24 June 2010

Backroom machinations lead to change of PM

As The New York Times put it succinctly

Party officials decided to replace Prime Minister Kevin Rudd with his deputy, Julia Gillard, who becomes the nation’s first female prime minister.

This came as a surprise. The Rudd government has clearly been in trouble with public opinion lately but I'd have thought (and hoped) that he and his inner circle would have been put on notice to improve. What has happened is a cabinet reshuffle with Mr Rudd ruthlessly dispatched (to where isn't quite clear) by a combination of Labor Party and union machinations with Julia Gillard, Wayne Swan etc moving up a notch or two.

I watched events unfold on TV, alternating between the ABC and Sky. The ABC had more people on the ground and in front of the camera (Kerry O'Brien a noteworthy exception); Sky used more voiceovers but, perhaps because it's used to covering events like this, IMO it gave the public broadcaster a good run for its money.

Both networks seemed to cover the day's major events, including Kevin Rudd's farewell speech.
His family stood by his side as he worked his way slowly, and with several lengthy pauses, through his notes. It left a bitter taste in my mouth: I tweeted suggesting that someone should pull the plug on him, not to stop him speaking but as an act of kindness if not mercy. While his words quite properly referred to what he considered his achievements, the images on the screen often reminded me of those of someone found guilty at a show trial in a dictatorship such as Stalin's Russia.

Has the combination of party factional and union ruthlessness and the media's hunger for good images brought us to this?

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