Australian Labor Party leadership spill, 2010
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A
leadership spill In Australian politics, a leadership spill (or simply spill) is a declaration that the leadership Leadership is both a research area, and a practical skill encompassing the ability of an individual, group or organization to "lead", influence or ...
occurred in the
Australian Labor Party The Australian Labor Party (ALP), also simply known as Labor and historically spelt Labour, is the major centre-left Centre-left politics (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language ...
on 24 June 2010.
Kevin Rudd Kevin Michael Rudd (born 21 September 1957) is an Australian former politician and diplomat who served as the 26th prime minister of Australia The prime minister of Australia is the head of government The head of government is eithe ...

Kevin Rudd
, the
Prime Minister of Australia The prime minister of Australia is the head of government The head of government is either the highest or second-highest official in the Executive (government), executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing ...
, was challenged by
Julia Gillard Julia Eileen Gillard (born 29 September 1961) is an Australian former politician who served as the 27th prime minister of Australia The prime minister of Australia is the head of government The head of government is either the hig ...

Julia Gillard
, the
Deputy Prime Minister of Australia The deputy prime minister of Australia is the deputy chief executive A chief executive officer (CEO), chief administrator officer, or just chief executive (CE), is one of a number of corporate executives A corporation is an organizatio ...
, for the leadership of the
Australian Labor Party The Australian Labor Party (ALP), also simply known as Labor and historically spelt Labour, is the major centre-left Centre-left politics (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language ...
. Gillard won the election unopposed after Rudd declined to contest, choosing instead to resign. Gillard was duly sworn in as prime minister by
Quentin Bryce Dame Quentin Alice Louise Bryce, (née Strachan; born 23 December 1942) is an Australian academic who served as the 25th Governor-General of Australia The governor-general of Australia is the representative of the monarch A monarch ...

Quentin Bryce
, the Governor-General, on 24 June 2010 at
Government House Government House is the name of many of the residences of governors-general, governors and lieutenant-governor A lieutenant governor, lieutenant-governor, or vice governor is a high officer of state, whose precise role and rank vary by jurisdictio ...

Government House
, becoming Australia's first female prime minister. Gillard was the Deputy Leader of the
Labor Party Labour Party or Labor Party may refer to: Angola *MPLA, known for some years as "Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola – Labour Party" Antigua and Barbuda *Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party Argentina *Labour Party (Argentina) Armenia ...
since 4 December 2006, and was appointed Deputy Prime Minister of Australia after Labor's landslide victory in the 2007 federal election. She was also appointed the
Minister for EducationAn "education minister"(sometimes minister of education) is a position in the governments of some countries responsible for dealing with educational matters. Where known, the government department, Ministry (government department), ministry, or gover ...
and Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations.


Background

Rudd and Gillard became
Leader Leadership, both as a research area and as a practical skill, encompasses the ability of an individual, group or organization An organization, or organisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English ...
and
Deputy Leader A deputy leader (in Scottish English, sometimes depute leader) in the Westminster system is the second-in-command of a political party, behind the party leader. Deputy leaders often become Deputy Prime Minister when their parties are elected to gov ...
of the Australian Labor Party on 4 December 2006, during the fourth and final term of the
Howard Government The Howard Government refers to the federal executive government of Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australia ...
. The pair successfully challenged sitting Leader
Kim Beazley Kim Christian Beazley (born 14 December 1948) is an Australian politician and diplomat who is currently serving as the 33rd governor of Western Australia. He previously served as deputy prime minister of Australia from 1995 to 1996, Australian ...

Kim Beazley
and Deputy Leader
Jenny Macklin Jennifer Louise Macklin (born 29 December 1953) is an Australian former politician. She was elected to federal parliament at the 1996 federal election and served as the deputy leader of the Australian Labor Party The Australian Labor Par ...

Jenny Macklin
in a joint-ticket leadership election, brought about by opinion polls suggesting that Rudd was far more popular with the public than Beazley. Under the leadership of Rudd and Gillard, Labor defeated the Liberal/National Coalition at the 2007 federal election by a landslide. The Rudd Ministry was sworn in by Governor-General
Michael Jeffery Major General Philip Michael Jeffery, (12 December 1937 – 18 December 2020) was a senior Australian Army The Australian Army is the military land force of Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovere ...

Michael Jeffery
on 3 December, with Rudd becoming the first Labor prime minister in over a decade, and Gillard becoming the first-ever female deputy prime minister. Rudd also appointed Gillard as Minister for Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. After an initial long period of popularity, by mid-2010 polls began to detect disaffection both with the direction of the Government and the leadership style of Kevin Rudd; several opinion polls in April and May 2010 suggested that Labor would lose the next election. According to the
ABC ABC are the first three letters of the Latin script known as the alphabet. ABC or abc may also refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Broadcasting * American Broadcasting Company, a commercial U.S. TV broadcaster ** Disney–ABC Television ...
's ''7:30 Report'', the seeds for Gillard to challenge Rudd were sown by "Victorian Right factional heavyweights"
Bill Shorten William Richard Shorten (born 12 May 1967) is an Australian politician who served as Leader of the Opposition The Leader of the Opposition is a title traditionally held by the leader of the largest party not in government in a parliamentary dem ...

Bill Shorten
MP and Senator
David Feeney
David Feeney
, who had between them secured the support of "New South Wales power broker" Mark Arbib. Feeney and Arbib discussed the matter of a potential leadership challenge with Gillard on the morning of 23 June and began a numbers count to establish the feasibility of a leadership challenge. The pair found that there was enough support for Gillard for the challenge to proceed. Declining approval for both the Labor Party and Rudd personally were attributed to many factors, including problems with the Energy Efficient Homes Package, Home Insulation Program, a significant delay to a planned Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, carbon emissions reduction scheme, the proposed introduction of the Resource Super Profits Tax, and the election of Tony Abbott as Leader of the Opposition (Australia), Leader of the Opposition. Senior Labor MPs conceded that the ALP's primary vote had dropped below 30% in some key marginal seats, a figure which if replicated at a federal election would have seen a Labor defeat. The leadership challenge was finally sparked after the influential Australian Workers' Union officially switched its support from Rudd to Gillard. AWU Secretary Paul Howes told the Australian Associated Press and
ABC ABC are the first three letters of the Latin script known as the alphabet. ABC or abc may also refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Broadcasting * American Broadcasting Company, a commercial U.S. TV broadcaster ** Disney–ABC Television ...
's ''Lateline'' that he and AWU President Bill Ludwig had decided to support Gillard as prime minister after making an assessment that a change in leadership was in the best interest of their membership.


Challenge

On the morning of 23 June 2010, NSW senator Mark Arbib, Victorians Shorten and
David Feeney
David Feeney
, and South Australian Don Farrell visited Gillard to tell her that enough Labor MPs and senators had lost confidence in Prime Minister Rudd to make a Leadership spill, challenge feasible. By midday, Arbib and Feeney told Gillard that they could guarantee her the support of the majority of Labor Right, right-wing members from New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia, giving Gillard enough support to win the leadership and become prime minister. Arbib and Feeney told Gillard that most of the Labor Party were convinced they would lose the next election if Rudd continued as prime minister. They also said that they believed Labor would be able to win with Gillard as prime minister. Party sources later told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) that Gillard agreed that Labor faced electoral defeat with Rudd at the helm. After holding meetings throughout the evening, Rudd addressed the media at 10:30 pm to announce that Gillard had asked for him to either resign as prime minister or hold a leadership election the following day to determine the Leadership of the Labor Party. Rudd stated that a leadership election would take place the following day and that he would stand as a candidate. The ''Sydney Morning Herald'' reported that the final catalyst for the challenge against Rudd was "sparked by a report (in the Herald of 23 June) that Mr Rudd had used his Chief of Staff, Alister Jordan, to sound out the backbench over the past month on the level of support for him. This followed a Herald/Nielsen poll which showed the government would lose if an election were held then", and that "Rudd's action was regarded as a sign that he did not trust the repeated assurances by Ms Gillard that she would not stand".


Results

All 115 Labor Members of the Australian House of Representatives, House of Representatives and Australian Senate, Senators were eligible to vote in the ballot. A total of 58 votes was required to secure a majority win the leadership ballot. Whilst announcing the leadership election, Rudd initially declared that he would re-nominate himself for the leadership, even in the face of growing support for Gillard. However, by the morning of the vote it had become clear he did not have the support to secure a majority in the vote. Hours before the vote was due to take place, Rudd announced that he was withdrawing his candidacy and resigned as Leader of the Labor Party with immediate effect. This left Gillard to assume the leadership unopposed. Wayne Swan, Treasurer of Australia at the time, was elected to fill Gillard's now vacant position as Deputy Leader, also unopposed. Rudd resigned as prime minister at midday, and Gillard was sworn in as the first female prime minister of Australia shortly afterwards.


Aftermath

On 17 July 2010, just 23 days after becoming prime minister, Gillard received the agreement of Governor-General
Quentin Bryce Dame Quentin Alice Louise Bryce, (née Strachan; born 23 December 1942) is an Australian academic who served as the 25th Governor-General of Australia The governor-general of Australia is the representative of the monarch A monarch ...

Quentin Bryce
to hold 2010 Australian federal election, a snap election for 21 August 2010. After a close contest between Gillard's Labor and Tony Abbott's Liberal/National Coalition, the election resulted in the first hung parliament since the 1940 Australian federal election, 1940 election. Gillard was able to secure the support of one Australian Greens, Green MP and three Independent (politician), Independent MPs in order to allow Labor to form a minority government, and Gillard was sworn in as prime minister for a second time on 14 September 2010.
Kevin Rudd Kevin Michael Rudd (born 21 September 1957) is an Australian former politician and diplomat who served as the 26th prime minister of Australia The prime minister of Australia is the head of government The head of government is eithe ...

Kevin Rudd
, who had successfully re-contested his seat at the election, accepted an offer to become Minister for Foreign Affairs. Rudd regained the leadership, and the prime ministership, at the June 2013 Australian Labor Party leadership spill, shortly before Labor lost government at the 2013 Australian federal election.


References

{{Leadership spills in Australia 2010 elections in Australia Australian Labor Party leadership spills Rudd Government Gillard Government