You may have seen my article this morning concerning the turmoil inside Australia’s governing Labor Party between Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Foreign Minister (and former Prime Minister) Kevin Rudd.
Well, I should say former Foreign Minister. Today, Rudd resigned his portfolio today while on official business in Washington. This might very well be the first time a cabinet minister has announced his resignation outside the country he served. It was arguably his only card to play as Gillard would have likely sacked him.
During his resignation speech, Rudd further fueled speculation that he would challenge Gillard for the Labor Party’s leadership and the Office of Prime Minister when he said, “It’s time for plain speaking on this.” Rudd criticized former Labor Party leader Simon Crean and “other faceless men” for their attacks on him and concluded that Prime Minister Gillard supported this line of criticism by not repudiating it.
It is expected that Gillard will announce a leadership ballot amongst Labor MPs later today which could take place as soon as next Monday. Should Gillard prevail, Rudd could resign his seat in the Australian House of Representatives, collapse the government and trigger an election. If Rudd prevails then he will have done to Gillard what Gillard did to him in 2010. Of course, Gillard could then resign her seat, collapse the parliament and trigger an election. Even if this doesn’t come to pass, the plot has thickened like barbie sauce and Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott is the happiest man in Australia.