The party’s over for Kevin Rudd. He’s no longer Prime Minister. In his place is Julia Gillard, Australia’s first female Prime Minister.
So just what went wrong for Rudd? Why did his popularity and support implode in such spectacular style?
Largely it was a matter of untrammeled hubris. In a sense he was a victim of his own early success. So convincing was his win, so clear his apparent mandate, that anything became possible. His detractors were belittled and bullied, his key allies were disenfranchised by his dictatorial style.
Such was the level of his misplaced self belief that he attempted to railroad the mining industry with an experimental resources tax. His miscalculation of their reaction beggars belief.
Earlier, through Minister Peter Garret, he presided over the home insulation fiasco. And let’s not forget the great moral imperative of our time, the Emissions Trading Scheme. Where once it held a central place in Labor policy, under Rudd’s rule, it was brushed aside, something to do on another, calmer day.
That the end came with such a wimper comes as no surprise. The shrill speech given to a hastily convened press conference on the eve of his departure smacked of a man who knew his time was up. Rudd’s last moments sounded like a football coach imploring a team being thrashed. He knew the game was lost.
Only Gillard could blow the final siren.