Hillary Clinton On China

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has delivered an important speech on China which appears to depart from the line previously taken by the Obama Administration.

Addressing the US Institute of Peace China Conference to celebrate the 40th anniversary of President Nixon’s visit to China, Clinton seemed to call for another “Nixon moment”. [Read more...]


Bob Carr Enters The Senate And Becomes Foreign Minister

Bob CarPrime Minister Julia Gillard has announced that former NSW Premier Bob Carr is to enter the Senate and become Foreign Minister.

After several days of uncertainty and denials, the announcement came as a surprise today when Gillard announced the ministerial reshuffle arising from the resignation of Kevin Rudd and his failed leadership challenge.

Carr will fill the casual Senate vacancy created by the resignation of Mark Arbib. [Read more...]


Gillard And Her Caucus: Sink Or Swim Together

The Labor caucus has bound itself to Julia Gillard. It is impossible to imagine a Rudd revival.

Julia GillardWhilst disquiet will arise again if Gillard stumbles, it is equally difficult to imagine a so-called third candidate emerging.

The caucus and Gillard will sink or swim together.

The 71-31 vote in favour of Gillard is a handy reminder of the culture and prerogatives of the parliamentary party room.

“You need to target the right constituency,” Mark Latham said on television this morning, arguing that Rudd lost votes by campaigning in the media instead of concentrating on the caucus.

The message to the electorate is also stark and direct. Forget Kevin Rudd, he’s not coming back. June 2010 was then. Now it’s Gillard or Abbott. Make your choice. [Read more...]


Liberal Ad: Lemons Never Change Their Spots

The Liberal Party has released another update of their “Kevin O’Lemon” advertisement.

The update coincides with Kevin Rudd’s resignation as Foreign Minister and his challenge to Julia Gillard’s leadership next Monday.


Will Labor Keep Marching Off The Cliff?

I was leaning on the counter of a well-known department store at 5.20pm last night when I became aware of Kevin Rudd’s face on about 50 television sets along one wall.

Kevin RuddThe strap with “Rudd Resigns” suddenly jumped out at me and I involuntarily blurted the news to the young salesman opposite.

His instant, unsolicited response?

“I hoped it was going to be her.”

And therein lies the dilemma that only the ALP’s wilfully blind will not concede.

Julia Gillard may treat the other 102 caucus members respectfully, as Wayne Swan claimed last night. She may smile at them and make them feel consulted. She may master her brief and get on well with the public servants in Canberra. She may navigate the hung parliament with skill.

But in the broader community she is electoral poison: disliked, distrusted and dismissed.

That is why Kevin Rudd is on a plane flying home to Australia today. He is the anti-Gillard. If she was any good, he wouldn’t even matter. [Read more...]


Rudd Has No Labor Values, Says Swan

8.40pm – Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan has excoriated Kevin Rudd in a statement released just hours after the Foreign Minister’s resignation.

Wayne SwanSwan’s statement, issued on plain paper, says Rudd has never been a “loyal or selfless example” of the ALP’s “values and objectives”. Swan says Rudd “has been putting his own self-interest ahead of the interests of the broader labour movement and the country as a whole”.

According to Swan, Julia Gillard has “the overwhelming support of our colleagues”. He says Gillard has always known in her heart that “the Labor Party is not about a person, it’s about a purpose”, but that “Kevin Rudd has never understood”.

The statement is one of the most vicious attacks ever seen by a senior cabinet minister on a former prime minister and colleague. It signals that the Gillard camp is determined to cripple Rudd’s leadership prospects.

Text of statement released by Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Wayne Swan.

Prime Minister Gillard and I and the overwhelming majority of our colleagues have been applying our Labor values to the policy challenges in front of us and we’re succeeding despite tremendous political obstacles.

For the sake of the labour movement, the Government and the Australians which it represents, we have refrained from criticism to date. [Read more...]


The Labor Leadership: A Time Of Peril And Opportunity

I blame John Gorton and Malcolm Fraser. I was a young schoolboy in 1971 when their brawling inside the decaying coalition government awakened me to politics.

Rudd-GillardTheir struggle culminated in a leadership challenge. William McMahon fought Gorton to a draw, so Gorton plucked a casting ballot out of thin air to vote himself out of the prime ministership. The ridiculous and treacherous McMahon became prime minister, and the Liberals compensated Gorton by making him deputy leader. I was hooked. Who wouldn’t be?

Since then, one of life’s little pleasures has been the surprisingly regular parade of state and federal leadership challenges.

These contests are politics in the open, raw, visceral and unadorned. Electorate, party, factional and personal factors come together. Interests compete. The noble and brave collide with the base and cowardly. Policy meets electoral reality. Conviction and ambition take a good look at each other. Purity withers and survival usually wins.

It is the individual us writ large. [Read more...]