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Spill ’13 – #WhippedCrean

The Players:

Julia Gillard:

Deputy Labor Party leader since 2006, Deputy Prime Minister 2007-2010, Prime Minister 2010-present. She announced the leadership vacant after rising internal and external pressures. Whilst she is considered quite unpopular among voters, she is more popular within the Party, having previously beaten Kevin Rudd in Spill ‘12 by more than double. She retained the leadership after no challengers emerged.

Simon Crean:

Labor party leader from 2001-2002, in Parliament since 1990, considered an “elder statesman” of the party according to former Chief Whip Joel Fitzgibbon. He had previously come out in wake of the last leadership spill to reassert his support of Julia Gillard and label Kevin Rudd as “disloyal”. He triggered the leadership spill by calling a press conference and nominating himself for the Deputy Leadership. He encouraged Kevin Rudd to run for the leadership. Gillard fired him from his position as Minister for Arts and Regional Australia shortly before Question Time.

Wayne Swan:

Deputy Labor Party leader and Deputy Prime Minister since 2010, Treasurer since 2007. Swan is a strong Gillard supporter. Before the party meeting he tweeted that Gillard would “win today & on 14 Sept”. He retained his position after Simon Crean decided not to challenge.

Kevin Rudd:

Labor leader from 2006-2010, Prime Minister from 2007-2010. He came to power on the back of 2007’s famous “Ruddslide”, which delivered a Labor Government for the first time in more than a decade. However his popularity soon began to slide, and in May 2010 he was challenged by his then-Deputy, Gillard, for the leadership. He decided not to stand for a vote, and stepped aside in a tearful press conference. He challenged again for the leadership in February 2012, this time bringing it to a vote which he lost, 71-31. In the wake of this, he declared that he would not contest the leadership again unless “drafted” by his colleagues. He remains personally more popular than Gillard with the electorate, and there has been frequent talk in the press of Labor suffering less of a defeat – or even producing an unlikely victory – if he were to return to the leadership.

The Future:

Polls have yet to be released to see if there has been any direct response to this event, but it’s safe to say that the only winner from Spill ’13 has been Tony Abbott and the Liberal National Coalition. Currently languishing at less than 35% of the two party preferred votes, it’s hard to see how this turn of events will improve the public’s perception of the Labor party. The Labor party needs now, more than ever, to unite behind their leader and deputy leader and focus on policy and the upcoming election, however it is unlikely that the Opposition, or the media, will let that happen.

About Amy Fitzgerald

I’m Amy and I’m a 3rd year Arts student majoring in Politics and Journalism studies. I enjoy taking long, moonlit stumbles from Sir John’s Bar to the Nott and turning everything my hair touches a delicate shade of pink. I also enjoy gluten free food of nearly all varieties, and staying away from sunlight.

Amy Fitzgerald

The author Amy Fitzgerald

I’m Amy and I’m a 3rd year Arts student majoring in Politics and Journalism studies. I enjoy taking long, moonlit stumbles from Sir John’s Bar to the Nott and turning everything my hair touches a delicate shade of pink. I also enjoy gluten free food of nearly all varieties, and staying away from sunlight.

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