Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Very Australian Coup

Imagine if Hillary Clinton walked into the Oval Office and told President Obama she had requested a vote of confidence by the Democratic Party in his leadership. Imagine also that Hillary informed Obama that she would be challenging him for his leadership.

This is essentially what just happened in Australia. Yesterday, Julia Gillard was Deputy Leader of Australia's governing Labor Party. Gillard informed Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd there would a leadership vote against him in 24 hours and that she would be standing against him. Rudd declined to participate in the leadership contest. Today, Julia Gillard is the Prime Minister of Australia and at helm of Australia's Labor Party.

What a dramatic fall from grace for Rudd who less than three years ago soundly defeated the Liberal-National government of John Howard. The discontent with Rudd centered around his environmental policies. The Left was angry with him for abandoning a cap and trade plan (called an emissions trading scheme Down Under) while the Right was angry with him for trying to impose a "super tax" on the resource sector.

For her part, Gillard becomes the first woman to serve as Australia's Prime Minister. However, Gillard has her cut out for her as the Labor Party is behind in the polls to the Liberals who are led by Tony Abbott. But with an election not expected until October or November, Gillard has time on her side.

Ironically, Abbott wrested the Liberal Party leadership away from Malcolm Turnbull last December because of his support for an emissions trading scheme.

This was a very Australian coup indeed.

No comments: