Two significant articles in the SMH this morning.
He’s still tiptoed along the line – he hasn’t called it a spill, but he has called it a loss of confidence. So if a coup went in the next few days he’d clearly say he tipped it first. If it doesn’t happen, he hasn’t come right out and said that one is on.
His general theme is that the Nielsen poll was bad, and Labor has been behind in 27 out of 27 Nielsen polls since the election, which I think I heard someone say is unprecedented even for an opposition let alone a government. There is no plan to get back in front other than waiting, and “it’s hard for her caucus to feel lucky with regular displays of political misjudgment by Gillard and her closest allies.” So Swan ran the budget into deficit and Conroy’s media regulations are a mess.
The story looks to be that the media regulations are going to fail, Gillard apparently rammed them through caucus and upset people in doing so (first I’ve heard of this, maybe I missed it, but maybe it’s historical revisionism). It feels like momentum may be building that these media reforms are the trigger – a failure on these is enough to say it’s time for a change. I also heard yesterday on the radio (ABC radio, interview with the AFR’s political editor) that Rudd has been putting it about that it’s now or never – he thinks that June is too late for him to make an impact, so if they want him they need to move. As the editor said, he’d take it in a flash in June as well, but it’s a fair point – you couldn’t win from a standing start in June.
We also see the final quote “Though Ms Gillard’s support in the caucus has not been canvassed seriously since the Rudd challenge 13 months ago, it is now doubtful that she enjoys the confidence of the majority.” As I’ve noted before, it’s not about whether she enjoys the confidence of the majority, it’s about whether any other candidate has higher confidence. I’m not sure Rudd yet has the numbers, plenty of people don’t want to keep Gillard, but not all that many want to go back to Rudd.
What does all this mean? I’d say that the odds just shortened on a spill in the next couple of days, but I still reckon it’s less than 50% chance of happening. We’ll see during the day. Carr is apparently overseas, it’d be hard to call a challenge with him out of the country.