I am watching all this unfold from afar, with a special kind of awe. My understanding — even though Kevin Rudd had tanked personally in the polls — was that he’d still win against the (equally unpopular) Tony Abbott on Green preferences. Clearly I was wrong. I can’t imagine Labor’s Sussex St Minions (insert BWAHAHAHA to order) ballsing something like this up. I really can’t.
Of course it’s harder for me to follow Australian politics with the same detail and precision one would expect from persons still ‘in country’, so I freely concede that this is all a bit strange and overwhelming, and that I am likely to be wrong in both the general and the particular. I must admit that when the item popped up in the BBC’s newsfeed, I went and took a look at Larvatus Prodeo, which now has so many posts on the issue I am struggling to keep track of them all. Labor types are thick on the ground there, so I counsel a visit. Start here.
I do think this is borne of panic, and of political carelessness, and (without having heard it; I’ve only read it), I also think Rudd’s speech before the vote (kindly provided over at Catallaxy) was both combative and gracious in equal measure. But then he chose not to stand, meaning that Julia Gillard now resembles UK Labour’s Gordon Brown: a Prime Minister not even elected by her own party, never mind by the people.
To my mind, she now needs to call an election without delay, partly so she can gain the benefit of her political honeymoon (which will, inevitably, last a little longer both because she is Australia’s first woman PM and a physically attractive woman at that) and partly so that she can wash the odour that attaches to unelected leaders off her person forthwith.
Often, when I think I understand Australian politics, I find it bounces away from me, hiding behind trees and rocks and jeering and wriggling its fingers. It is doing all of those things now.
Explanations are, of course, welcome.