A lesson for Tory plotters? Brutal leadership challenge topples Australian PM

Julie Gillard: Australia's first PM managed three years in office.
Julie Gillard: Australia's first PMmanaged three years in office.
Ian Dunt By

Plotters against David Cameron were nervously viewing events in Australia this morning, after prime minister Julie Gillard was toppled by the very same man she ousted in 2010.

Australia's first female prime minister lost the leadership of the Labor party after a slip vote saw Kevin Rudd win 45 supporters to her 57.

The Labor party now has just months to prepare itself before a general election against Tony Abott's centre-right Liberal party.

That poll is set for September, but some sources indicate Rudd might call an even earlier vote. On the other hand, constitutional requirements could delay the poll, according to some sources.


The battle will be viewed with interest by the hardcore rump of Tory MPs intent on overthrowing Cameron and his modernisation agenda.

But events in Australian made most British leadership coups looks civil by comparison. Gillard called the vote to put to rest the continued threats of a leadership challenge from her rival, but the daring move backfired.

Gillard suffered from poor poll results throughout her tenure as Labor leader. She was also subject to press coverage and political attacks which many considered sexist.

In the last month alone she was asked if her partner was gay because he was a hairdresser, mocked for her "small breasts" in a political fundraising dinner menu and attacked for taking part in a photoshoot featuring her knitting.

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