Doing a Gorton or shifting the deckchairs?

Jacqueline Maley has an article in today’s Fairfax media musing about who might succeed Julia Gillard as Labor leader after an election loss later this year.

It seems a tad premature in the circumstances, though only slightly more so than the subject of this post, which addresses the question: what options if any does Labor have if we reach April/May and Labor’s opinion poll ratings remain stubbornly stuck at around 33-35% primary vote and 47% or thereabouts two party preferred?

Polling for federal Labor improved somewhat over the last 3-4 months of 2012, partly because people began to realise that Abbott had been bullshitting them about the impact of Labor’s carbon pricing regime and perhaps also partly due to a grudging recognition that Julia Gillard, whatever her shortcomings, is a tough and feisty PM. Perhaps too we’re seeing the beginnings of public realisation that Australia’s economic position is actually very strong and that Abbott has been bullshitting on that front too.  People have begun spending again (rather than saving more and more while reducing debt) and consumers generally are feeling less pessimistic.  Those are certainly promising signs for the Gillard government, as is  what appears at the time of writing to be a “done deal” on the US fiscal cliff standoff.

Overall Labor actually has a very attractive political story to tell: one of the world’s strongest economies; generally competent economic management (leaving aside its clinging for too long to a “surplus at all costs” promise – but that’s expectation management rather than economic management per se); a highly successful legislative record despite minority government constraints; and achieving seemingly durable settlements of two of Australia’s most intractable environmental issues, namely Murray-Darling waters and Tasmanian forestry.

If in the next 3-4 months the government can also fashion a plausible long-term funding model for the  National Disability Insurance Scheme and the Gonski education reforms, an unlikely election victory in the second half of this year might yet be conjured, something that seemed utterly inconceivable only a few months ago.

But what if it isn’t? What if if becomes unavoidably apparent by April-May that swinging voters have made up their minds adversely about the Gillard government? Will federal Caucus members just shrug their shoulders resignedly and passively accept the inevitability of electoral obliteration? Somehow I doubt it.

Of course the problem will then be just who could replace Julia Gillard and provide a ghost of a chance of victory? An obvious answer, albeit  unpalatable to most Caucus members, once upon a time was Kevin Rudd.  However the calculated carpet-bombing of Rudd’s character and reputation by Julia Gillard and her supporters in the lead-up to Rudd’s unsuccessful February leadership challenge has almost certainly made that option a non-starter, however much Rudd and some of his supporters may still fondly hope otherwise.  Polling suggests Labor would even now gain a significant short-term increase in support following a Rudd re-appointment, especially in Queensland.  But it wouldn’t last, not only because half the Cabinet would instantly resign but because the Coalition undoubtedly already has “in the can” all the attack ads against Rudd that it needs, using the words of his own colleagues.

Because it has long been evident that the Rudd gambit is a non-starter, the groupthink Press Gallery appears to have concluded that Gillard will certainly lead Labor to this year’s election come what may.  It’s almost certainly true that just about any other likely leadership candidate isn’t a viable solution even for a desperate Caucus.  Replacing Gillard with Bill Shorten, Greg Combet, Stephen Smith or even Nicola Roxon just isn’t going to make any appreciable difference.  It would just be shifting the deckchairs on the Titanic.11. KP: Sorry, I just couldn’t resist that cliche. [].  Moreover, for ambitious future leadership aspirants like these, accepting the leadership in the circumstances being considered here would be the ultimate hospital pass.

However there’s one possible leadership choice who hasn’t been seriously discussed to the best of my knowledge, and who isn’t likely to be too worried about destroying his future leadership prospects in a self-sacrificing last-ditch effort to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, 22. KP: Feel free to keep count of the cliches for yourself. [] because he’s already been there and done that, and as a “last generation” Labor leader would not be in line for Opposition Leader after a Labor loss anyway.

Of course I’m talking about Bob Carr.  Carr has the stature and assured, commanding presence needed in such a situation.  He certainly wouldn’t be rattled by a one trick pony bovver boy like Tony Abbott. The faceless men would need to make sure that he has no significant Obeid/Tripodi skeletons in his closet, but presumably the Coalition dirty tricks team would already have pulled them out if they existed.

I can only assume that Carr hasn’t to date entered seriously into Press Gallery leadership speculation for the simple reason that he’s currently a Senator, and Prime Minister is generally regarded as a position held by the parliamentary leader of the party holding an effective majority in the Lower House (House of Reps).  However that is not a formal constitutional or legal requirement, indeed the office of Prime Minister is not even mentioned in Australia’s Constitution.  It is simply an unwritten rule or convention that the PM is a member of the House of Reps. Constraints against breach of such conventions are solely political not legal.  Moreover the precise scope of conventions may be somewhat uncertain and can evolve over time, as the conventions concerning dismissal of an incumbent government did as a result of the Whitlam Dismissal in 1975.

The convention that the Prime Minister must sit in the Lower House arguably did not even exist in any clear form when Australia’s Constitution was being drafted, approved and enacted.  British Prime Ministers had quite frequently been members of the House of Lords through the 19th century.  Indeed Lord Salisbury remained in the House of Lords as Prime Minister continuously from 1895-1902, which spanned the entire gestation period of Australia’s Constitution.

However Salisbury was the last British PM to sit in the House of Lords for more than a transitional period.  Sir Alec Douglas-Home was a member of the House of Lords (as the Earl of Home) when elected to lead the governing Conservative Party in 1963 following the resignation of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan due to health problems.  He then disavowed his peerage and stood for a Commons seat in a by-election. Douglas-Home was Prime Minister, though not in either house of Parliament, for a period of almost three weeks.

Similarly, in Australia the only example of a Prime Minister appointed while a member of the Senate (upper house) was John Gorton, who was the Coalition nominee in 1968 after Prime Minister Harold Holt disappeared while skin-diving at Portsea just before Christmas 1967.  Like Douglas-Home, Gorton resigned from the Senate within a month of being sworn in as Prime Minister and successfully contested a by-election for the seat of Higgins, which had of course become vacant by virtue of Holt’s presumed death33. KP: assuming, as most people were willing to do, that he had not been spirited away by a Chinese submarine to disguise his role as a covert Communist spy and conceivably (semi-intentional pun) father of Barack Obama as well. [].

Applying those precedents to Bob Carr, it might well be possible to engineer a swap with ministerial colleague Peter Garrett for the seat of Kingsford Smith, which adjoins and substantially overlaps the area covered by Carr’s old State Parliament seat of Maroubra which he held for 18 years until 2005.  Garrett would be appointed to fill the Senate vacancy created by Carr’s resignation.  There would be no immediate political risk involved in that step given Constitution s 15.44. KP: Inserted by the 1977 referendum to remedy Queensland Premier Bjelke-Petersen’s breach of convention in the lead-up to the Whitlam Dismissal. []

Moreover, like Gorton and Douglas-Home, there would be no constitutional problem with Carr being PM for a transitional period of up to three months even after his resignation from the Senate.55. KP: although there would be a certain element of political risk about winning Kingsford Smith in a by-election given that Garrett currently holds the seat on a 2PP margin of just over 8%. []   Constitution s 64 provides that “no Minister of State shall hold office for a longer period than three months unless he is or becomes a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.”

However in my view constitutional convention does not necessarily even require a Prime Minister who is a Senator to resign immediately and contest a by-election. Gorton remained a Senator for three weeks after he became Prime Minister, only resigning when he had to do do so in order to be eligible to contest the Higgins by-election.  In our hypothetical 2013 situation, where a general election will be nominally due within two or three months of Carr’s appointment as Prime Minister, it would make far more sense for him to remain in the Senate as Prime Minister until the election is  actually called, rather than contest an unnecessary by-election and then have to stand again at a general election probably only a few weeks thereafter.

Carr’s accession as Prime Minister would undeniably be a last-ditch strategy, but it also offers some potential advantages.  First, it would create an obvious opportunity for Kevin Rudd to return to Cabinet as Foreign Minister replacing Carr, but without simultaneously compelling senior Ministers like Wayne Swan and Simon Crean to go to the backbench (as they swore to do if Rudd ever returned as PM). Rudd’s return to a senior ministerial position (but not PM) could also be expected to have a positive impact on Labor’s electoral standing in Queensland.  At present Labor is looking much healthier in Queensland state-level polling as a result of Campbell Newman’s “slash and burn” economic policies,  but those results have not to date translated into any significant improvement in ALP prospects federally in Queensland seats.  It’s reasonable to suggest that the explanation lies in greater anti-Gillard resentment in Rudd’s home State of Queensland, a factor that would certainly  be drastically reduced if Rudd returns to the front bench and Gillard is no longer Prime Minister.

A move like this would only have a chance of success if it could be negotiated in close secrecy, with Julia Gillard being persuaded to step aside graciously without a public leadership contest.  Desirably she would retain a senior ministerial portfolio, probably Education given her longstanding engagement in that area.  That in turn would provide an opportunity to shift Peter Garrett to Environment and Indigenous Affairs (where Jenny Macklin has not endeared herself to Aboriginal voters with her stewardship of the Intervention/aka Stronger Futures). A further reshuffle of Craig Emerson into the Treasurer role in place of the radically uninspiring Wayne Swan would complete a recasting of Labor’s team which could well give it a fighting chance of pulling off a last-minute victory, particularly given a Coalition opponent led by the most unpopular Opposition Leader since Alexander Downer at his lowest ebb.

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic at Charles Darwin University, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law) and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 12 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in he early 1990s.
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47 Responses to Doing a Gorton or shifting the deckchairs?

  1. Jennifer says:

    I think you are underestimating Bob Carr’s unpopularity in NSW. He is increasingly (rightly in my view) blamed for the mess that Labor made of NSW under his successors. He may not have been personally corrupt, but corrupt and incompetent people flourished during his time (even if the corruption so far appears to have become large enough for conviction after he had gone). Labor needs to win NSW just as much as it needs Queensland.

  2. Senexx says:

    Successful legislative record but questionable effectiveness when you consider the MRRT and ETS legislations were considerably watered down and there seems very little interest in amending them. Granted, if the ETS is going to be effective, it hasn’t had enough time to show its efficacy. On the other hand, the MRRT has.

    For the first time in my life, when Rudd was elected, I had hope in a decent politician and then he was replaced by Gillard for no discernible public reason. As mentioned, his character was then assassinated. I lost faith and hope in every one of those people that did this. Gillard then continued every policy that had been being worked on despite saying the “government had lost its way”. How stupid does she think we are?

    Gillard government will hang on in the election but only because it will be the lesser of two evils. Sentiments by Abbott and company border on the outright stupid and the things coming out of Gillard and co are just barely less than outright stupid.

    Gillard will win because there is no alternative in either party. This is one time when TINA does exist and is correct.

  3. nottrampis says:

    I am afraid Ken has not, like most people, not fully understood the change of leadership.

    The people behind the Rudd ‘dismissal’ are materially incompetent. Mumble does a very convincing demolition of these people every so often. I mean how could anyone seriously have a ‘Lindsay’ test.

    They advise the government and that is why Gillard and Swan look so bad as politicians.
    Swan is the premier example. His record would make him one of the best if not the best treasurer in our nation’s history but he is soooobad at politics this gets lost. Again just read mumble on Swanny.

    This means the Factional overlord’s strategy is ‘working’ because the polls are closing.
    They simply do not admit they were or are wrong!

    Having said all that I do like the daring of it however remember Gorton only became Leader because black Jack vetoed McMahon

  4. john r walker says:

    ”Let me tell you, if the Labor Party’s stocks ever get so low as to require your services in its parliamentary leadership, it will itself have no future. I am ashamed to share membership of the same party as you,”
    John Robertson is a constant reminder of what really controls Labor.

    Long term polling (apart from the kevin 07 years) have been consistently about 48-7% vs 52-3% -or worse .

    Labor will have to pull some real tricks out of the bag to hold on to government .

  5. Alan says:

    I have to say I’d be astonished if the two big parties go into the election with their present leaders. If one jumps to a new leader, the other is going to jump as well. While I’d be delighted if the Gillard government manages to get through the silly season without a repeat of the mess in January last year, the record is against them. And the families minister is already doing her bit.

  6. RexR says:

    Good idea Ken. Why not give it a burl? The media will love it too. A new big story. Gillard is cooked but Abbott is a donkey and the people are starting to get bored with them both.

  7. PeterTB says:

    Re your “one trick bovver boy” comment about Abbott. In one sense, this is a fair comment in isolation. What I struggle to understand is how Gillard can be less unpopular than Abbott when it is clear that Abbott is both intellectually and morally superior to Gillard.

    Why is it so?

    • Marks says:

      How is it clear “…that Abbott is both intellectually and morally superior to Gillard…”?

      Your assertion is at such variance with the opinions of others (as you have yourself observed), that perhaps you are seeing something that others are not. Perhaps you should share that with us?

      However, since this thread is about Carr and Gillard, perhaps you should also extend your analysis to Abbott vs Carr and Gillard to make it more relevant to the matter at hand. I am not sure I could agree that Carr was the intellectual or moral superior to Gillard either. (Despite his intellectual pretensions that is). But you may have a view on that too.

  8. mary jenkins says:

    What a load of codswoppup! Must we have this rhetoric all this year until the election? Abbot will lose just like Peacock did becuase the liberal party are ruled by the catholic right. Abbot is Gillard’s best chance of winning the next election. The press are so anti Gillard and I may say anti women. Jenny Maclyn made the biggest bloob ever. She is tired and needs to be removed for making such a rediculous statement. Even women make mistakes!
    But men get away with theirs while women are hounded by the press.

    • Alan says:

      And yet on some issues, like marriage equality, Gillard is controlled by the Catholic right of her party. I hope no-one imagines Gillard adopted a marriage equality policy identical to Abbot’s because of her deep philosophical concord with unions like the SDA and AWU. Ditto her approach to refugees, where she is arguably to Abbot’s right. Ditto her approach to indigenous policy. Ditto her embrace of the US all the way, even to troop basing.

  9. Dennis Argall says:

    I agree with the comment that if Gillard can’t win, Labor can’t win.

    I agree that there are enough foolish people around to begin to imagine otherwise, among commentators, but I’m not sure the majority of the caucus is that foolish.

    I am puzzled, indeed concerned, that so many still think that the move against Rudd had no foundation in his incoherent approach to governing. I knew from people in Canberra long before that senior public servants preferred to keep their submissions for cabinet to times when Rudd was away, when Gillard would run a serious business meeting.

    I am disappointed that some of the decisions of the Gillard cabinet were less courageous than I might have wished, but have to accept that they clearly understood the miserable self-absorbed blinkered perspective of most of the nation blind to the fact that we are second on the UNDP’s Human Development Index, behind a genuinely ‘big government’ country, Norway.

    I am disappointed that even Howard’s haters still think him to have been potent rather than the suburban puppet of Lynton Crosby, and I am disappointed that the politics of fear and poison still command the nation.

    It will, I believe, take two more Gillard electoral victories to get rid of that poison… and thus I am very pessimistic indeed about national prospects. Let us all go find a room in which to hide and weep when Julie Bishop goes to sort out the UN Security Council.

  10. Alphonse says:

    Anyone who admires Romney’s style and rates Thomas Friedman has no business leading and Australian political party. Carr is an extreme case of terminal journo-political overspecialisation. Not a shred of commitment or substance remains.

  11. mary jenkins says:

    To discover more about “A year of Nuclear Bugles” by Jim Green on New Matilda 19 Dec 2012. This is why investments should not advance nuclear energy but look to many alternatives ans even those not yet discoved.

  12. mary jenkins says:

    sorry about the last comment it was meant for another subject matter. But look it up as both parties have committed to nuclear but are afraid to state it publicly in case they lose votes!

  13. Steve Dunera says:

    Check the betting odds. They’e actually slightly strengthened toward the LNP of late. Look at the Poliquant blog. It’s highly likely Abbott will be PM.

    Gillard pulling off a win would be a bigger coup than Keating’s ’93 win. Keating faced a foolish opposition leader. Gillard faces a successful one. Did anyone think Abbott would last this long and remove Rudd when he took over?

    The LNP’s campaign is written for them. Gillard and Swan saying ‘There will be no C02 Tax’ and every ALP politician going on about how important the budget surplus is. Then you run Thomson and Obied. Deceit, incompetence and corruption is what is implied and it will be very hard for the ALP to avoid all these charges.

    There is a game of policy and a game of playing politics. The policy questions are debatable but the politics game has been played poorly by the ALP since they removed a very popular PM at the behest of various factional leaders.

    The only thing that really could help the ALP is removing Swan and Gillard and they’ve spent much of the past few years making sure the Unions are happy so that has also become unlikely.

    • john r walker says:

      Would not disagree , except that Mr Rudd was definitely a ‘odd’ character.

      • Alan says:

        Most prime ministers and presidents are by definition pretty odd. It’s fascinating that Rudd performed so well in the GFC, when all accounts, even Swann quite recently, agree that it was Rudd who made the running. Some accounts say Gillard initially opposed the stimulus measures. It will be even more fascinating in 30 years time when the cabinet records are released to find out what actually happened inside the Rudd government.

        • john r walker says:

          You may remember the occasion when Mr Rudd (of all people) forgot about attending an important meeting of the joint chiefs of staff and foreign affairs-national security type heavies . I asked about this forgetfulness, the answer was that Mr Rudd gave equal and exclusive attention to what ever was in front of him at that moment in time.

        • Alan says:

          I remember a whole lot of horror stories about Rudd. With the exception of the rhetorical carpet-bombing by Gillard and her supporters in February there are one hell of a lot of anonymous reports, often backed by deeply witty one-liners. There are even more senior pubic servant horror stories, equally anonymous.

          If those stories were true the issue was not Rudd’s leadership style but whether he should be removed for mental incapacity and why the shocked and horrified members of his cabinet did not speak about these problems until years later.

          I also recall being told, in 1975, by a fairly prominent Brisbane psychiatrist, that he knew the prominent Sydney psychiatrist who was treating Gough Whitlam for schizophrenia. The difference here is only that these tories are coming from inside Labor rather than the opposition.

          The Rudd-with-fangs stories are sourced exclusively from the Gillard claque.They have been denied on the record by people like Lindsay Tanner and Ken Henry. The initial explanation for Maxine McKew’s account was, if you will remember, that a professional reporter with 30 years experience and numerous awards, and her publisher, had let Rudd ghostwrite her book.

          Now I have no doubt that a young couple were once parking in the federal division of Griffith, heard a strange noise, and after the boy had gone to investigate the girl heard Kevin Rudd banging her boyfriend’s severed head on the roof of the car. After all everyone tells this story so it must be true.

        • john r walker says:

          Alan the source for that particular story is impeccable and very non partisan.
          Not at all suggesting Mr Rudd was mad, let alone ‘fanged’ – just very hard to work for.

        • Alan says:

          Actually, the missing National Security committee meetings story is not well-sourced. The story was broken by Chris Uhlmann and is based exclusively on ‘insiders’ which could be anyone from the prime minister’s office to James Ashby. Uhlmann has serial from on gotcha questions and on accepting anonymous leaks as gospel truth. This particular allegation has been denied by a number of ministers including (although not in terms) Julia Gillard.

          Moreover the story is inherently unlikely. Rudd’s time management is indeed awful and he is evidently not very nice to work for. On the other hand foreign policy was his passion, prime ministers have a lot of diaries, minders and re-minders. They might get held up or have a conflict of appointments, but they don’t forget meetings on the topic that most interests them because there are too many people telling them what’s next on the diary.

  14. mary jenkins says:

    A change of leadership would be a disaster especially or the ALP. This leadership talk is instigated by the right wing press to keep the rhetoric alive to call an early election. This would give the press plenty of rubbish to fill theirt newspapers with

    • Ken Parish says:

      “This leadership talk is instigated by the right wing press”

      I agree that’s largely true right now. I’m only hypothesising about how one might view things as a Labor MHR in a vulnerable seat if it becomes apparent 4 or 5 months down the track that there has been no net positive movement and disaster is certain unless something is done.

      • Alan says:

        The right-wing press are forever doing leadership speculation stories. The question is why the stories stick with Gillard as they did not stick with Bligh, Keneally, Kirner, Kernot, Lawrence. Strong labor leaders know they will face an adverse press and find ways to deal with it. This labor leader has not yet done so.

        • mary jenkins says:

          Gillard is surrounded by right wing advisers and many cabinet members who are neo liberals in disguise. Then she has helpful (sic) men like Graham Richardsonj who is resurected by the ABC to comment on behalf of the ALP. He has been undermining Gillard from day one., as have many in the party..These are men of the past that cannot ajust to a women in power.

        • Alan says:

          You simply cannot be arguing that Gillard is a good leader who is incapable of picking advisers who reflect her views. Those rightwing advisers are in place because they are who Gillard wants in those jobs. Gillard may once have been part of the left, but those tags are meaningless in the contemporary party.

  15. Geoff Robinson says:

    One problem here is margin in Kingsford-Smith of 5%, but if Labor can’t win this no prospect.

  16. nottrampis says:

    Gillard can hardly get rid of these incompetent advisers/ strategists/ etal as they offered her the crown which she accepted.

    Gillard had really not been leftwing since she was elevated to the Shadow Ministry.

    She like Swan is terrible at selling things.

    • Alan says:


      Putting aside our disagreements about whether Gillard jumped or was pushed into the challenge, (1) what do you think would have happened, taking your side for the sake of argument, if Gillard had simply said ‘No.’? (2) if Gillard was not active in preparing the challenge, why did she take such an extreme position opposing the ETS? (3) who leaked the likelihood of abandoning or postponing the ETS to Lenore Taylor and pre-empted a full cabinet and caucus debate?

      In a similar situation in NSW Nathan Rees, according to Rodney Cavalier in Power Crisis approached by the same people, laid down two conditions. Iemma had to be made aware of the possibility of a challenge if he continued with the electricity privatisation. Rees was prepared to contest a vacancy but would not be part of, and would oppose, any moves for a spill. Rees, of course, went on to be knifed by the usual suspects after becoming premier.

  17. nottrampis says:


    1) A politician who knocks back being PM?

    2) She knocked it back because of the advice of those brilliant strategist/advisers etal another great example of their genius

  18. Alan says:


    It is not enough to say a politician rejecting being PM. The coup could not haver happened without Gillard’s consent, even assuming that (1) Gillard had no part of the coup before the day she challenged and (2) there are fairies at the bottom of the garden. If Gillard was the innocent and loyal deputy being roughly wooed by all these beastly types from the right all she had to do was tell them they were out of their tiny little minds if they thought the electorate would wear it.

    And the third question? I say there were a string of leaks that damaged Rudd that came from inside cabinet and originated with someone who was desperately opposed to the ETS. Who do you think that could have been? And was it just an extraordinary chance, as dramatic as the Vogon and English languages being exactly the same, that someone was running a campaign against Rudd from inside the cabinet that exactly paralleled what the vat creatures of Sussex St were doing outside the cabinet?

  19. nottrampis says:


    you are suggesting that a politician when offered the PM’s position will say no.

    Barking mad people might believe that but no other.

    The numbers had been worked. Rudd would no longer be PM.

    If she said no then it would have been offered to some-one else.

    She wanted to be PM and knew if she did not say yes she never would be. you do not have to be Patrick Jane to understand that.

    you do not believe the NSW right had anyone in Cabinet?

  20. Alan says:

    It would not and could not have been offered to anyone else. Gillard herself controls a considerable bloc of caucus votes and could have blocked any spill. Contrary to the Richo theory of history there are examples, like Nathan Rees, of people who have declined to betray their leader.

    There was no-one from the NSW Right on the inner cabinet where the ETS abandonment was being considered and where the leaks must have originated.

  21. nottrampis says:


    Stephen Smith is an obvious one for a start.

    Who do you think wanted the ETS abandoned?

  22. Alan says:

    I don’t answer speculations except to note that Stephen Smith was not a member of the inner cabinet. Rudd, Gillard, Swan and Tanner were. Nor is Smith reported to have taken any role in the coup.

  23. nottrampis says:


    There is no such thing as inner cabinet.

    Stephen smith would have been offered the job if Gillard declined.

    I repeat who do you think wanted the ETS abandoned and who sold this garbage to both Gillard and Swan?

  24. Alan says:

    After the GFC the Rudd government made most of its decisions in an inner cabinet called the Strategic Priorities and Budget Committee infamously known also as the Gang of Four. I am surprised you can declare with such authority that there was no inner cabinet when the Gillard/Swan antics over the ETS are widely reported as having occurred within the SPBC.

    I know the ALP right are masters of the universe, but I had not realised they had mastered time travel.

    Gillard’s opposition to the ETS precedes the right’s opposition to it. As late as February 2010 Arbib wanted a double dissolution on the issue while Gillard (who advocated strongly for the ETS during the 2007 campaign) had already written to Rudd that if he proceeded with the ETS she would not defend it in parliament or on the hustings.

    By your theory the vat creatures of Sussex St can reach their slimy tendrils of influence back into the past and influence Gillard to adopt a position before they adopted it themselves.

  25. nottrampis says:


    There is NO such thing as an inner cabinet.

    The gang of four were known as the kitchen cabinet.

    The two people who wanted to end the ETS were Swan and Gillard. This was AFTER the thought about the double dissolution.

    Have a guess of whom they relied on for advice.

    Better still read up about it.

  26. Alan says:

    Google the terms ‘Rudd’ and ‘inner cabinet’. Previously you declared that all books verify your theory. That is untrue. Tales from the political trenches advances a completely different theory. Now you announce there was no inner cabinet. That is also untrue. You announce that Gillard and Swan opposed the ETS after the decision not to have a double dissolution. That is also untrue. Gillard opposed the ETS from the time Abbot launched his scare campaign on big new taxes. For someone publicly proclaimed to be as tough as nails, this prime minister scares rather easily.

    If you want to continue this conversation, you will need to be a little more accurate on in future posts.

  27. nottrampis says:

    read carefully. I said there is no such thing as an inner Cabinet. the gang of four were called a kitchen cabinet.

    As for the rest you can believe what you wish to.

    As I said time and time again. Who advised both Swan and Gillard?

    ( hint. Who had access to the party polling on the topic?)

  28. Alan says:

    The google search terms Rudd and inner cabinet give 7,290,000 results.

    The google search terms Rudd and kitchen cabinet give 2,100,000 results.

    The google search terms Rudd and gang of four give 213,000 results

    It would seem the expression ‘inner cabinet’ is more popular than you think.

    You keep asking a meaningless question as though it somehow advances your cause, while making factual blunder after factual blunder, accompanied by any number of patronising, if more than mildly unconvincing, declarations that you are right.

  29. nottrampis says:


    It doesn’t matter how many times inner cabinet is mentioned the term is meaningless. You tried to give it some formal status.

    The term Kitchen cabinet has been around since the Fraser days.

    you have made a number of assertions which have been found to be wrong.

    You can’t even get time lines correct.


  30. Alan says:

    The Strategic Priority and Budget Committee was a formal cabinet committee where, according to all three of The party thieves, Shitstorm and Tales from the political trenches, most of the decisions were made after the GFC. Whether you call it the inner cabinet, the kitchen cabinet, or the gang of four does not change its function. A whole lot more people seem to call it the inner cabinet than anything else.

    The term kitchen cabinet derives from the Kennedy administration because JFK and his immediate family and advisers were bagged for making a whole lot of decisions in the kitchen at RFK’s house.

    As with the previous conversation, this one is not worth pursuing unless you can come up with actual facts to support flat declarations that something was thus and so no matter what.

  31. mary jenkins says:

    Stop all this speculation boys. What about the future? There are much more important things to discuss like nucear energy danger and the escalating heat in Australia that us out of our control unless we address the pollution and lack of committment to change our way of living in Australia. Then there is the forthcoming water shortage that most people have ignored. The fossel fuel debacle that subsidises the coal industry instead of investing in alternatives. Australia is way behind Europe on this!
    Australians arte like ostiches witht heir head deep in the sand refusing to acknowledge the futre dangers.

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