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Kevin Rudd ousts Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard

Kevin Rudd has ousted Prime Minister Julia Gillard as leader of Australia's Labor Party.

He won by 57 votes to 45, in a leadership ballot of Labor lawmakers.

The change comes ahead of a general election due in September, which polls suggest Labor is set to lose.

This is the latest twist in a long and bitter rivalry between the two politicians - but it could be the last as Ms Gillard has said she will now leave politics.

"I will not re-contest the federal electorate... at the forthcoming election," said Ms Gillard, Australia's first female prime minister.

"What I am absolutely confident of is it will be easier for the next woman and the woman after that and the woman after that, and I'm proud of that," she added.

Wednesday's leadership vote makes Mr Rudd the leader of the Labor Party, but not yet prime minister.

Ms Gillard must first write to Governor General Quentin Bryce stating that she is resigning before Mr Rudd can be sworn in.

Despite their bitter rivalry, Mr Rudd praised his predecessor, describing her as a woman of extraordinary intelligence, with great strength and energy.

"Julia, as prime minister and prior to that as deputy prime minister, has achieved much under the difficult circumstances of a minority government," he told a news conference after his victory.

Mr Rudd is more popular with voters than Ms Gillard, and many believe Labor will perform better in the election under him.

Meanwhile, opposition leader Tony Abbott called on Mr Rudd to name an election date, arguing that it should be sooner than 14 September - the date set by Ms Gillard.

"The Australian people are yearning to make a choice. The Australian people are well and truly over this low and dishonourable parliament," he told a news conference.

Limiting losses? Wednesday's leadership test was the third faced by Ms Gillard since she took office in 2010. She herself ousted Mr Rudd as prime minister in 2010.

The BBC's Nick Bryant in Sydney says Mr Rudd has exacted his revenge, after three years of him and his supporters mounting a destabilisation campaign targeted very much at her.

The ballot followed months of speculation over the party's leadership, and came after a day of drama that saw Mr Rudd's supporters push for a vote.

Shortly before the vote, a key power-broker, Bill Shorten, switched his support to Mr Rudd, saying Labor stood a better chance in the polls with him.

Many people do not think Mr Rudd will win the election but he may mitigate the losses and shorten the time Labor could spend in opposition if the party loses, our correspondent says.

A poll published earlier this month suggested that three cabinet ministers would lose their seats at the poll under Ms Gillard's leadership, but would retain their seats if Mr Rudd was leading the party.

A shake-up in the cabinet is expected following the leadership change.

Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan has already quit because of Mr Rudd's victory. He has been replaced by Rudd ally and transport minister Anthony Albanese.

by Anonymousreply 709/22/2014

We know.

by Anonymousreply 106/27/2013

Julia Gillard was against gay marriage. What is the outlook of Kevin Rudd toward marriage equality?

A reporter recently got fired for asking Gillard if her live-in male friend, a beautician, is gay.

by Anonymousreply 206/27/2013

Interesting, R2.

by Anonymousreply 306/27/2013

She's resigning from Parliament now for him.

Australia is a nightmare, I swear.

by Anonymousreply 406/27/2013

Kevin Rudd is a disaster. This is the worst thing that could have happened. People are going to start losing their jobs now. Rudd is totally incompetent.

They shot down the gay marriage bill last week. No marriage for gays in Australia. It's dead.

by Anonymousreply 506/27/2013

Julia Gillard has accepted same-sex marriage will one day happen in Australia.

The former Labor prime minister opposes same-sex marriage, maintaining she believes in the 'traditional' definition of the union.

But in a new interview, she admits her views are 'old fashioned' and that marriage equality is an inevitability in the developed world.

'I've got what may be in the modern age a kind of old-fashioned, feminist view about, can we take the traditional institution of marriage and stretch it? Or do you create some other way of solemnising relationships and recognizing them as of worth and status?' she told Channel Nine.

'When I was a young feminist I would've said overwhelmingly the gay community was on that track too, but things have changed.

'I accept the course of human history now is that we are going to see same-sex marriage here and in, you know, most parts of the developed world.'

When Kevin Rudd took over as prime minister and the leader of the Labor party last year, he said he would endorse same-sex marriage.

But when Tony Abbott won in the federal poll, he said he remains opposed to legalizing the unions.

The Australian Capital Territory briefly legalized same-sex marriage in 2013 for five days until the High Court ruled the law to be unconstitutional. Norfolk Island is hoping to be the first part of the country to legalize equality for good.

Liberal Democratic Party Senator David Leyonhjelm has also announced a bill to legalize same-sex marriage and will put it on the notice paper during the current sitting fortnight of Parliament.

However its introduction depends on the promise of a Coalition conscience vote, something that is yet to be guaranteed. - See more at:

by Anonymousreply 609/22/2014

I've never viewed Australians as progressive. I think they're a lot like US southern states.

by Anonymousreply 709/22/2014
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