, and cannot, with good conscience support), will have some small, and insignificant consequence for other people.

      Just as you are free to follow your conscience, so am I, if you choose to see my stance as somehow wrong, in your opinion, so be it. I don't intend to go against my own conscience in this matter.

      As for "The behaviour that you walk by is behaviour that you condone", absolutely, I condone the behaviour of voting, or not, based on an individual's conscience, and personal views on the policies and candidates in their electorate. Do you think people should vote against their conscience and values, simply for the sake of discharging a duty?

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    20. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Judith Olney

      "Do you think people should vote against their conscience and values, simply for the sake of discharging a duty?"

      When the choice is most difficult, isn't that when it's most important?

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    21. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to David Boxall

      No David, I don't believe that when the choice is most difficult, it is most important. Besides, its not a matter of a difficult choice, it is a matter of having no choice that best represents my views, and values. These are values that I will not compromise for the sake of discharging my duty to the state.

      As I have said previously, but will repeat for the sake of clarity, if there is a candidate, standing in my electorate, that I believe represents my values and views, then I will indeed cast a vote for them, if not, then my vote will be informal.

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    22. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Does casting a deliberately informal vote honour those who struggled for universal suffrage?

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    23. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to David Boxall

      Not in my view David. I think voting for someone, or policies that I disagree with, and are bad for the country, would be a greater dishonour, (that is assuming I owe some sort of debt).

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    24. Ron Chinchen
      Ron Chinchen is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Retired (ex Probation and Parole Officer)

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      I agree Dianna. I'm opposed to dual citizenships at this time in human history. Maybe later we can be a citizen of the Humanity. But for now I think one's loyalty should not be divided. You choose to be Australian, you should cancel your citizenship of another nation as a condition of that citizenship, in my opinion. This was used as an excuse for Brits to retain their homeland citizenship in a different age. Today its an anachronism. One's loyalty upon becoming an Australian citizen should be to Australia alone.

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    25. Ron Chinchen
      Ron Chinchen is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Retired (ex Probation and Parole Officer)

      In reply to Hardy Gosch

      Guys I am a strong believer in mandatory voting because I believe we all should take part of the responsibility for the government and policies that operate in this country.

      However how you vote is I believe entirely your choice as is consistent with democratic process. Though my vote might in itself mean little in deciding government policy, it is the weight of the population's vote in one or other direction that does.

      Whether I vote for one party or the other, or a minority party, or an…

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    26. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Ron Chinchen

      "As long as I vote, whether formally or informally, I am taking a responsible stance ...". No Ron.

      A deliberate informal vote is a failure to take a stance. It may give the (non) voter a warm feeling; they may feel entitled to deny responsibility for the outcome, but it's cowardly and irresponsible.

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    27. Peter Hindrup

      consultant

      In reply to David Boxall

      The nonsensical Australian ‘two party preferred’ ensures that along with ‘compulsory voting’ the result will give a totally unreal picture of the society.
      Dropping ‘compulsory voting’ would immediately indicate the interest in the community in government as it exists. Compelling parties to have to get the community involved, as opposed to sitting on their backsides doing nothing, confident that the sheep will jump through the hoops and that they will get the massive fund injection attached to…

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    28. Ron Chinchen
      Ron Chinchen is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Retired (ex Probation and Parole Officer)

      In reply to David Boxall

      I understand what you are trying to say and for some who vote informally that's true. But the same could be said for someone who donkey votes or just votes for a party because that's what they've always done and they dont really think it through.

      The point is that when you vote you should be making a statement about what you feel about the options. Would you vote for something that is philosophically opposed to your view point.

      Say all parties decided to make Australia a Republic and sever…

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    29. Ron Chinchen
      Ron Chinchen is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Retired (ex Probation and Parole Officer)

      In reply to Peter Hindrup

      The alternative proportionate voting system Peter results in chaos where one party cant rule and requires an often unworkable coalition of numerous often opposing parties. The other alternative is where its the party with the highest vote rules, even if its only 25%. Surely Italy's experience with one such a system should give cause to avoid that with a ten metre pole. First past the post won Hitler power with 30% in Germany. Come off it. The system we've got at present is the best available.

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    30. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to David Boxall

      The lesser of two evils, is still evil, David. Voting for the lesser of two evils, is still voting for evil. No thanks.

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    31. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Judith Olney

      "The lesser of two evils, is still evil, ...". Given that we're going to get one or the other, I prefer to at least have a say. Those who refuse make themselves passive victims.

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    32. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Hindrup

      "The nonsensical Australian ‘two party preferred’ ...". As far as I know, ‘two party preferred’ is a pollsters' expression for guessing who might hypothetically win an election held at the moment; it isn't part of our system.

      Given that nothing's perfect, I reckon we've got it about as good as it gets. For mine, optional preferential voting is not an improvement.

      "An informal vote is, or at least can be, a carefully considered decision." I disagree; for mine, it's the lazy way out. Careful consideration will always yield a least-worst option.

      That's what Australian politics is about these days; choosing the mob that's least unfit to govern.

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    33. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Ron Chinchen

      "Would you vote for something that is philosophically opposed to your view point." If that was true of all options, I'd examine them all and vote for the least objectionable.

      "Sometimes an informal vote is the only palatable option". Doesn't being a responsible adult demand that, when necessary, we bear the unpalatable?

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    34. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to David Boxall

      I disagree David. I have explained my reasons, and you have repeated your opinion, I don't think there is much more to gain from this discussion, we simply disagree. I don't think that calling those who think differently, irresponsible, cowardly, childish, or passive victims, helps your cause any.

      Have a good evening.

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    35. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Judith Olney

      "... helps your cause any." My opinions are conscientiously held. Do you think resort to righteous indignation helps yours?

      "Have a good evening." And you.

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    36. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to David Boxall

      I don't have a cause David, just my own views on my own right to vote, thats it, I'm not advocating that people should follow my views or actions. I get that your opinions are conscientiously held, as are my own. Name calling and labeling others that do not share your view, is unnecessary and certainly doesn't encourage civil discussion.

      What righteous indignation are you talking about David? I simply disagree with you.

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    37. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Judith Olney

      On second thoughts David, just ignore my last question, I don't need to know what you mean by your comment, and this has already got way off topic. I'm going to leave the discussion now, thank you for your thoughts.

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    38. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Judith Olney

      http://www.aec.gov.au/About_AEC/Publications/backgrounders/files/2010-eb-compulsory-voting.pdf
      "Voting is compulsory
      7. subsection 245(1) of the Act* provides that: ‘it shall be the duty of every elector to vote at each election’."
      ...
      "33. in Judd v McKeon (1926) 38 clr 380, Mr Judd provided the following reason for not voting at a senate election:
      All the political parties and their candidates participating in the election support and do all in their power to perpetuate capitalism with its…

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    39. Peter Hindrup

      consultant

      In reply to David Boxall

      Getting your name crossed off is compulsory.
      Votng is not for acandidateis not.
      An informal voteis a vote.

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    40. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Hindrup

      Again: subsection 245(1) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act (1918) as amended 1924 provides that: ‘it shall be the duty of every elector to vote at each election’.

      In Justice Barwick's words, a legal vote is "to express a preference amongst those who are available for election". Does a deliberate informal vote meet that test?

      You can get away with deliberately voting informally. Some people believe that gives them a right. By similar logic, a rapist or murderer who escapes detection has a right.

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    41. Peter Hindrup

      consultant

      In reply to David Boxall

      Not 'get away with', an option.
      You never give any level of authority a millimetre more than the law allows.
      Your reference to rapists and murders is ridiculous.

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    42. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Peter Hindrup

      Technically a person that is not caught, tried and convicted of rape or murder, is not a rapist or murderer, there is a little thing called the presumption of innocence, David seems to have forgotten about this little legal technicality.

      As voting is a private affair between the voter and the state, and it is also anonymous once that ballot paper has been placed in the box, there would be no way of actually policing who voted formally or informally, so it makes a nonsense of the law that exists to force people to make a choice against their own conscience.

      Conflating casting an informal vote with raping or murdering is ridiculous, I totally agree Peter.

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    43. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Judith Olney

      "Technically a person that is not caught, ..., is not a rapist or murderer, ...". So, if they aren't caught, there's no crime?

      "... there would be no way of actually policing ...". So you have a right to break the law, because you can?

      To me, duty is a more powerful motivation than law, but I'm finding your attitudes fascinating.

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    44. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to David Boxall

      Tell me David, how would you know whether a person has committed a crime, when they are not caught, not tried in a court of law, and not convicted? I never suggested there was no crime, (in the case of murder or rape), if there is a victim there was a crime, but saying someone has committed a crime without proof that would stand up in court, is not how we do things in this country.

      The law is not always correct David, there are many laws that need changing. In my state we still have laws that…

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    45. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Judith Olney

      "... how would you know ...". Does it matter? What you said is that, if they aren't caught, etc, then they aren't criminals. If nobody's caught, by your logic, can there be a criminal? If there's no criminal, can there be a crime?

      "The law is not always correct ...". We appear to have come to tacit agreement that a deliberately informal vote is not a legal vote. That's progress.

      "... there are many laws that need changing..."
      If you genuinely feel that the law should change, what are you doing…

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    46. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to David Boxall

      No David, what I said is that under our system of law, unless a person is caught, tried and convicted, they are presumed innocent. Do you think that people that are not caught, tried and convicted should be deemed criminals, simply because a crime has been committed by someone?

      I think that conflating rape and murder with placing an informal vote is ridiculous, as Peter suggested and I agreed. If indeed it is illegal to vote informally, then it is a law I am happy to break, as it is a law that…

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    47. Peter Hindrup

      consultant

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Judith has the right of it. The only time it is valid to vote against your considered view that neither major partydeserves a vote is when those in government are so appalling that removing them overrides all other considerations. Howard's mob was an example.
      However in the case, for me, you do more than merely vote.
      I was at dinner with an old, exmilitary friend the other night and his explanation of 'loyalty', was as convoluted as are your reasons why as an adult --- I presume --- 'the law says --- looms so large in your reasoning.
      Fight to get he system changed, sure! first on the list would be 'compulsory voting'! However there are far more important things to consider. How refugees are treated, the situationof the Palestinians, the question of Israel being supported when it flaunts International Law. All of which consume muchof my time and far outweigh an unenforcable requirement in the electoral act.

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    48. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Judith Olney

      "Do you think that people that are not caught, tried and convicted should be deemed criminals, simply because a crime has been committed by someone?" No Judith, I believe that where there's a crime there's a criminal. You seemed to have invented the criminal-less crime.

      "Civil disobedience, particularly when it non-violent, is a valid way of protesting." Provided you have the integrity to disobey openly. Otherwise, it's no more than self-gratification. If nobody knows, is it really a protest?

      "... I would remove myself from the electoral role ...". Section 101 requires you to establish and maintain your enrolment. You'd need to get that changed.

      You seem to claim a right to break any law that you can get away with breaking. Together with your view that those who get away with committing crimes are not criminals, that gives a fascinating insight into your character.

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    49. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to David Boxall

      David

      I actually believe our right to vote is an important privilege of our democratic (such as it is) form of governance.

      However when belief turns into belligerence in order to win, what prize exactly I am not sure, my own hackles rise.

      Simply, Judith has her right to her take on what has occurred last week.

      To you both, David and Judy, you really can't do any worse than to follow the sage advice of Kenny Rogers:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kn481KcjvMo

      Then politely agree to disagree and use your verbal skills and energy on other topics.

      Please.

      Dianna

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    50. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Hindrup

      "Fight to get he system changed, sure! first on the list would be 'compulsory voting'!" You might find kindred souls at: http://www.compulsoryvoting.org/ For a start, check out the arguments that have been tried in the past; and why they failed. Bear in mind that you'll need to address laws at the state level, as well as federal. In some states, voting at local government elections is also compulsory.

      For mine, democracy is a 'Wisdom of the crowd' exercise - and the bigger the crowd, the better. Optional voting tends to favour the radical. Compulsion increases the representation of moderates in the mix.

      "... there are far more important things ..." There are always other things. There's always someone who thinks something else is more important. My favourite is an Australian manned space program. ;-)

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    51. Peter Hindrup

      consultant

      In reply to David Boxall

      In my view your adamant view of ‘obeying’ the electoral laws screams military. Be that as it may, blindly following the law is a problem — a far bigger problem than are those who simply ignore stupid laws.
      ‘For mine, democracy is a 'Wisdom of the crowd' exercise - and the bigger the crowd, the better.’
      ‘Mob rule, lynchings, generally anti social behaviour, all a product of mob rule = crowds.
      Optional voting tends to favour the radical. Compulsion increases the representation of moderates in the…

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    52. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to David Boxall

      Oh for goodness sake David, criminal-less crime? No, again, but this will be the last time, under our system of law, there is the presumption of innocence, until a person is convicted of a crime, in a court of law, they are not a criminal. I don't think I can explain it more clearly than this.

      Whoever counts the votes will know that there is an informal vote or a formal vote, so yes a valid protest. Those in the political arena will also know that there have been informal votes, so again a valid…

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    53. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Peter Hindrup

      Its interesting Peter, that when a vote is taken in parliament, caucus, or a conscience vote on a particular issue, it is possible for a politician to abstain from voting, when they do not wish to support either side of an argument, or do not wish to vote on a particular issue, but we voters, (the ones that these politicians are supposed to be representing), do not have the right to abstain from voting for a politician or party they do not wish to support.

      Personally, I don't have a problem with…

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    54. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Hi Dianna, I believe that we should have the right to vote, and appreciate the fact that we do, but wouldn't go as far as calling it a privilege, a privilege is not something that should be forced or coerced, on fear of prosecution.

      I think a people would appreciate their right to vote, and probably give it more thought, if it wasn't compulsory.

      Thanks for the advice, re: Kenny Rogers, (I do love a good old country song), but I think I'll choose when, and what topics, I wish to discuss, and I'm sure David will do the same. I guess we will both decide for ourselves when its time to fold and walk away, I'm way too old to be running though. BTW, just a friendly aside, I really dislike the diminutive form of my name, and never use it, and ask that my friends respect this :)

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    55. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Judith Olney

      OK point taken.

      Should not have blundered in. I'm allergic to bullying - must find something to take for that.

      I do recall you asking that your name not be abbreviated before, just simply forgot.

      As for voting being a privilege - we will have to agree to disagree. I look at so many countries where people - most particularly women do not get a say in anything. I was born in this country by chance, not something I had a say in and while Australia is far from a utopia, I am grateful everyday that I am here and not elsewhere - having travelled enough to know just how good we have it here. In spite of all that occurred last week - which has made this country a little less than it was before, it is still a far better place to be.

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    56. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Hi Dianna, feel free to blunder in, I always appreciate your input, I don't know that there was any bullying happening with our little discussion though. I think both David and I are fairly passionate in our views, but I don't think either of us were bullying, a little repetitive perhaps, but there was no ill intent.

      No problem on the name thing, its a bit of a thing for me is all, (I've had the diminutive used as a put down before and it still affects me, although I know you meant no malice at…

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    57. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Judith

      I guess I felt that you had clearly made your point and that David continued to ignore it. When the discussion reached issues of "criminality", I thought, "Time out everyone".

      I don't have a problem with compulsory voting either. This has taken years of consideration; from when I was dropped from the electoral roll while overseas and not bothering to re-register, until my then partner responded to an Electoral Official home visit and I was placed back on the list.

      I look at rates…

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    58. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Yeah, conflating rape and murder with voting informally is ridiculous, and just weakens David's argument. Sometimes these discussions get very silly.

      <"We have woken from a dream where we had a highly competent female PM, an atheist and living in a de facto relationship, of all things. Then we woke up and everything was 'normal'.">

      A good explanation Dianna, I sheet a lot of blame home to the MSM for this. Its an interesting exercise to read Ms Grattan's articles over the last few months, and see the difference in how she speaks about both Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd, and the total negativity and lack of respect she showed for the former, and then the sycophantic words she uses for the latter. Its disappointing to me that our country is still so afraid of women being leaders, or even having autonomy over their own bodies.

      I don't think we are mature enough, as a nation, to have non-compulsory voting, but then few nations are.

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    59. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Yes, I have noticed the change in tone in Ms Grattan's writing also. If so many women cannot see the forest for the trees, getting the word out to men is even more fraught.

      Takes a real woman or man to stand up and say, "This is wrong".

      Then endure the flack that erupts from questioning the status quo.

      Taking bets now:

      Will the human race mature as a sentient species before it self destructs?

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    60. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Judith Olney

      I have butted (or had my head butted) against the ceiling of self-righteous women who have made it in the patriarchy by playing the rules set in place by eons of male leadership.

      These women simply continue the status quo and resent any incursion. No wonder the vitriol against Julia Gillard, who in many ways was an antithesis to the 'natural' order, was loud and vociferous.

      By 'real', I refer to people who can look at themselves, understand their own short comings, and still stand up for equality…

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    61. Ron Chinchen
      Ron Chinchen is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Retired (ex Probation and Parole Officer)

      In reply to David Boxall

      So David, a political party seeing a large number of informal votes isnt being told something then. Of course its taking a stance. Its saying I'm not happy with what you have to offer and isnt that the purpose of voting, getting what we feel is best for the country. Good grief if all parties are sprouting forth policies that I am opposed to, I am betraying my beliefs by then voting for one of them. Germany in pre-war times had virtually only two sides, The National Socialists and the Communists. Which would you have voted for David?

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    62. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Hi Dianna, seems that it is policy that mentioning a certain elderly female political writer, by name, on TC is enough to get your post removed, even though I made no direct criticism of said writer. Censorship alive and well.

      Anyhoo, I basically agree with your post that this removed comment was in reply to.

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    63. Peter Hindrup

      consultant

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Judith: seems TC has a protected species list.
      I, and another contributor mentioned Israel, with references, and psst-- gone!
      Read this soon or ----
      An academic medium where facts --- or even names? -- cannot be mentioned?

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    64. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Peter Hindrup

      It does seem a bit weird, I did use the word lickspittle, and mention the names of Jones and Bolt, but made direct criticism of the woman who cannot be named, I did write about how many professional women in days gone by had to become supporters of the patriarchal system in order to get where they were in their chosen field, and how they perpetuate that same culture and value system today, which means that attacking women for simply being women is somehow still acceptable today. These professional women had and have the power to change this culture, but choose not to.

      Hence we have seen the attacks on Julia Gillard by some of these women, and one in particular that writes frequently for a web site that I frequent, as you yourself do Peter.

      That was the gist of my post, with the added comment that I am an eternal optimist, maybe being an optimist and admitting to it publicly is not allowed or somehow offensive, in our very negative society?

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    65. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Hindrup

      "... your adamant view of ‘obeying’ the electoral laws screams military." No, Peter, just a bit older than you, evidently.

      "... blindly following the law is a problem ...". Nuremberg Principle IV applies. Whatever our reasons,, we remain responsible for the consequences of our actions and of our failures to act.

      "Mob rule, lynchings, generally anti social behaviour, ..." Your social circle is not mine, thank heavens.

      "... those many countries that do not have compulsory voting!" If you disagree with the lawof the land, then work for change or go to a land with laws that you agree with.

      "An INFORMAL VOTE is a vote." Not a legal one.

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    66. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Judith Olney

      "... until a person is convicted of a crime, in a court of law, they are not a criminal." When a person commits a crime, they become what their behaviour makes of them. Nothing in the Universe can change that. Whether they are caught or not affects only how they are perceived - the label.

      "... they are not considered to be a criminal, ...". What they are considered to be and what their behaviour makes of them can be different things. I think the difficulty is that I'm talking about their nature and you're talking about how others perceive them.

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    67. Peter Hindrup

      consultant

      In reply to David Boxall

      David: 'No, Peter, just a bit older than you, evidently.'
      Unfortunately I am not sure that that is possible! -((((
      "An INFORMAL VOTE is a vote." Not a legal one.
      Allow me to disagree!

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    68. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to David Boxall

      David what I am talking about is the system of law, and what constitutes the definition of a criminal under our system of law, I wasn't talking about perception, or nature or whatever else you seem to be talking about.

      It's been interesting reading your opinion on this topic, but I think it has been done to death now, and you haven't managed to sway my point of view, and I'm pretty sure I haven't swayed yours, so please lets leave it here.

      I really dislike being rude, and not replying when people have taken the time to reply to my posts, so please understand that I do not mean to be rude when I do not reply to your further posts, (if any), on this thread.

      Thanks for an engaging and wide ranging discussion, I have enjoyed it very much.

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    69. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Judith Olney

      "... what constitutes the definition of a criminal under our system of law, ...". Which, as I said, is evidently the basis of our disagreement. In every definition of crime that I've read, law is secondary or tertiary; personal and societal harm are higher considerations. A criminal act creates a criminal; presumption of innocence governs only perception and punishment.

      Thanks for the discussion.

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  4. Stephen Ralph

    carer at n/a

    An irony in this saga is that Bill Shorten's mother-in-law holds the key to the next bit of the puzzle.

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      It will hardly be so puzzling Stephen for I expect the GG will swear Rudd in this morning, that already being reported and then he'll be under pressure I expect to have the writ issued for the earliest possible election or face a No Confidence motion today.

      Somewhere in between all that, he will need to have appointed a few ministers, even if as caretaker ones in the run up to the election.

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  5. ian cheong

    logged in via email @acm.org

    If the big issues are "carbon tax, the asylum seeker issue, [and] issues about the economy", then Rudd surely needs the time to fix those to have a proper chance to win at the election. He'd also need to fix the perception of all the negative Rudd features. No small task.

    More likely the ego will rule and we'll see an early election, a loss, and a long way back for Labor.

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    1. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to ian cheong

      OK - although I was hoping there might be "something" to make life tough for the little weasel.

      I just thought that when the musical or opera gets written, it would make for higher drama if BS's mum-in-law did the dirty.

      It would make Nixon In China look like a kids story.

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    2. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Peter Garret might yet have a song to sing about our houses are burning Stephen and that could get interesting as will Carr's view that asylum seekers are now just quite simply economic refugees using people smugglers.
      He reckons it has changed!

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  6. Paul Reader

    independent researcher

    Only yesterday one commentator on this Conversation said; 'Kevin will never be P.M again'. Today Maxine McKew has said his return has put; 'some real contestability into the election campaign'. Last night the ABC aired some LNP youtube footage of Rudd's former Labor detractors, as evidence a Rudd election win would be difficult.
    I don't think the LNP can use it, without giving Labor a free kick to point out the LNP as always lives in the past, if not last week, then last year and most often the…

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Paul Reader

      " I don't think the LNP can use it, without giving Labor a free kick to point out the LNP as always lives in the past, if not last week, then last year and most often the 1950s. "

      You think only the LNP use past infornation!

      Rudd certainly has a mouth and yet people have heard enough from it to know what comes out of it does not always quite add up.

      Once bitten, twice shy it'll be for many.

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    2. Paul Reader

      independent researcher

      In reply to Greg North

      No I don't think only the LNP use past infornation [sic?], but politicians use it at their peril. The world is facing a climate change dilemma, significant issues for billions of people world wide. We should be going to the next election on the equivalent of a war footing with leadership looking to the immediate and long term future. Rudd looks that way, has the conviction, and as a result in the past, has had to fight the mining magnates, News Corp. wets in the Labor factions, and from what we have since learned from WikiLeaks, the distaste of some of the US Ivy League in the security sector.
      If it doesn't add up, its because you can't get too much into 20 second grabs stacked against you.
      People are sick of politicians playing it safe to protect careers, they want real leadership on real issues.

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    3. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Greg North

      Howard Lite against Howard's Shyte, to use your favourite terminology, Greg?

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  7. Deirdre Whitford

    Un-Worker

    Professor Cox,
    Because of the respect with which I have always regarded your contributions to the public discourse over many years, I am extremely disinclined to challenge any opinion whatsoever which you might feel moved to express.
    Reluctantly, however, I really must beg to differ with your observation that Gillard has been unable to "connect" somehow with her fellow citizens.
    The authority I cite in disagreeing (strongly) with you there is simply my experience as just another feminine face…

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    1. Freya Elizabeth

      Graphic designer

      In reply to Deirdre Whitford

      Well said Deidre, I think that Cox is confusing her left sentiments with her feminist ones, sadly.
      I have great respect for Cox's commitment to social policy but feminism does not begin and end there. Cox's contributions to this debate and her denial of the real material issue of media power and prejudice runs the risk of condemning women to the margins. Women need bread, but they will not get it if they do not have a voice.
      Moreover, I believe that her perhaps inadvertent focus on Gillard's "feminism" and Abbott's "misogyny" was simply a boon to the right, who need to keep the debate personal where they can score the most points.

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  8. Peter Hindrup

    consultant

    The Sunday after the eleven hundred years under the heel of Howard ended, I walked through Bondi Junction, Wentworth a Coalition stronghold. Everybody, that is everybody was smiling, Hello, good morning, great day, nobody walked past anybody without a greeting.
    Howard, if gendered was probably male. People were sick of him. Sick of ‘MY’ government. Tired of it all being ‘my vision’. One mans twisted view of the world.
    Then came Gillard, equally engendered. Howard in a skirt.
    Neither had…

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  9. Guy Cox

    logged in via email @guycox.com

    Julia Gillard has become the scapegoat for her party. She has demonstrated masterful leadership, got a whole lot of stuff through parliament in spite of being in a minority government, and generally been a totally capable PM. But she refuses to be a populist.

    Kevin Rudd has no interest in good governance, popularity is all. Maybe that will get Labor back in, but at what cost? His time as PM was defined by rule by shock-jock, and they will all now be rubbing their hands and licking their lips at what is in store for them. Is this the way we want our country to be run?

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  10. Dianna Arthur

    Environmentalist

    The Victorian Women’s Trust has placed a clearly worded, honest review of PM Julia Gillard's governance.

    They note the successes and do not shy away from the failures.

    >>>"It has been a fraught political environment
    and we remain baffled by several of the Gillard
    government’s policies – on immigration and
    asylum seekers, reducing economic support for
    single parents and the Prime Minister’s position
    on same–sex marriage. By and large, however,
    she has displayed an enormous capacity and…

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