February 27, 2012
Federal ALP have had their cathartic therapy session in the form of a leadership spill about office politics. The after the event speeches of the winners and losers (71 to 31 for Gillard) were pretty standard. Neither addressed the view that what would have been best for the Gillard Government to avert a conservative Abbott government in 2013 would have been for Rudd and Gillard to complement each other in senior positions.
Of course, self -interest will ensure the ALP will unite after the therapeutic purge. Despite all the pledges it will be "unite" after a fashion, since federal Labor under both Rudd and Gillard has a track record of shooting itself in the foot.
A fractured Gillard Government is now fighting for its survival with one leg missing. Or is that one arm?
All the rhetoric about healing should be taken with a grain of salt. The wounds are too raw and deep, there is a fundamental disconnect between the Gillard Government and the broader Australian electorate, the Gillard Government faces the existential threat of being destroyed in the 2013 election, and the Abbott-led opposition will only increase the grenade throwing.
This is a government under siege. It is fighting issues of authority, legitimacy and trust in difficult times amidst the angst stirred up by its policy reforms.