It’s on

While there is no truth at all to DC’s dastardly assertion that all Australian MPs are golpistas, Simon Crean, senior minister and a former opposition leader, has called on Julia Gillard to resign the prime leadership. I’d be astounded if there is not a change, and then presumably there will be a caretaker government while the new leader tries to form a government.

7 thoughts on “It’s on

  1. Gillard initially resisted a ballot, but then conceded. The vote is scheduled for 04:30 AEST, about an hour from now.

    The House of Representatives refused to suspend standing orders to allow the Opposition to move no confidence. The vote was 73/71, but needed 76. A suspension of standing orders requires an absolute majority.

    The crossbench voted with the Opposition, which may be ominous if a new Labor leader is trying to form a government.

  2. Why do existing Standing Orders block the Opposition from moving a no confidence vote right here and now? Do the Orders require advance notice?

    It seems Oz has adopted by default the German rule that a no confidence vote requires an absolute majority.

    Query whether the GG can and should take account of the fact that a simple majority of the House wanted to vote no confidence. It seems at least as clear a signal as voting to reduce the PrM’s pay by one dollar.

  3. I’m astounded.

    I have had expecting the ‘tap on the shoulder’ but Crean is the last person I would have expected to do it, and doing it alone without talking to other senior ministers or to Rudd was madness. Crean was among the small group of ministers who carpet-bombed Rudd in 2012 with expressions like ‘treacherous’ and ‘psychopath’. Crean’s tactic meant that Gillard had early warning of the challenge and Rudd did not.

    Crean was dismissed from office after he made his demands public and the Rudd camp apparently had no interest in his demand to be made deputy prime minister as part of a unity ticket.

    Some in the media and the blogosphere are muttering that the whole thing was a put-up job orchestrated out of the prime minister’s office. I would not go that far, beyond noting that this contest looks eerily similar to the February 2012 challenge when Rudd was effectively forced into a premature challenge.

    The problem is that the Gillard supporters still have a leader on a primary vote of 31% who has a remarkable capacity for own goals who has lost every Nielsen poll since the election in 2010.

    A package of media reform bills were hastily withdrawn earlier today (before Crean went public) when it became clear they would not pass the house. Those bills were announced as essential, the government said they would not accept any amendments, then they accepted amendments and the bills went down anyway.

    The Gillard camp are proclaiming that ‘It’s over’. I believe that leadership speculation will be over only when the prime minister shows some sign of being able to lift the primary vote above a catastrophic level.

    Any number of claims that a meeting which didn’t actually vote was unanimous are absurd.

    @Tom

    The house has always required an absolute majority to suspend standing orders. I suspect, but it will take a little research, that motions of no confidence may only have become matters requiring notice as part of the changes to the rules introduced when the minority government was agreed to by the crossbench.

    The opposition, which has not been deft in its use of procedure in this parliament, should have attempted to make an issue of a motion already before the house, or should have simply put a motion of no confidence on notice.

  4. Further@Tom

    The difference here is that a vote to cut the salary is moved, debated and voted on as a motion of no confidence. In those cases the prime minister got up and said something along the lines of ‘I accept this as a motion of confidence.’ Previous prime ministers have generally been prepared to have confidence tested, but this prime minister has not.

    I’d be reluctant to see the house abandon absolute majorities for suspension, but there should be an unavoidable procedure to bring a motion of no confidence on say 24 hours’ notice.

    The house will rise in a few minutes for a 6 week break before the budget meeting.

    Incidentally, apparently the Canadian cabinet manual says that the governor-gneral can only take cognisance of the prime minister’s advice in gauging the numbers in the house.

    I’d imagine an Australian or New Zealand governor would fall out of their chair laughing at such an attempt to override the constitution by procedure manual.

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