Prime Minister Kevin Rudd of Australia has been dumped by his Labor Party colleagues. He has been replaced by Julia Girard, Australia’s first female PM.
Support for her predecessor, Kevin Rudd, began to wane when he scrapped the centerpiece of his environmental policy, an emissions trading scheme, earlier this year. The decision led to accusations of political cowardice. Support continued to evaporate when the former leader announced plans for a controversial mining tax.
In the end, Labor’s power brokers decided Mr. Rudd, a man who led the party to a big election win in November 2007, was a liability.
Australia’s voters turned to Rudd after the extended tenure of the conservative Prime Minister John Howard, elected in 2001. As Encyclopaedia Britannica summarizes:
In 2007 Rudd increased his calls for Howard to set a date for the next federal elections and urged the prime minister to meet him in face-to-face debates. Rudd—who was riding a wave of popular support at the same time that Howard’s voter-satisfaction ratings were dropping—promised to bring a new leadership style to Australian politics. He called for a clear-cut exit strategy for Australian forces in Iraq, and he criticized Howard for recent rises in interest rates. In addition, Rudd stressed the importance of improving health services. To that end, he announced a comprehensive public health reform plan that he vowed to set in motion early in his administration if he was elected prime minister.
- BBC News, “Australia miners ‘hopeful’ on tax
- The Guardian, “Profile: Julia Gillard, Australia’s first female PM”
- Bloomberg, “Gillard Becomes Australian Leader, Ousting Rudd”
Full coverage at The Age, Sydney.
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