Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Resurrection in Oz stunning

Rudd deposes Gillard three years after Gillard deposed Rudd

  • Print

BRISBANE -- He's been called a psychopath, a narcissist and a foul-mouthed crypto-fascist and Thursday morning he was sworn in as Australia's 28th prime minister.

Kevin Rudd, 55, has performed one of the most stunning political resurrections in Australian history almost three years to the day after his own colleagues nailed him to the cross and left him weeping over his fate in a frozen Canberra courtyard.

On June 24, 2010, 21/2 years after he won office, Rudd's own ruling Australian Labor Party threw him out of the PM's office and installed his deputy, Julia Gillard.

On Wednesday night, the ALP performed the same party trick, this time in reverse. Following reports that Rudd was manoeuvering to have a leadership vote by caucus members, Gillard called one and lost 57 to 45. The nation's first female PM was believed to be leading the party to a political Little Big Horn in an election to be held on Sept. 14 poll.

She quickly resigned as prime minister and announced that she will not seek re-election. She is expected to return to the practice of law.

The re-anointed Rudd, the stone rolled away from his tomb, stepped back onto the centre political stage with a flick of that floppy silver hair and a self-deprecating grin.

Now the Mandarin-speaking former diplomat who began life on a humble Queensland share farm is planning another miracle -- winning the September election.

It doesn't get any weirder than this.

Replace a slain leader with a slain leader, and even a Mafia hit man might raise an eyebrow.

What the Australian public make of it remains to be seen. What is certain is that three years of cold war between Gillard and Rudd have left a deep distaste for politics in an electorate hungry for stability.

The entire two-party system, which allows for a change of what many suspected is pretty much the same guard every few years, has never been more on the nose.

Two new parties are circling, hoping to make inroads into the 150-seat lower house and 76-seat Senate.

But there's no doubt Rudd, despite inspiring the hatred of many in his own party with his temper and relentless micromanaging, has an almost mystical hold on the Australian people guaranteed to lift Labor's flagging fortunes.

Highly cerebral in an anti-intellectual nation, ungainly amid a people who worship athleticism, an observant Christian living in a secular world, Rudd has skipped through hoops of paradox to become a celebrity politician without equal.

A colleague, Steve Gibbons, who holds the Labor seat of Bendigo, once called him a "psychopath with a giant ego,'' while everyone from Gillard to the now-former treasurer Wayne Swan have lined up to point out his failings as a leader and a human being,

Many Labor MPs were prepared to make the September election the party's own funeral pyre rather than allow Rudd back. After he won Wednesday night's ballot, a host of front-bench talent, including the defence minister, announced they were leaving politics.

But the people love him. Loyalty oaths are declared, intimate family anecdotes shared and spirits buoyed as crowds swarm around Rudd when he appears at a shopping mall or a suburban sausage sizzle.

Just last Sunday, after exiting the Anglican Church in South Brisbane after his weekly spiritual benediction, Rudd was showing that effortless ease he has with the Australian public.

As he strolled the footpath towards his favourite coffee shops, two pestering journalists flanking him, a distinguished woman of about 80 approached and asked how he felt.

"Fine,'' he replied. "And you?''

"I pray for you every day,'' she replied.

Opposition leader Tony Abbott might also try some prayers. Abbott's ride to power appeared effortless with Gillard as an opponent.

Rudd's return makes the September election a far more interesting contest.


Michael Madigan is the Free Press correspondent in Australia. He writes mostly about politics for the Brisbane-based Courier Mail.

 

Oz a 'time bomb'

Australia has been called a "leveraged time bomb waiting to blow" due to its reliance on sales of natural resources to China. For that reason, Australia is a microcosm of what awaits the world as China's economy slows, William Pesek writes.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 28, 2013 A13

History

Updated on Friday, June 28, 2013 at 8:54 AM CDT: adds link

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Family of Matias De Antonio speaks outside Law Courts

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A Canada Goose cools off in a water pond Monday afternoon at Brookside Cemetary- See Bryksa’s Goose a day Challenge– Day 27-June 25, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Challenges of Life- Goose Goslings jump over railway tracks to catch up to their parents at the Canadian Pacific Railway terminalon Keewatin St in Winnipeg Thursday morning. The young goslings seem to normally hatch in the truck yard a few weeks before others in town- Standup photo- ( Day 4 of Bryksa’s 30 day goose project) - Apr 30, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What are you most looking forward to this Easter weekend?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google