June 22, 2013

The defeat belongs to Gillard

When it comes to con jobs, nothing beats a Kevin Rudd comeback. Ever since he lost a caucus ballot 71-31 to Julia Gillard 16 months ago, Rudd has had no intention of resuming the Labor leadership in this term of Parliament.

Why would he? As a phenomenal egotist, he looks at politics through the prism of vanity. The worst thing that could happen to Rudd in 2013 is to run against Tony Abbott and lose. This would destroy his self-image and self-belief. It would also blow his status as a Labor Party martyr.

For Rudd, “saving the furniture” is not enough. To return to the leadership, he needs a guarantee of victory. Having sabotaged Gillard’s 2010 campaign and destabilised the government since then, he has created a civil war inside the ALP. The electorate cannot wait to vote out this chaotic, divided party, no matter who leads it to the polls. Rudd’s thinking is obvious: why should he take an election defeat which belongs to Gillard.
This is why Rudd has set the comeback bar so high, knowing his enemies can never jump it. A no-change scenario gives him the perfect outcome. The chaos inside the government will continue, driving Gillard to a heavy defeat, while Rudd himself enjoys carefully selected public appearances, lapping up the media attention. His three-year campaign of revenge against the Prime Minister will be complete.

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