It seems that in everything Labor touches it simply can’t get it right. Today after admitting to its latest failure, disillusionment with the leadership of the party reached such depressive levels that the anti Gillard forces decided to bite the bullet and call for a leadership spill.
Perpetual cabinet minister until now, Simon Crean did the honors with a call for a leadership ballot, claiming that the current chaos had to be ended so the party could get back on track. Urging former PM Kevin Rudd to stand he stated he would offer his support and stand for a senior position.
Where it all went pear shaped was that Rudd had no intention of standing. So what happened was that the party held a leadership spill with nobody to stand against Gillard. With the record of the party over the last five years, we expect screw-ups from them, but this one really takes the cake.
Gillard has lost the plot and her parties support, but the problem for them is that the sentiment is mainly anti Gillard rather than pro Rudd or anyone else. Rudd probably sensed that he was short on the numbers, rather than his stated reason of abiding by his promise of not challenging again. He may be reasonably popular with the public, but he has a poisonous reputation among Labor parliamentarians.
It is reasonable to assume that Crean was genuinely attempting to resolve the speculation that is crippling the party, along with the incompetence of the current leadership; he seems an honest broker in this. It is rather stunning though, that he would call for a spill without any serious contender in mind were Rudd to decline.
It is also a poor reflection on the party, that with Gillard/Swan so obnoxiously on the nose, there is no other possible contender than Rudd.
The leadership speculation over the last weeks has been so intense that experienced political commentators tend to check the news feed prior to posting in case anything has changed. It appeared likely to happen today but fizzed.
The only winner out of these events is the leader of the opposition, Tony Abbott who would have had a lot of work to do had a change been made.