Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard seems certain to survive a leadership ballot scheduled for 10am Monday Sydney time (6pm Sunday EST).
Gillard became PM in June 2010 after winning a similar vote of the parliamentary members of the ruling Labor Party, deposing then PM Kevin Rudd. It’s been downhill without any brakes ever since.
Gillard’s party failed to win a majority of seats in the House of Representatives in the 2010 election. Afterwards, she was reappointed as Prime Minister only after winning the support of a motley crew of independents and a Greens member who, together, held the balance of power.
Gillard appears desperately unpopular with the Australian public. Labor is polling below 35% nationally in opinion polls, with Gillard’s personal popularity nudging against the Crazification Factor, despite a steadily growing economy, some significant policy wins (like a new carbon tax) and the fact that the leader of the opposition Liberal (conservative) party, Tony Abbott, is a hatchet-faced wowser best known for being photographed far too often wearing only budgie-smugglers.
I suspect this is because Gillard has yet to show that she is in possession of a spine or any particular left wing ideals other than holding onto power.
Today’s vote is unlikely to resolve anything in the long term. Gillard will continue to be seen as a weak leader. Rudd will return to the backbench until the next, inevitable challenge, and Abbott (a man who makes Joe Lieberman look warm and fuzzy) will continue to await the downfall of a government with no particular direction and no particular hope of survival.
Isn’t it nice to know that our allies are almost as fucked up as we are?
Update: Gillard wins with 72-29, one vote better than most predictions.