Rudd Is Out, Gillard In As Australia Gets First Female PM

June 24, 2010

Australia (ChattahBox) – Kevin Rudd unexpectedly left the position of Prime Minister today, and was replaced by his Deputy, Julia Gillard.

Already being called a ploy by the opposition, Rudd was ousted after his public approval rating plummeted over the last two months.

Despite being one of the most popular PM’s in 30 years, several key decisions caused him to lose a great deal of his support, including his fight for a major tax on the mining industry, his push for a severe Internet censorship law, and his backing out of a Climate Change deal.

Julia Gillard has served as his Deputy Prime Minister, and has not taken the seat ahead of general elections later this year. But her appointment has led many raised eyebrows in what some say is a trend of ‘musical chairs’ in Labour politicians.

Gillard has not expressed any real difference in policy to Rudd, and has hinted at continuing on with tax changes for mines. But she has also promised for a change in the Labour party.

“I came to the view that a good government was losing its way,” she said in her acceptance speech.

“I believe too I have a responsibility to make sure at the next election that Labor is there at its strongest.”

Rudd appeared emotional as he stood with his family, but he says he is leaving his legacy as Australia’s PM “proud”.

“I have given it my absolute all and in that spirit I am proud of the achievements we have delivered to make this country fairer. I’m proud of the fact that we kept Australia out of the global financial crisis. I’m proud of the fact that had we not done so, we would had had half a million Australians out there out of work.”

General elections are expected to be held in October.

Source

Opposition Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott dismissed the change of leadership, saying Ms Gillard was committed to the “same dud policies” of her predecessor.

“They’ve changed the salesman but they haven’t changed the product,” he told reporters.

Fall from graceMr Rudd had called a late-night news conference on Wednesday to announce the ballot after Ms Gillard said she would challenge him for the party leadership.

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Kevin Rudd: ”We have thrown our absolute all at this”

Mr Rudd, who led Labor to a landslide election victory against the Liberal government in 2007, blamed “a number of factional leaders” within the party for plotting against him.

Mr Rudd had initially insisted he would stand in the leadership ballot, but the BBC’s Nick Bryant in Australia said that by Thursday morning Mr Rudd could not even muster enough support to contend the ballot.

Mr Rudd started this year as the most popular Australian prime minister in three decades and was widely expected to win the federal election expected in October with ease.

But his popularity plummeted following a number of policy setbacks, our correspondent adds.

He shelved the centrepiece of his environmental strategy, an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which led to accusations of political cowardice.

Mr Rudd then entered into an advertising war with the country’s powerful mining sector over his plans for a super tax on their “super profits”.

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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
CNEWS First female PM for Australia – 2 hrs ago
Bangkok Post1st Aussie woman PM – 3 hrs ago
ABC Online Gillard says challenge ‘a tough decision’ – 4 hrs ago
Yahoo! Australia gets 1st woman PM after shock party coup – 4 hrs ago
Washington PostAustralia gets its 1st female PM as Rudd ousted – 5 hrs ago
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