A year has passed since Kevin Rudd was ousted from the top job by the now Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
As her first year as PM draws to a close, opinion polls indicate Gillard’s popularity is lower than Rudd’s when he was dumped.
If getting rid of Rudd was an attempt by the ALP at inspiring Australians with renewed confidence in the party’s ability to lead, it’s a tactic that has failed to meet its ends.
There has even been speculation amongst some media that Rudd could now challenge Gillard in order to take back the role of PM.
A suggestion Rudd has shrugged off, telling the Herald Sun last week that his aspiration now is to be “one of Australia’s better foreign ministers”.
News of Gillard’s continuing lack of support from voters is hardly surprising: she started the job by taking it from someone else, she failed to win majority support at the Federal election, and she’s done a pretty rough job fulfilling her mantra of moving Australia forward.
Groups usually at odds with each other have found common ground in opposing the Gillard government’s policy proposals.
Most recently Gillard has managed to anger both mining companies and environmentalists with her government’s proposed carbon price scheme.
Light on details, mining companies are worried it might go too far and hit hard their profits, while environmentalists worry it won’t go far enough instead ending up a pointless attempt at addressing climate change.
Gillard also continues to field objections from both the Coalition and refugee advocates with her “Malaysian Solution”.
Tony Abbott is trying to convince Australia that, actually, Nauru would be a better place to ship people off to, while refugee advocates point out the obvious problem of using asylum seekers to create a live export industry trading in people.
Other notable moments from Gillard’s first year as PM include her condemnation of WikiLeaks and its editor-in-chief Julian Assange, her continued legislative discrimination against the LGBTI community in denying equal marriage rights, and then there was that awkward love-fest she engaged in during her trip to the United States (“Your great dream — life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — inspires us all … You have an ally in Australia,” she told a joint sitting of US Congress).
Gillard has still got a bit of time to prove herself before she faces the wrath of voters at the next Federal election… unless her lack of support extends to her ALP colleagues, then she may well find herself in the exact position she put Rudd in last year.
Gillard may remain confident in her ability to lead the nation, but the nation is yet to find reason to share her confidence.
Is it already time to go for Gillard?