Gillard Retains Australian Leadership After Ballot: Timeline

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard retained leadership of the governing Labor party today after predecessor Kevin Rudd declined to challenge her in a ballot.

Following is a timeline of the events, policy announcements and media reports leading up to the vote in Canberra.

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.

Oct. 14, 2008: Rudd announces an economic stimulus of A$10.4 billion ($11 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.

Dec. 1, 2009: Tony Abbott defeats Malcolm Turnbull to become the opposition’s third leader since Rudd’s election.

April 27, 2010: Rudd announces delay to proposed emissions trading program.

May 4, 2010: 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 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.

Nov. 24, 2011: Peter Slipper, a member of the Liberal-National coalition, agrees to take speaker’s post and replace Labor’s Harry Jenkins, giving government an extra vote in the lower house.

Jan. 21, 2012: Gillard loses the support of independent lawmaker Andrew Wilkie, who says she broke a pledge to tighten gambling laws.

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. 20, 2012: Simon Crean, a former Labor leader, 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.

Feb. 27, 2012: Gillard wins ballot with 71 votes to Rudd’s 31. Rudd says he won’t challenge for leadership again.

April 20, 2012: Gillard tells lawmaker Craig Thomson to quit the Labor party amid claims he used used a labor union credit card to pay for prostitutes while working for the Health Services Union before entering parliament in 2007. Thomson sits in parliament as an independent.

May 8, 2012: Slipper stands aside as speaker amid accusations of sexual misconduct and fraud.

Oct. 10, 2012: Slipper resigns as speaker after allegedly sending text messages that contained crude comments about women. Gillard accuses Abbott of sexism and hypocrisy.

Dec. 11, 2012: Gillard’s popularity falls to six-month low as opposition attacks and media reports about her work as a union lawyer 20 years earlier reversed her party’s gains.

Dec. 20, 2012: Treasurer Swan said government unlikely to deliver a pledged budget surplus this fiscal year as weaker economic growth and a strong local currency curb tax receipts.

Jan. 30, 2013: Gillard sets Australia’s election for Sept. 14, the longest advance notice in at least 60 years, as her minority Labor government seeks to close the gap in opinion polls with the opposition.

Feb. 18, 2013: Gillard is eclipsed by Abbott as Australia’s preferred leader as the Labor party popularity slides ahead of elections due Sept. 14, according to the Australian Financial Review/Nielsen poll. It’s the first time in almost seven months Abbott has led as preferred leader.

March 12, 2013: The government announces plans to revamp media laws.

March 19, 2013: Foreign Minister Bob Carr and Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler reject reports they’ve lost confidence in Gillard’s leadership.

March 21, 2013: Crean calls on Gillard to hold a leadership ballot, saying the government can’t win elections due in six months from its current position in opinion polls. Crean said he would stand for the position of deputy and urged former Rudd to put his name forward for the leadership. Gillard calls ballot for leadership and Rudd says he won’t challenge.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Sharples in Melbourne at bsharples@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg at phirschberg@bloomberg.net

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