Could Kevin Rudd be set for yet another return?

by Mark Benson on July 7, 2012

in General Information

Can Kevin Rudd make a return to top flight politics?

Former Labor leader and Prime Minister of Australia Kevin Rudd is again the centre of media attention after his wife suggested she was open to the idea of him returning to lead the Labor Party forward in the future. This comes with news that the Labor Party is around 16 percentage points behind the Liberal-National coalition in the polls. As we approach next year’s general election political observers believe that any changes to the hierarchy of the Labor Party will need to be made sooner rather than later to give any incoming victor the chance to put their own stamp on policies and decisions going forward.

Can the Phoenix rise from the ashes yet again?

Kevin Rudd was the victim of a backroom coup when Julia Gillard “stabbed him in the back”, took over the role of Labor Party leader and bagged the position of Prime Minister of Australia. Despite the fact that Labor Party officials had been supporting the former prime minister in public it seems that behind his back they were plotting to oust him with this autocratic style and large ego said to have upset many people. However, despite failing in what many saw was a “shoe in” earlier this year, when support dramatically fell away at the last minute, it seems that he may be ready to try again.

This would be perhaps the most impressive and the most dramatic of comebacks if he is able to muster enough support amongst the Labor Party to oust Julia Gillard and take the reins again.

Public support favours Kevin Rudd

In a dramatic twist a recent survey of 1400 Australians showed that 62% prefer Mr Rudd as Labor leader as opposed to 32% in favour of Julia Gillard. While in some ways supporters may be seeing Kevin Rudd through rose tinted glasses because of the difficult situation which Julia Gillard finds herself, it would appear that support is growing for the former prime minister.

As we approach the general election in 2013 it would be foolish of the Labor Party to dismiss the wishes of the electorate although whether the party, supporters and the two central participants (Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard) have a mindset for change is open to debate. What kind of message would a change in leadership give to the electorate in the run up to the general election and would some people see it as a step backwards?

Is Julia Gillard dead in the water?

Despite the fact that Julia Gillard has fought off public relations disasters, policy disasters and a number of attempts by Kevin Rudd supporters to oust her from her position as Labor leader and Prime Minister she is under yet more pressure today. It seems that there is a hard-core of Labor politicians who believe the time is right for change and the time is right for Julia Gillard to take a step back. However, she has shown amazing resilience over the last few months and there are few who would write off her off at this moment in time!

There are also some suggestions that Kevin Rudd could actually be something of a stalking horse with a stronger new leader stepping into the breach once politicians break rank against their current leader. However, as yet no specific figures have been mentioned as potential party leaders of the future and potential prime minister of Australia.

Do Labor Party members have long memories?

While there is no doubt that the Labor Party could be doing better in the polls and indeed Julia Gillard has attracted more than her fair share of negative press comment, there are also a number of people who worked for the former leader Kevin Rudd who were not exactly complimentary of his people skills and his management style. Indeed just a few months ago we saw the appearance of an anonymous YouTube video which appears to show the former leader castigating members of staff and talking about them in disparaging terms. There were rumours that Julia Gillard supporters had posted this video on YouTube as a means of spoiling his attempt at a return to the front benches.

In Kevin Rudd’s favour he has apologised on numerous occasions over the last few months about his former management style and the fact that he may well have not appreciated his staff as much as you should have done. However, whether he is too long in the tooth to change his style now has been a matter for debate over the last few months even though the man himself has suggested he has learned his lesson and he has changed.

Is Kevin Rudd the last hope for the Labor Party?

At this moment in time looks as though the Labor Party is heading for a crushing defeat at next year’s general election under the stewardship of Julia Gillard. Whether or not Kevin Rudd is the last hope for Labor Party is a matter for debate because while he would no doubt have something of a honeymoon period if elected as Labor leader and Prime Minister ahead of the election, there are many holes at which opposition parties can pick which would cast Kevin Rudd in a bad light with voters.

If something is going to happen with regards to the leadership of the Labor Party it is likely to happen sooner rather than later and may be one of those midnight coups with which Julia Gillard herself is so familiar!

Conclusion

Time after time the name of Kevin Rudd continues to appear in the media as a potential replacement for Julia Gillard despite the fact that he has failed on numerous occasions to return to the position of Labor Party leader. It does seem as though there is a hard-core of Labor politicians who are adamant Julia Gillard needs to go and they seem willing to use Kevin Rudd as the stalking horse to end her term.

Whether Kevin Rudd is the answer in the long-term is a matter for debate but in reality there is greater support amongst Australian voters for a return of the former prime minister at the expense of the current prime minister. Will we see any changes in the coming weeks and months?

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