Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard and 25,286 free speech advocates like this
Amid sober judgement, speculation, counter speculation, educated guesses, rumour, innuendo, through to incoherent yammerings over the future of Julia Gillard’s leadership a consensus has been reached. She will not last the week out, but probably will. And, that’s just within the Labor party.
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has bitten the bullet, several journalists, and a number of colleagues and declared that he will not serve in a Rudd front bench:
The warning from Senator Conroy undercuts any hope that Labor could unify around a return by Mr Rudd to the top job, with the former Prime Minister hoping to avoid the prospect of leading a divided party should he be reinstalled.
Senator Conroy joins his front bench colleague Education Minister Peter Garrett, who last week confirmed he would also step down from the front bench if Mr Rudd was returned to the leadership. "I support Julia Gillard. I don't believe there will be change," Senator Conroy told Sky News' Australian Agenda. "But I don't believe I would be in a position to be on a front bench.”
Senator Conroy challenged Mr Rudd to trigger a spill and formally take the fight to the Prime Minister, declaring that Ms Gillard would not step down and had stared down leadership speculation for the last three years.
Gut feeling – Gillard will stay. She will not accept a spill and Rudd is probably smart enough to understand that were he to challenge, if successful, (something that is not as likely as some suggest) he would be held responsible for Labor’s loss after the election and be dumped.
As for Conroy and Garrett, they are simply trying to save face in the event of a Rudd comeback by making it appear to be their decision not to be in a Rudd cabinet. Rudd has probably already decided the same thing himself.