Kevin Rudd, who quit as Australia’s foreign minister yesterday, said he’s viewed by colleagues as the best replacement for Prime Minister Julia Gillard. She has called a leadership ballot for Feb. 27.
Following is a timeline of the events, policy announcements and media reports that led to next week’s vote.
Dec. 4, 2006: Rudd is elected opposition leader, defeating Kim Beazley in a Labor party ballot. Gillard becomes Rudd’s deputy.
Nov. 24, 2007: Rudd becomes Australia’s 30th prime minister after his Labor party hands John Howard’s Liberal party the worst election defeat in its 63-year history.
Dec. 3, 2007: Rudd’s government ratifies the Kyoto protocol.
Feb. 13, 2008: Rudd offers the nation’s first apology to Aborigines taken from families for assimilation into the white community, a period from 1910 to 1970 known as the “Stolen Generation.”
Oct. 14, 2008: Rudd announces an economic stimulus of A$10.4 billion to be given to pensioners, home buyers and families.
Dec. 15, 2008: Rudd’s government announces plans for an emissions trading scheme to reduce carbon emissions by 5 percent to 15 percent.
Feb. 3, 2009: Government announces second round of stimulus measures, spending A$42 billion on construction projects including roads and schools as well as handouts to families and low-income earners.
April 27, 2010: Rudd delays emissions trading program to 2012.
May 4, 2010: Rudd’s Labor party loses its lead for the first time since coming to power in 2007, according to Newspoll, after unveiling plans to introduce a 40 percent tax on the profits of resource companies.
June 24, 2010: Gillard becomes Australia’s first female prime minister after deposing Rudd as Labor leader.
Aug. 21, 2010: Gillard’s loses Labor’s majority in parliament in an election against Abbott’s Liberal-National coalition.
Sept. 7, 2010: Gillard wins support from independent lawmakers to form a minority government.
July 10, 2011: Gillard unveils a tax on polluters.
Aug. 31, 2011: Australia’s top court bars Gillard’s proposal to send illegal immigrants who arrive by boat to Malaysia.
Sept. 2, 2011: Gillard says she won’t quit after media reports that leaders of her party urged her to consider stepping down, and Labor lawmakers were considering replacing her with Rudd.
Sept. 6, 2011: Gillard’s rating falls to record low, Newspoll says. The poll shows Rudd as the best candidate to lead Labor.
Jan. 21, 2012: Gillard loses the support of independent lawmaker Andrew Wilkie, who says she broke a pledge to tighten gambling laws.
Jan. 27, 2012: A media aide to Gillard resigns for being involved in events that led to clashes between police and aboriginal protesters in Canberra and the rescue by security officers of Gillard and Abbott.
Feb. 13, 2012: A documentary aired by the Australian Broadcasting Corp. questions Gillard’s version of when she decided to challenge Rudd for the Labor leadership.
Feb. 19, 2012: Labor lawmaker Darren Cheeseman urges Gillard to step down and backs Rudd as her replacement, the Sunday Age newspaper reports. Labor can’t win the next election under Gillard, Cheeseman tells the newspaper. Rudd, in an interview with Sky News, says he’s changed and learnt from his mistakes.
Feb. 20, 2012: Simon Crean, a former Labor leader who is minister for regional Australia, tells the ABC that Rudd should “put up or shut up.” Rudd denies he has sought anyone’s support to become prime minister.
Feb. 22, 2012: Rudd resigns as foreign minister in Washington. Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan, Rudd’s treasurer when he was in power, says colleagues are “sick of” Rudd and he is undermining the government.
Feb. 23, 2012: Rudd says colleagues regard him as the “best prospect” to lead the party at the next election. Gillard calls a leadership ballot for Feb. 27 “to settle this question once and for all.”
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