During the events of the last few days I have been amazed at how many comments have been made by people concerning their disappointment in not being able to vote Kevin Rudd out or Julia Gillard in. The other comment that has perhaps not surprised me as much is that people have felt that Julia Gillard has betrayed Kevin Rudd. Well I don’t really agree with either of these statements and I believe I have good reasons for this.
Whether you agree with me or not I would you encourage you to read on maybe you will see my point by the end maybe you won’t. Either way I would like to hear your thoughts so why not leave a comment.
Anyway onto my my opinion in regards to these statements.
Voting for the Prime Minister.
The simple fact is that in Australia we don’t vote for the Prime Minister. We never have and probably never will.
The way it works is people in an electorate vote for who they want as their local member. Now you can vote along party lines or for the person who you think will do the best jobs, that is up to you to decide. The party with the most people elected as local representatives will become the governing party and in effect the Government. At the moment this is the Labor Party. The members of this party get to decide who will be their Parliamentary Leader. This is usually done before the election. It is this Parliamentary Leader who is given the title of Prime Minister. The party gets to choose who this is and not the voting public.
So why have people gotten so up in arms about wanting to have the chance to vote for the who they want as Prime Minister instead of the party choosing. I don’t really know why they think this way but what I think they are really reacting to is the way the leadership spill happened. If people had have been asked whether they would prefer Kevin Rudd as the Prime Minister or Julia Gillard, I think they would have chosen Julia Gillard. Certainly polls this morning would seem to suggest this to be the case.
Today’s Newspoll, in which voters rate her as a better Prime Minister by 53 per cent to Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s 29 per cent.
Labor’s primary vote has also jumped under Julia Gillard from 35 to 42 per cent while the Coalition remains unchanged at 40 per cent.
And in the two-party preferred results Labor now sits at 53 per cent to the Coalition’s 47 per cent.
I would suggest that the shock of the leadership spill is wearing off and people are starting realise that the sky is not falling even though they didn’t get to choose the Prime Minister themselves. Certainly voters seem to be warming to Julia Gillard.
So while we all play a part in voting for the Government, and some may cast their vote along party lines because they like the proposed Prime Minister that it will produce. We have no real ability to actually vote for the Prime Minister. I would actually say that people who vote along party lines are wasting their vote because if the candidate put up by the party you vote for is a complete idiot , why would you want them to be your local representative. Unfortunately this does seem to happen from time to time just take a look around at some of people in Parliament.
Betrayer: Julia or Kevin?
So who betrayed who, Julia or Kevin.
Now while the leadership spill was quick I don’t think you can really call it unexpected. Certainly media speculation had been rife in the weeks and months leading up to the spill The Labor Party was not doing well in the polls and Kevin Rudd didn’t seem to be doing anything to correct the situation. In fact it was his determination to keep carrying on with policies that didn’t make sense to popular thinking that was causing much of his downturn in the polls. The mining tax was a perfect example of this, standing stubbornly steadfast not willing to negotiate, this did not fare well with voters.
So where do I see Kevin’s betrayal.
Well it starts at the end of last year when the Government had a double dissolution trigger and the plan amongst senior Labor members was to use that trigger in the beginning of 2010. Well at this time was when Kevin’s childrens book came out and of course Kevin Rudd was feeling very chuffed with himself and couldn’t be bothered about any double dissolution. He was riding high, Labor was still doing well in the polls and he had so much else to do. Why should he call an election. Why indeed.
Well he should have called an election then because they had agreed to take such action. It would give them a mandate for the plans they already had. Aside from Labor already doing well in the polls they had a very good chance of wining a double dissolution election, history has shown us this.
Instead he put together his Kitchen Cabinet or Gang of Four, which did no end of damage to him amongst his own junior ministers especially. He introduced his mining profits tax and held his non negotiable position creating a feeling of uncertainty and fear that the Opposition was able to capitalise on.
Mostly Kevin Rudd was not the same “Kevin 07″ who had won them the election. Where was the all knowing, all caring man of the people. He had disappeared and in his place was a stubborn, dictatorial meany who yelled at people just because they bought him the wrong dinner.
All this was leading the Labor Party to a certain election loss and Kevin Rudd would not listen to his party members.
I am sure that Julia Gillard and others tried to talk to Kevin Rudd and bring things back on track with him at the helm but this didn’t make any difference.
So what choice did the Labor party have. To push ahead with Kevin as their leader and almost certainly loose the election or to take a chance and put someone in the Prime Ministers seat who could lead them to victory. They had to act and they had to act soon. Time was running out. Kevin Rudd had left them with no choice.
That is why I say that Julia Gillard did not betray Kevin Rudd. Quite the contrary, she had tried to keep him in the job, she was happy to keep going as Deputy Prime Minister, but it came to a point where she was out of alternatives and she was the best person to take on the Prime Ministers role. I am sure that despite her ambitions that this was not the way she would have liked to gain that position, not the way the first female Prime Minister was supposed to come into being.
So it was in fact Kevin Rudd who betrayed Julia Rudd and the Labor party by not acting in the parties best interests, by keeping decision making within the narrow confines of the Gang of Four and by not being the Kevin who won them the election and becoming the Kevin who was going to loose them the election.
It is Kevin’s Rudd’s actions that have created this situation and it is Kevin Rudd who could have avoided it all Julia Gillard just did what she felt she had to do.