Australia Political Coup: First Australian Woman Prime Minister
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Australia Political Coup: First Australian Woman Prime Minister

Following a political coup, Australia has it's first woman Prime Minister.

Today, Thursday 24 June, 2010 was an historic day for Australia. Australia's first woman Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, was sworn into office by Australia's first woman Governor General, Quentin Bryce. The day was also historic because the swearing in of Ms Gillard was a result of a political coup against the, until then, current Labour Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. This is the first time an Australian Prime Minister has been rolled during his term in office and in this case, only months out from a general election.

Until today Julia Gillard was Australia's Deputy Prime Minister. The coup was unexpected, in spite of growing concerns about the direction Kevin Rudd was taking the Labour Party government. Ms Rudd had recently denied all speculation that she was setting herself up to topple Rudd and become the next Prime Minister. However, in the last 24 hours Labour party Members of Parliament managed to persuade her that the coup was necessary. There had been growing concern about the direction of the Labour led government and it was felt necessary within the ranks to have a change of leadership, in order to retain votes and political power in the coming election later in the year. Kevin Rudd resigned as Prime Minister rather than face a vote within his party. He had been expected to fight for his position, bit opted instead for a smooth change over.

Rudd's management style within the Labour party had become controversial recently, following his shelving of a greenhouse emissions trading scheme. He was also facing opposition with a recently proposed super-profits tax on miners. Ms Gillard has promised to act on these two issues as well as that of the concern over asylum seekers arriving in droves by boat upon Australian shores.

The changeover was televised live. First Kevin Rudd delivered an emotional address, accompanied by his wife and children. He outlined the things he was proud of achieving during his two and a half year office. At times he broke down, at one stage saying one thing he was not proud of was that he was blubbering. However, he endorsed his support of incoming Prime Minister Julia Gillard and announced he'd be staying on as a member of parliament.

Julia Gillard was impressive in the dignified way in which she delivered her address to the nation. She fielded questions from the press in a decisive way, before heading off to be sworn in as Prime Minister. Ms Gillard has acknowledged the level of stress the day would have caused outgoing Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd and his family, and asked that they have time to come to terms with the swiftness of the sudden change in their lives.

New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, was the first to speak to Australia's new Prime Minister, saying the relationship between the two countries is a critical one.

The sudden speed of the change took both countries, Australia and New Zealand by surprise.

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Comments (4)

I don't know much about Australian politics. This was a great insight. Thank you.

A great coup in deed for Australia, let's just hope she does'nt go the way the only woman British PM did.

Great coverage of some great news.

Just returning with my vote.