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Monday, August 19, 2013

Julia Gillard's ultimatum

I wonder if Julia Gillard expected to win the leadership ballot against Kevin Rudd that fateful night of June 26.  Late on Wednesday afternoon she announced the ballot would take place that night at 7 pm on one condition - that the loser must leave politics.

She had been down this road before and knew she had the numbers. Rudd conceded defeat and promised never to challenge again but as Labor continued to sink further in the polls, his supporters convinced him to have another go and this time, it paid off.

Did she have any idea that she could be the one leaving politics? When she made that spectacular ultimatum, it's unlikely she knew that at the eleventh hour, 30 minutes before the ballot, Bill Shorten would withdraw his support that ended her political career.

The next day, she sat with Treasurer Wayne Swan in the back benches and it was hard not to feel sorry for our first female Prime Minister. She held it all together right up until Rob Oakeshott, in his parting speech, said her father, who passed away earlier this year, would be proud of her.

As she watches the election campaign speed up from a distance, I wonder what she's thinking.