I hope you have all read my Definitive Guide to Australian Politics post. It covers everything you need to know about how we run things here down under. But even though I am clearly an authority on the subject, I wasn’t prepared for what happened yesterday.
First, let’s go back in time and switch continents for a bit.
Harold Wilson served a couple of terms as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom back in the 60s and 70s. One of his most memorable quotes was “A week is a long time in politics”. What he meant by that was political fortunes can change very quickly.
Well, here in Australia a week in politics is a very very long time indeed. Because here in Australia a day is a long time in politics.
This event unfolded so fast I can tell you that by the time I heard about it Kevin Rudd was already an ex-prime minister. I was just on my way out to play football when I caught the opening news headlines on the TV and a short clip from his farewell speech.
What? Kevin Rudd is no longer prime minister? He was yesterday!
I knew things weren’t going too well for him. At one point his approval rating was the highest ever achieved by a Prime Minister but of late, it had fallen to a record low. His proposed super tax on the mining industry had not been received well, to put it mildly. And when he tried to strengthen his argument for it by throwing $38.5M of taxpayers money at an advertising campaign, he scored a spectacular own goal. Because before he was elected he branded the use of taxpayers money for government advertising as “a cancer”.
With political parties only staying in power for three years here in Australia, we are due another general election at the end of the year. Labour felt they could not win another election with him, so out he went. Superfast!
So, Australia now has its first ever female prime minister, Julia Gillard. Before the coup, (the day before yesterday) she was his Deputy Prime Minister. She moves fast, it took Gordon Brown about 6 years to oust Tony!
Both the videos I added here from YouTube have since been removed for who knows what reason. Perhaps both ministers didn’t like them and got them removed. So I have found a couple of replacements. This first one, Julia Gillard does like, it’s just the rest of Australia who doesn’t like it.
Here she is, in Brisbane, trying to sell us on more taxes…
And here’s one of Kevin Rudd in top form….
And with that, we say goodbye to “The Milky Bar Kid”.