Canberra Diary, Wednesday Night

7.10 pm

Lots of microphones and big cameras, and heat. Though the outcome is certain Gillard goes by looking confident. But she always does.

Interesting how fast things happen. Twelve hours ago it seemed likely Oakeshott and Windsor would keep their seats, and Abbott be Prime Minister in September. Now it is likely Rudd will be Prime Minister till he is sixty, and Carr Foreign Minister till he is seventy.

And my Rudd miniseries be a ten-parter.

Or cancelled altogether.

It would be good if he did not rush into an election, but ‘acclimatise’ himself to his new high office in a number of Question Times and overseas trips till early, or late November.

But he’s not going to listen to me.

Is he.

7.32 pm

Been waiting a long time. They must be sorting the ministries. Plibersek Deputy, maybe, Bowen Treasurer, Crean Arts and Communications, Shorten where he is now, Carr where he is now…

7.58 pm

The result. Rudd 57, Gillard 43. No Deputy ballot yet. Swanny addressing the meeting.

8.20 pm

A lot of restless, silent standing about. I should be at the Kingo playing pool with Craig Thomson and watching the footie. Ah well.

A good book title: Suddenly, Last Winter (2).

10.10 pm

After two hours of what I call ‘situational claustrophobia’ — watching the defeated walk by and then the victors, looking equally fraught, and Hawker once more, almost gloomily sauntering, head down, into the loop — I go to the Kingo, can’t find Craig, can’t find anyone relevant, eat corned beef and mash and sauerkraut, drink Peroni and think about things.

It is clear to me that twenty-three ministers and ex-ministers — Carr, Clare, Combet, Dreyfus, Faulkner, Kelly, Lundy, Macklin, Plibersek, Roxon, Shorten, Smith, Swan, Wong, Albo, Bowen, Bradbury, Burke, Debus, Kerr, McKew, McMullan, Beazley — would have made a better Prime Minister than Rudd. And, had any of them put their hands up, they would have probably beaten him to the prize. But he had the neurosis to seek it, and intrigue for it. And there you go.

And he had as well the quality Gillard did not, which was lucid calm combativeness. He knew, or he tried to know, where the arguments could be won. In his pitch today he showed that ability. It is an ability Shorten, Combet, Plibersek, Clare and Kelly also have. But he also had the gall to flaunt it on morning television. And so it went. And so it goes.

And hail him, all hail him. Here he is.


I watch Lateline, or most of it, in Malvolio Towers. Tony Jones exposes himself as a Liberal as never before. He batters himself like the rough rude sea against the rocklike calm of Beattie and Carr and their verbal swiftness, asking repeatedly if the women of Australia will ever forgive you for throwing out the first female Prime Minister. He never asked this of Campbell Newman; or Jeff Kennett; or Richard Court; or Paul Henderson: if the women would ever forgive them for throwing out the first female Premier — Anna Bligh; Joan Kirner; Carmen Lawrence; Clare Martin — or if Major would ever be forgiven for throwing out Thatcher. He was. They were. They each of them did it, and won a subsequent election.

It puts Abbott in a nightmare. If Gillard was wrong to ‘stab’ Rudd, how was it wrong to punish her? Were the’faceless men’ wrong to do a bad thing, and then a good thing? To resore the people’s choice? Should the author of our economic salvation be thrown out for it?

I talk for a while to two young men who are interested to know I am a writer. They too think Labor will win now, and Tony Jones is clutching at straws.

I go back to my room and fall quickly asleep.

Leave a comment ?


  1. I agree. A later election- the end of October or mid November- is eminently sensible.

  2. And News Limited should not be calling the election before the votes are counted. Bad form.

  3. Plibersek Deputy! Yeh right and I’m going to win tatslotto this week! :mrgreen:

  4. Abbott is cactus with Rudd as PM. Labor to win. You heard it here first.

    • Hahaha! I will remind you of your words in August.

      • Yea Frank remind me as well. Rudd has won the leadership as I predicted, he will go on to win the election.

        • Gillard should have been dealt with by Labor two years ago Phil. She, as Bob Ellis once prophetically wrote had no “hinterland”, no depth, no insight, no measure, no artistry, but Rudd despite his brief sugar hit with the electorate, will twirl down the gurgular, just like her.

          I don’t need to read the polls to figure that out. But, what a great three part miniseries Bob has on his hands.

          1. The Rise of Rudd
          2. The Rudd Kniffing
          3. The Rudd Resurgence

          In skillful hands, it could make a great story.
          The end result? An Abbott Victory. But that is another story…

          • Frank call me a wanker if you like, God knows I’ve called you one enough times.

            I really don’t know what circles people move in on this blog, I have a cross section of friends, they all for some reason I don’t understand, hate Gillard’s guts.

            I mentioned before I have single mothers as (wife) friends. They were cut off a large chunk of social welfare under Gillard’s direction.

            The fact that Abbott is going to do more to them in spades is, unfortunately lost on them. I was told by so called wiser heads here I was talking bollocks.

            Labor’s brief is to increase the lot of the working class, not fuck them over.

            But, Rudd will, if not win, go close.

            I will go further if the polls, if an election is not held sooner than the scheduled date, show Labor in a fight. They will dump Abbott.

            • Correct. Abbott can’t the fight up to Rudd, they’ll have to bring in Turnbull to come close..

            • Phil, don’t underestimate carbon pollution. Obama just gave immense authority to the Labor position today. Rudd will ram it down his throat relentlessly, but possibly reduce the tariff. The good ship Labor sails on, the iceberg has Abbots name on it. We can win.

              • Indeed we can Chris. If not, Abbott will not be able to help himself. The power trip will go to his head.

                I truly fear for my kids (kids !Jesus my eldest son is 43) future.

                Yes, it’s becoming clear to the die hard denialists. There is something crook in Tullerook.

      • Libs have hit the panic button with stupid shrill ads already. There is an overwhelming public surge coming back to ALP nothing u can do to stop it.

      • Its a whole new ball game Frank.

        The only ‘prediction’ I will be looking at is whether or not Rudd as leader “loses 50 seats”. Heh……

  5. 3 cheers for sensibility.
    Let the Ludwig lovers crawl under a rock and shut the fuck up about their shoulda, woulda, coulda whiny bitch experiment.

    Back to business. :)

  6. To quote Dr Evatt, “get their names, get their names!” becaue i want to see everyone of those 57 pusillanimous poltroons ground to dust.

  7. wouldabeenthespian

    Shorten the Odds .. Time to put away the sword, it was in the end the gallant Gillard who fell upon it.

    Kevin Rudd has played the game and won outright. For all my prior predictions, today, I was wrong.

    Am saddened by the loss of the good, strong and brave PM Julia Gillard and am at least able to find enthusiasm in the lasting legacy she will leave.

    We play politics hard in Labor and for sincere reasons I have backed our first lady Prime Minister until the end. The end has been and gone and now we must do what it takes to ensure that cruel and callous conservatism does not deliver a dissection of us all.

    • I have some sympathy for that.
      I hope Rudd has learned from his short stay in the wilderness.
      For the rest Julia Gillard did what she could in political adversity: the experiment of the country’s first female PM can’t be said to have been a failure- the main failures were in the ranks of the human garbage that calls itself the press gallery.

  8. Ugh. The fake is back in.

    At least with Gillard you knew what you were getting. Rudd is just a smarmy populist.

  9. Reward for white-anting his own party for 2 years. Shorten at last showed all where his moral fibre lies. The end of once a proud party. Greens vote to jump to 15% plus. Glad I am living in Yangon for 2 years

  10. How utterly depressing Aussie politics are.

    There is a good chance we end up some empty vessel like Abbott as the PM, and no one seems to be one bit worried,

    Now that Gillard has been ripped to pieces and thrown aside, lets start on Kevin…how terribly ugly.

  11. Swan, Conroy, Combet, Emerson and Ludwig - all feather dusters.
    Penny Wong is a winner.
    Did you see her striding with Rudd? She’s no dill. She knows what side her fried rice is on.

    • Sorry Frank, not in the mood for your nastiness…

      • Sorry Helvi. I was gloating. I appologize. Just watched Gillard’s concession speech. No feeling. She spoke like a robot. Does the woman have any feelings?

        • Your a fucking dog Frank, your apology to Helvi is just a chance to stick it to Gillard, a cunt act from a cunt bloke.

          How I’m feeling tonight Frank I’d love to catch up with you.
          What do say Frank, want to catch up for a drink and a chat?
          Say goodbye to your misses first.

        • Horrible comment Frank.

          Watch it or you may be banned for life.

          • What exactly did I say that distressed you folk? Gillard spoke with no connection. Like a robot. Watch the video again. You will see I am right.

            • I watched it. I connected.

              You simply do not know how to listen. Its your problem.

            • Come on Frank, no need to join them. Besides, objectively, it was a good enough speech in the circumstances. Little wonder that psychological strength was on show all day now that I see that was a quality that I see now that she always respected in John Howard and Phillip Ruddock and desired to emulate it. What else was she to say after such a momentous day. Once it was finally over?

              She did bring in what is to be her legacy (maybe by her all the time, maybe by many others like Anne Summers) “I was a woman” but even that was okay. It was part of her theme anyway. Part of her.

              To me the only thing she showed (when she was deputy) was that she would and could stare down the strongest of unions – teachers – at times, long ago.

        • Frank, you got the vaseline out for nothing didn’t you, hoping to have a crying woman to wank over.

    • Franky:-yes…she wears the pants!

  12. It’s all too ugly. Time for an exit to a small apartment in the 3d or 4th arrondissement in Paris.

  13. And Lo, a great light was seen in the firmament;
    The earth shook, the media screeched,
    And all about bellowed Behold the Man!

    There stood revealed the Messiah,
    Clothed in the glory of the blue tie;
    The media crooned, the pundits glared,
    And all about declared it was good.

    Yea, all about declared it was good,
    And the people rejoiced,
    And danced naked in the streets,
    And poured forth their adoration for the Second Coming.

    For all hailed the Messiah Kevin,
    Victor over the evil Red Witch
    That had so beguiled the Commonwealth
    For three long years.

    Under the rocks and stones where lurked the Noalition,
    and under the bridges where lurked the trolls,
    there was consternation;
    a weeping and a wailing and a gnashing of teeth.

    The mighty of Caucus looked down upon its works,
    And it was good.

  14. The Liberals story is (1) debt (2) borders (3) carbon tax.

    It is a crap story but it has been unchallenged so long that among politically ignorant people, and stupid people, and suggestible people, it has assumed the status of common sense, of what sane people believe.

    The ALP needs to make that story sound ridiculous.

  15. Bugger. My wife has taken the remote off me and made me watch the ABC and Anabell Crabbe talking Bullshit to Leigh Sailes!
    SkyNews is what a real man should watch. Should I divorce my wife?

  16. What are you all squealing about? I thought you guys would be happy to not lose so many seats.
    Bob has moved on anyway,he knows the way the wind blows.

  17. Kevin was ‘knifed’.
    Julia was ‘replaced’.
    l have no idea who was in the Rudd camp that orchestrated all this. Do they have faces?

  18. Rudd seems like a poor imitation of himself. Warmed up leftovers, what a waste of time and effort. Now that he is there even he sees what an anti climax he is.

  19. Latham is right. Rudd is a psychopath. How can we now take this party seriously.

    • Latham is working for the Liberal Party, represented on their attack adds. I wonder if they they paid him?

  20. A few thoughts from me which, whilst obviously unwelcome and not in any way supportive of the political nihilist Kevin Rudd, might offer some hope to you all (Helvi included).

    First Rudd is a person who, politically, believes in nothing and so nothing is beyond him. ‘Whatever is popular” could even define his politics and be his epitaph. Thus, expect “popular” things to be his sole purpose from now until the election. That means no real fights for anything and neutralising everything which is getting traction for the other side of politics. An interesting example of this recently (and of the Gillard ‘tin ear’) was the issue earlier this year of northern development. Whilst the Gillard team did to that what they did to the sleeping issue of flexible child care hours and in-home care and that was to attack it unmercifully as a means to kill it AS an issue. As with the nannies one, Rudd’s comment (seen, naturally, as his secret opposition undermining etc) was that it was a “bi-partisan issue”. There is more to come on this popular policy and expect Rudd t match it and neutralise it. With Katter mentioning Rudds attitude to it today you can rest assured that Katter will insist on there being no damage to him by having the Libs get all the running on this.

    At the time the modest, but important issue of flexible child care came up I remember thinking how stupid the ALP was to attack it (with all the handbag mob of course) when all they had to do was agree to have it looked at by the Productivity Commission AFTER the election like Abbott promised and that would have killed it overnight. But no, of course not, no one could see that! They had to wait for nurses and many other groups to come out publicly to say that this flexibility was necessary and then they had to scramble to change, but by never accepting anything which would have upset the union strongholds the long day care centres which were failing the people.

    So he won’t be backward in coming forward on anything he has previously championed but drop it, turnaround or whatever it takes to eliminate it or limit the damage. While everyone rightly took it as a political point that Gillard was the one who persuaded Rudd to drop the ‘greatest moral issue of our time’ I personally thought that this was natural for Rudd to do IF he thought it was now unpopular.

    How he will go about the boats remains to be seen but limiting the damage is as important as anything else.

    Conroy is gone! Media attacks will be neutralised as much as possible and while he won’t risk ANOTHER rebuff from Rupert Murdoch when he tried to have Chris Mitchell sacked as editor of the Australian, he won’t be likely to accept another attack on free speech that Conroy and Gillard championed. And he will love the NBN to death of course anyway.
    AND McTernan is gone. Think of that. Talk about tin ears!!!. What a fantastic blunder that was. While even I used the name ‘McTernan’ as a partly-generic way to describe the terrible Gillard media liaison policy, there can be no doubt now that from him all the stunts and disasters got from him ”their first head and spring”. The Womens Weakly stunt proved that for all time, even if the General Patton speech didn’t conclusively do so.

    So, not all doom and gloom eh?

    • No brainers: Use the trip to Indonesia to immediately restart meat trade supplying them. To the fullest extent possible. Ignore the bleeding hearts. Shore up north and north-western Qld.

      Sideline the Greens. They see the writing on the wall already, criticising the ALP (‘NSW disease’).

      We shall see more in the coming days no doubt.

    • The whatever is popular epitaph has already been taken by that king of mindless mantra’s - Abbott. Not even Howard’s populism comes close to Abbott’s fucked up reductionism. Say what you like about Rudd’s politiking but don’t try and compare the prince to the king.

      You don’t offer ‘hope’ Ryutin, all you offer is more bias, propaganda and infantile niggling ( handbag brigade - really??).
      Go and join frank in the ‘I’m a fucking idiot and I’m irrelevant’ corner.

      Fuck you.

  21. CONROY IS GONE…yes and I didn’t like him much but I must say I will miss him for ONE thing….his debates with Turnbull. CONROY REALLY knew his stuff and on every occasion they debated he absolutely slaughtered Malcolm. The man DID master his brief and no matter who replaces him nobody will be able to argue Labor’s case on the NBN better than CONROY.

  22. Steady on fellow.
    We don’t know who the Minister will be yet.

    • No matter who he or she is, there is no way he/she can master what has taken Conroy years to master. The NBN thing is a complicated animal mate.

  23. Provided there are no glitches constitutionally, those of us involved in the party need to get busy.
    This is Labor.

  24. I’m worried that the Labor Caucus has fallen for the Rinehart/Fairfax and Murdoch/NewsLimited poll con.

    Rudd polls as the most popular politician; he outpolls Gillard. So they remove Gillard.

    Problem is the poll blowtorch will now go onto Rudd. How long before we’re back to where we are today? Except that the press will have Rudd’s scalp as well as Gillard’s.

    Abbott has been anointed by the most faceless of faceless men. if the electorate fall for his faux folksy three word fairytales, it will be a victory for lies and propaganda.

    And a defeat for free and fair elections.

    • Dali, despite the sleet-hail of criticism the “cheesy nerd” Kevin Rudd cops, we should all observe one thing, his undeniable political dexterity, his belief in himself, and his extraordinary ability to capture the public imagination. Abbott’s attack adds are an anthem for Rudd, the electorate is not a pup (Hawke), and they will say to themselves, if he’s come back from this position (water boy) then he must be resilient beyond belief. The more the right wing attack Rudd the better, the more the public will resist, the less time Abbott will have to present policies, of which there are none, but thats to his detriment, for allowing his party to become a one-trick pony, based on negativity alone. Rudd will be merciless on this. Politics is a long and winding road, the story unfolds as the journey progresses. Abbott the Rhodes Scholar is off the road, parked up some politial byway, he ignored the sign, WRONG WAY GO BACK, he’s treated the electorate as a pup and now that pup has grown into a dog and it will rip his balls out. Malcom will lead the opposition.

  25. Noticed a snap Morgan Poll, held after tonight’s change that had lifted the ALP to 49.5%, LNP 50.5%
    2pp I imagine.
    And here’s an interesting thing, it was done via SMS on mobiles.(2500+ participants)

  26. Polls, polls, polls.

    Are they merely part of the Murdoch regime change plan? As in the USA, where nearly every one was way off target, though some pretended to “discover a late swing to Obama” after forecasting Romney for months.

    There is clearly something wrong with their model when it is off target as often as it has been. phone polls have an obvious flaw as Bob Ellis has been pointing out often.

    They clearly need to do better, or not bother; they live or die by their credibility I would have thought. Unless they are actually propaganda and not information, they ought to be out of business.

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