History made in Australia. Julia Gillard’s sworn in as the country’s first female prime minister, but keen to mark the achievements of her predecessor.
“Kevin Rudd and I disagreed about the direction of the Government. I believed we needed to do better. But Kevin Rudd is a man of remarkable achievement. He made wonderful history for this nation.”
But history will not be so kind. Kevin Rudd will go down as the first Australian prime minister ousted by his own party during his first term in office. Choking back tears, he made his farewell, proud of his achievements, leading Australia through the global financial crisis, the country avoiding a recession and increasing Australia's international standing.
“On the global stage, Australia is now at the table of the G20. This is big for the country.”
It has not been enough to save him. He suffered for failing to introduce a much-promised carbon emissions trading scheme and trying to push through an unpopular new tax on mining profits, his once sky-high popularity plummeting to unseen depths. Kevin Rudd, once a hero of his Labor Party for leading them to power, spectacularly overthrown by that same party after a dramatic slide in his popularity. Mr Rudd ultimately stepping aside for his deputy Julia Gillard. On the streets of Sydney, it was clear Mr Rudd's support base was gone.
“Probably not surprised, and I guess you know, not disappointed.”
Elation mixed with caution that Australian politics has broken the gender barrier.
“Here in a dire state, I think that's what they've made, what is a quite rush move to change leadership because something they are heading for a quite serious loss.”
Prime Minister Gillard concedes the Government had lost its way. There are big international challenges ahead too for Ms Gillard, climate change, the economy, and the future of Australia's involvement in Afghanistan. Five Australian servicemen have been killed in the past month.
Julia Gillard has won over her party. The big question now, can she win the Australian people? An election is due to be called within month, she inherits a party that is waning in the polls. Julia Gillard has made history, but maybe very short-lived. Stan Grant, CNN, Sydney.
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