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Yet another bad poll for Gillard, if anyone in Labor is listening

Gillard still has senior ministers backing her. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Julia Gillard has been hit by another bad poll at the start of the crucial final week of parliament, with Newspoll showing the ALP primary vote at 29%, down one point, and Tony Abbott widening the gap to have a 12 point lead as better prime minister – 45% to 33%.

This is the first time since July last year – when the carbon tax started - that Labor’s primary vote has been below 30% in Newspoll, published in The Australian. Labor also was on 29% in last week’s Nielsen poll.

Abbott’s lead as better PM is his largest ever over Gillard in Newspoll.

Despite the consistently bad polls, Kevin Rudd appears to be cornered, as memories flood back of that night, three years ago today, when Julia Gillard and her supporters knifed him.

Unless something unforeseen happens and assuming Gillard holds her nerve, if Rudd wants to reclaim the prize that was snatched away the onus will be on him to try to grab it.

The leadership is not going to be handed to him in some consensus fashion.

Either Rudd decides to front up and challenge or before week’s end, he concludes the numbers are not there and backs off, claiming he was never trying in the first place.

It’s one thing for Rudd supporters to tell journalists he has the numbers (although Ruddites claim the Gillard forces said this); it’s another to be sure when the time comes for a ballot. To run and lose would look pretty bad.

There is also that awkward categoric declaration from March – when Rudd said he would never be leader again. Messy to explain away.

It wouldn’t matter if he were drafted but it would be complicated if he were challenging. It would just demonstrate that he was as duplicitous as the rest of them.

If Rudd decided the risk and the costs were not worth it - that he would inherit a divided party and probably do badly at the election – and retreated, he’d have to wear the odium of having caused a lot of trouble for no result.

He could plead that he had done nothing, that he had said he wouldn’t be leader again - but it wouldn’t wash.

He might be seen in the long term as the person who could have saved the furniture but in the short term colleagues would be angry – both the Rudd supporters who had tried to get momentum going again and the Gillard supporters who had had to cope with the destabilisation.

As crunch time approaches ministers have been prodded and goading Rudd. They are not trying to avoid the subject any more.

Senate leader Stephen Conroy said today that “I don’t believe she will be stepping down. If it’s to be brought to a head, well Kevin Rudd will have to decide to challenge”. He said he would not serve in a Rudd cabinet.

Defence Minister Stephen Smith said: “None of the cabinet colleagues I’ve spoken to are proposing to tap [Gillard] on the shoulder. … If someone wants to disturb the current arrangements, they need to so something about it”. He said he took Rudd at his word that he would not challenge.

On Friday Resources Minister Gary Gray said: “I genuinely think that if Kevin Rudd wishes to challenge, he should do so. He should stop this confusion and the mumbling and the mumbo jumbo. He should test his level of support or he should get on with the campaign to ensure Labor’s vote is as strong as it can be”.

Climate Minister Greg Combet had already said earlier in the week: “If he has got the support he’s suggesting it’s available to him to make a challenge”.

Key power broker Bill Shorten again pledged support to Gillard on Friday. The Rudd camp always casts doubt on whether Shorten really means it but the symbolism of his saying it is what matters.

Sources in the Rudd camp were sounding slightly concerned at their situation today.

But the battle continued, particularly via The Sunday Telegraph. The paper carried an interview with Rudd’s daughter Jessica, in which she said “We’ve moved on as a family”. Really.

It also reported that if Rudd were leader the ALP could be better off by $6 million (the amount extra in public funding the ALP would get if Rudd lifted the vote to 40%).

A third article, headed Rats in the Ranks, reported Rudd supporters were accusing Combet of “hinting to intermediaries he would not stand in the way of a Rudd return, while maintaining public support for the Prime Minister”. “It’s all crap,” Combet told the paper, plus a couple more colourful words.

Players are not pulling their punches at the moment, or even minding their language.

Join the conversation

52 Comments sorted by

  1. Brett Bailey

    Self Employed

    It is a sad case that the current federal labor administration currently masquerading as the Government of this country are so inwardly focussed on their collective navels that the rest of the populations interests needs wants etc are ignored.
    People aren't stupid they can work out for themselves how things are travelling over in Federal Parliament and it isn;t pretty at all. Blaming the media - apparently all media sources are tainted - Michelle Gratten Farifax ABC ( once viewed as left are now…

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    1. Ronald Ostrowski

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Brett Bailey

      Brett, I note that the Morgan Poll is never mentioned by the MSM/ABC anymore. Last time the Morgan Poll went against the disastrous polling on landline pensioners which seems to be the staple statistc for these endless News Ltd and Fairfax polls. Michelle, during this shameful weekend when the political activism of The Age and you, unelected as you both are, hit the media outlets I was directed to this well written article berating the unelected media for demanding a leadership challenge. I have…

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    2. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Ronald Ostrowski

      I always thought RR was representative of the pinnacle of motoring and now we have a new RR in Repetitious ( needing to be in capitals too ) Ronnie.

      You do have in common with the RR Ronald that you just keep on and on, unfortunately not as Labor will be as government.

      I always thought RR was representative of the pinnacle of motoring and now we have a new RR in Repetitious ( needing to be in capitals too ) Ronnie.

      You do have in common with the RR Ronald that you just keep on and on, unfortunately…

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    3. Ronald Ostrowski

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Greg North

      Greg, you are the LNP voting rascal aren't you. Now Greg, why is it that you would support a change to Rudd if it gave Rudd a chance to win the 2013 election as Michelle, The Age and so many others in the MSM/ABC seem to contend? What is it about Gillard that scares you so? I remember, when Howard was on the nose back in 2007. The last thing I wanted, as a then intending ALP voter, was a change in the LNP leadership.

      So, I just don't get you Greggie. I think you secretly agree with my point…

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    4. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Ronald Ostrowski

      Ronald, the LNP may well consider me a voting rascal on times I decide they have not been worth voting for.
      And sorry if I deceived you so for I do not really give two hoots whether we have Julia, Kevin or even someone else attempting to guide the good ship Laborprise this time around.
      They have no chance of making a docking for they aren't even in the right universe.

      As for " turn the boats around " if you take the literal meaning of that, there is indeed some negotiation to be done and likkely…

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    5. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Brett Bailey

      There's that "hopey" thing again, audaciously lifted from the Obama campaign.
      Plenty of "faith" too, but very little charity.

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  2. Greg North

    Retired Engineer

    " There is also that awkward categoric declaration from March – when Rudd said he would never be leader again. Messy to explain away. "

    Not too messy or complex Michelle for as they say a week in politics is a long time and for Labor right now each week must seem to be an eternity, an eternity in which much can change.
    Kevin would never have made it as the Bulldogs full forward either and admitting that dire circumstances deem a review of his thinking is for the good of the party is all that is needed and far better than seeing it kicked along without scoring any goals from here to eternity.

    We will soon enough see whether we have a Ballsyrudd or Kevolemon coming along in the vein of Latham ruminations.

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  3. Comment removed by moderator.

    1. Peter Kardashinsky

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to John Tuckfield

      Agree. One of the pleasures of reading "The Conversation" was the generally balanced approach of both the authors and the comments.

      Dear Editor, does this piece really add anything to "The Conversation," that we do not already get in the Murdoch and Fairfax rags?

      If this is the style of content that will become more prominent in future then I, for one, will not be listening or reading.

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    2. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Peter Kardashinsky

      John and Peter, what Michelle writes on may seem to be a continuing saga and that is because it is not just that.

      Give it some thought if you can and when have we ever before in the history of Australia had a first term PM booted out of office by his own party, his very own deputy showing extreme loyalty to herself whilst scheming with others for his removal.

      Then add in the fringes and you have a very first female organising herself to become PM, heavily backed by unionists and unionist backed…

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  4. Daniel Boon

    logged in via LinkedIn

    In the war, snipers would shoot commissioned officers; these days the LNP and Labor parties have an entrenched 'old boys' network; they recruit people who accept being told how to act and vote ... is it any wonder that this evolved pyramid system has such an Achilles?

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  5. Gordon Comisari

    Resort Manager

    As predicted: Today the weekply polls, Tomorrow another leadership challenge or wrap it up in one foul swoop. No, better stretch it out.

    Newsflash: The real story will have to be told, sooner or later!

    Gillard has serious questions to answer.
    What was the weapon you used to stab Kevin Rudd in the back?
    And more importantly:
    Have you stopped cheating on your boyfriend? Also, have you ceased taking hallucinogenic drugs?
    Come clean Julia, answer YES or NO!
    The media and the public need to know!

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Gordon Comisari

      It must have been a rubber dagger Gordon for I can advise there were no blood stains in the PM's office nor leading from it that needed cleaning.

      And I agree, there is a great documentary series to come from the past nearly six years.
      The title has already been developed - A Place Not To Call Home .

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  6. Bazzio Newton

    retired hurt at game of life

    How pathetic and small-minded political analysis and commentary has become in Oz. "Journalism" has become nothing more than over-hyped gossip-rag content written like a script from The Bold and the Beautiful.
    Ditto the two major political parties that implicitly accept hollow rhetorical drivel in place of intelligent discourse.

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  7. Gordon Comisari

    Resort Manager

    My recommendation: for anyone who wants to keep their sanity in these trying times.
    Visit IA in regular intervals. It’ll help to re-establish a sense of normalcy and counter the sickness pervading the OZ hate media.
    Independent Australia believes in a fully and truly independent Australia, a nation that determines its own future, a nation that protects its citizens, its environment and its future. A country that is fair and free.
    Happy birthday IA.
    http://www.independentaustralia.net/

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    1. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Gordon Comisari

      I value my health as well, Gordon.

      Another interesting site on the 5th estate is here:

      http://theaimn.com/

      There are alternatives and there are places where one can find actual facts and figures.

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    1. Bazzio Newton

      retired hurt at game of life

      In reply to Bazzio Newton

      Sorry ~ comment to wrong article
      Perhaps an edit comment option ???

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  8. David More
    David More is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Designer

    Michelle, please take break and get over your obsession with insider gossip. We need you in good shape to do some real work - something to do with policies and principles affecting the future of the nation.

    Whether or not anyone in Labor is listening, very few of us out here in non-la-la-land are. There are too many real, pressing issues to deal with that have nothing to do with a sideshow up on a hill somewhere.

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    1. David Doe

      Videogame Producer

      In reply to Philippa Davern

      We're not silent, but we do get our comments moderated out of existence every now and then.

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  9. Dianna Arthur

    Environmentalist

    More people approve of Labor policies than not.

    In complete contrast to the "polls" on popularity and I'm talking about you, Newspoll. Of course this does not apply to Ms Grattan whose articles are always fair and balanced, not unlike Fox News.

    Be interesting to see how this resolves itself in September.

    "Government decisions and policies with highest approval were increased funding of health services (89% approve), increasing the age pension (78%) and increasing superannuation to 12% (75…

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    1. Peter McDermott

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      So Dianna, voters are fully aware of the policies, approve of things like the NBN and NDIS etc and *yet* still want the ALP out.

      Media conspiracy? Or perhaps, just perhaps, the electorate is making a judgement on the ALP's behaviour over the past few years.

      Internal ALP polling, union polling and all the national polls point to a loss of historic proportions. Blaming the media does not seem a terribly convincing argument for this collapse in support.

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    2. Peter McDermott

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      I enjoy Tad's analysis. Interestingly, he made the point that with Rudd at the helm, the ALP's vote goes up substantially. Gillard is the drag on the ALP's vote. She is, and remains deeply unpopular. Her ability to connect with the electorate is limited.

      You may prefer Gillard, but polls suggest that Rudd is more far likely to ensure the ALP retains a larger number of seats than Gillard. While Gillard is more popular within the party, Rudd is the one who is most likely to save seats and stop the right gaining control of the Senate.

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    3. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Were you around at the 2010 election Dianna?
      Julia does not have a party speaker controlling her at public meetings and aside from Tony wiping the floor with her, ironically at Rooty Hill, feeling pretty well rooted, she had to go and re-invent herself.

      Remember the real Julia!, whichever one that is.

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  10. Comment removed by moderator.

  11. James Hill

    Industrial Designer

    Wouldn't "Yet another bad poll for Gillard, if anyone in Australia is actually listening" more accurately sum the situation up?

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    1. Gary Gaunt

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to James Hill

      Thank you Michelle

      Not rant sometimes and recently it seems to be most of the time, it is what it is.

      Anybody who thinks the current paradigm is not just individual duelling Labor egos to the detriment of us people is just plain nuts. The Opposition cannot be held responsible and Australians are much smarter than the pols give us credit for.

      They will reap what they have sown at the election and history will not be kind to them, and what a criminal waste it has been.

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    2. karen griffiths

      retired teacher

      In reply to James Hill

      re read the headline! how emotive? 'if anyone is actually listening' where is the truth? f$%k off

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    3. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to karen griffiths

      Karen, I actually agree with Phillipa Davern on this one.
      No-one wants to hear this anymore, that might be the truth.
      I understand your dsisatisfaction, who wouldn't.

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  12. Comment removed by moderator.

  13. Comment removed by moderator.

  14. Comment removed by moderator.

  15. Paul Felix

    Builder

    I misunderstood that The Conversation came about to give intelligent, thoughtful readers an opportunity to read intelligent and thoughtful pieces of writing.
    It is true that there cannot be an expectation that all would be of the same or similar view, there are highly intelligent and articulate people on both sides of politics.
    Therefore, shouldn't your commentators offer pieces that are thought provoking and insightful?
    We could disagree with a piece but be educated as a result of reading it.
    Shouldn't there be a diversity of opinions offered to help stimulate discussion and understanding? To enable balanced and interesting conversations.
    I struggle to understand why this escapes The Conversation.

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    1. Peter Kardashinsky

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Paul Felix

      Hear, hear! But, It wasn't always so....

      Also interesting to see that the comment that I gave support to earlier, that expressed a similar opinion to yours but in a somewhat more direct way, has now been removed by "the moderator''

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    2. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Paul Felix

      Perhaps in intelligent and articulated ways Paul, people can have a discussion about many topics on TC, Michelle's included for the articles are merely catalysts for discussion as essentially all media reports are.

      The media have people on the ground attempting to find out what is going on and with something like the Labor leadership be there an event or non event, it is always going to be difficult for the key players will want to hose speculation down and the many more involved will likely being keeping their cards close so as not to reveal too much.

      As this saga gets rolled out towards the end of the current parliamentary term, still almost three months out from when we are allegedly going to have an election, many opinions get floated from authors and conversationalists alike.

      Just keep giving your opinion on the articles rather than authors and if we all do that I am sure we can have vibrant conversations.

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    3. Paul Felix

      Builder

      In reply to Greg North

      As this saga gets rolled out towards the end of the current parliamentary term, still almost three months out from when we are allegedly going to have an election, many opinions get floated from authors and conversationalists alike.

      And what gets lost in the present fog is analysis of policy; instead we get assertions, gossip and promotions of positions.

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    4. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Paul Felix

      " And what gets lost in the present fog is analysis of policy; instead we get assertions, gossip and promotions of positions. "

      Well, not quite so Paul for whilst the sub heading for the section this article is in could be said to have a better description of just politicians and rather than politics, the use of that word does have its implications.

      And then for policy articles, there are many and varied topics covered under the other sub headings and even some policy topics finding their way into the politics subheading as well.

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  16. Michael Field

    logged in via email @gmail.com

    I don't quite see it the same way Michelle. Surely Rudd will be more damaged by not standing than whatever happens after he stands? If he doesn't stand he will be regarded as no more than a wrecker by almost everyone, including many of his current supporters. Suddenly the Latham thesis - that Rudd is an evil psycho who only wants revenge - will seem plausible. He can always say 'look, kiddo, every saveloy on the barbie was begging me to run, so I had to, in the interests of the circumambient universe.' If he beats Gillard and is trounced in the election, they didn't give him enough time; if he loses to Gillard, he did his best and they failed to make the right choice. Oh, and if he wins the election he really is the Messiah and not just a nut case.

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Michael Field

      The Latham thesis does have some credibility John if not so much for Kevin.

      I gather from what Michelle reports is she has a belief like many that Labor's stocks are just going to keep going from bad to worse unless one of either Julia or Kevin make a definite move one way or another to take themselves out of the scene.

      Kevin is likely having an internal battle raging across his ego with a " Yes, I can do it and Abbott ( and Julia ) " as against " The pricks have to want me and we're likely…

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  17. Lee Emmett

    Guest House Manager

    Kevin Rudd said, after the last non-challenge, which cost key ministers their jobs, that he would not stand against Julia Gillard again.

    Imagine what Tony Abbott and the media will do if he breaks his word - 'mincemeat' comes to mind.

    And who in the Labor Party could trust him after the last three challenges?

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  18. Gary Murphy

    Independent Thinker

    Again I refer the Editors to their own stated objective "The enemy of trusted journalism is disinformation and spin" in reference to Ms Grattan's repeated reference of the ALP leadership change as a 'knifing'.

    As far as I know no actual knives were used. A democratically elected political party took a vote and decided to change their unpopular (at the time) leader.

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  19. Gordon Comisari

    Resort Manager

    Kate Ahearne at Fair Media Alliance has posted a petition to Change.org http://t.co/rSR2RvluQ2
    Calling on Rupert Murdoch, Fairfax, ABC, SBS and all other Australian media outlets: Stop interfering with the democratic process

    Please support this petition and let others know about it.

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  20. Gordon Comisari

    Resort Manager

    As a response to this article and others like it I strongly suggest to support the the petition by Kate Ahearne at Fair Media Alliance.
    She posted it to Change.org
    http://t.co/rSR2RvluQ2
    Calling on Rupert Murdoch, Fairfax, ABC, SBS and all other Australian media outlets: Stop interfering with the democratic process

    Please support this petition and let others know about it.

    report
  21. Valerie Kay

    PhD candidate, public health

    I join with Gary Murphy below in calling on the editors of The Conversation to abide by their stated objectives of avoiding disinformation and spin. Michelle Grattan has consistently, over a very long period, undermined the legitimacy and authority of the Prime Minister by referring to her as knifing or backstabbing Kevin Rudd. This is not a trivial matter. It is a concerted attempt to portray Julia Gillard as devious and a traitor, and it is entirely inappropriate. Ms Gillard took over the leadership…

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Valerie Kay

      You will find there are distinct differences between the examples you raise Valerie and what occurred with the Gillard replacing Rudd conspiracy.

      People like yourself and Gordon are the ones undermining TC if there is any undermining going on anywhere and you would do far better to converse on the topic that the article is about and not on who writes it.

      Otherwise, may we see more and more posts removed and you can always join Gordon at that IAshit place.

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    2. Gordon Comisari

      Resort Manager

      In reply to Valerie Kay

      I posted a factual hard hitting post earlier in regards to the roles BLAIR, Bush, Howard and the media played in the so called "war on terror".
      Unsurprisingly it did not pass censorship. That gives me an indication what is acceptable here on TC and what is not. The censor either did not understand it since he condescendingly described it as "weird", found the truth too confronting or had other undisclosed reasons to reject it. As you so aptly described it that goes to the heart of the matter.

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  22. Natasha turnbull

    Student

    Solution for current ALP mess:

    Both Gillard and Rudd should get out of parliament to give ALP some breathing space and clean re-start.

    Both of them are so stained and hell bend to damage ALP party.

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