in brief: Kevin Rudd replaces Julia Gillard as Prime Minister
Kevin Rudd has defeated Julia Gillard 57-45 in a dramatic Labor leadership ballot overnight. Rudd was sworn in as the 28th Prime Minister of Australia this morning.
The result comes nearly three years exactly since Gillard replaced Rudd as PM in a leadership spill. Gillard has vowed to retire from politics and will not re-contest the seat of Lalor in the next election. In an address to the nation last night, she joked that her heavily pregnant niece was about to get the most meddlesome aunt in history.
Rudd’s return has triggered a number of departures from the frontbench. Trade Minister Craig Emerson, and School Education Minister Peter Garrett will also leave parliament.
Treasurer Wayne Swan, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig and Climate Change Minister Greg Combet have all announced they will move to the backbench.
Finance Minister Penny Wong was last night appointed Labor Senate leader and Anthony Albanese beat Simon Crean in a race for the party’s deputy leadership by 61 votes to 38.
Mr Rudd thanked Ms Gillard for her work as prime minister, praising her as a ‘woman of extraordinary intelligence, great strength, and great energy’.
Gillard called upon her colleagues to fight hard in the upcoming election: ‘But I do say to my caucus colleagues: don’t lack the guts, don’t lack the fortitude, don’t lack the resilience to go out there with our Labor agenda and to win this election.
‘I know that it can be done. And I also say to my caucus colleagues that that will best be done by us putting the divisions of the past behind us, and uniting as a political party, making sure we put our best face forward at the forthcoming election campaign, and in the years beyond’.
The new election date is yet to be confirmed.