23 June 2010

Rudd on His Way Out?

Breaking news in Australia has Prime Minister Kevin Rudd facing a leadership challenge from Julia Gillard (both pictured above). Rudd could be out as soon as tomorrow (this afternoon if you are in my part of the world).

A big part of this story is the disfavor that Rudd generated by first hyping then delaying the Australian emissions trading scheme. Sky News reports:
The change in fortunes for Mr Rudd has happened with alarming speed.

After a lengthy honeymoon with the electorate, the public mood started to turn following a run of problems and backflips, including the botched home insulation scheme and a suspension in processing of Afghan and Sri Lankan asylum seekers.

But it was the ETS that dragged Mr Rudd's popularity down.Without a power base in caucus, once Mr Rudd began to lose public support, his backing within the parliamentary party began to ebb away.
This of course will mean that I have to once again update my paper on Australia's emissions reductions policies. The timing is good (Thanks Labour Party!) as my paper was just sent back from the journal I submitted it to as being not of sufficient interest to consider for publication. The ETS is important enough to bring down a political leader, but not relevant to environmental policy discussions in academia? But I digress . . .

Rudd raised expectations with the ETS and then found himself in a bad situation, as the policy was a bad one but because expectations had been raised, simply postponing it was always going to have political repercussions. I laid out some of this in an op-ed last March at ABC News (Australia).

If she becomes prime minister, it would be quite easy for Gillard to repeat the exact same mistake with the ETS. Let's hope that she is paying attention to those pesky academics with minds of their own.


  1. Maybe you/someone/this blog community should start an online journal for climate policy topics that real world policy wonks find of interest but perhaps academics do not. Perhaps:
    "The Climate Practitioner's Policy Journal." Needless to say it would have a place for practitioners and academics (and others) to comment after each paper published.
    Just a thought..

  2. She is in.

    I don't believe that the ETS had much to do with Rudd's demise, the only people talking about that here are the journalists. Most people I believe saw it as a necessary backflip given the lack of direction that came out of copenhagen.

  3. It was not the ETS or the lack thereof so much as arrogance and obviously having no convictions other than politics -- Kevin Rudd pitched addressing global warming as a moral imperative and then abruptly abandoned it when it lost value as a wedge issue against the opposition. The man is personally disliked to barely comprehensible levels but it is only the AGW-enamored media that believes failure to sacrifice Australian industry and mineral exports on the altar of green purity was Rudd’s downfall. Try the useless squandering of massive amounts of taxpayers’ funds and devastating displays of incompetence (coupled with unwillingness to accept blame or any form of personal fault) for the loss of popularity of such a false and hollow man.

  4. The ETS may have been the turning point, but it was not the cause. It was a symptom. At the core Rudd was a bad leader. He had no courage or conviction and was merely responding to whatever the latest focus group said. While the weather was fair it worked - when he faced a little oppostion he went to pieces.

  5. http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2010/06/zombie-returns.html

    Looks like she is indeed going for ETS again !