From Gillard to Rudd: An Aussie Transfer of Power

30 Jun
English: Australian flag seen flying in Toowoo...

Australian flag seen flying in Toowoomba, Queensland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the U.S., we are quite familiar how the president, who is the chief executive and head of state, an important distinction I have made before, is nominated and elected.  In the past few election cycles, we essentially go through a year-long process where candidates compete for their party’s nomination in the various states and territories, competing for both elected and non-elected delegates, and ending up at a nominating convention in which a candidate gets the (more or less) majority support of their party.  (It is much more complicated than this, but this gives a good gist of what happens.)  Then the  candidates of the (major) parties compete for the ‘swing’ states which could decide the election in their favor for electors who eventually vote for them and are then affirmed at a special meeting of the U.S. Congress.  The winner of the vote that is counted at this meeting (but essentially known during the Election Day results is inaugurated and then officially becomes the president.

That may sound terribly confusing for some who don’t live and breathe American politics.  In that mindset, I felt that the Australian politics seemed confusing to me.  I was reliant on various new publications including, but not limited to, the following: BBC News, Reuters, Herald Sun, ABC, and the Guardian News.  Instead of the 4-year campaign cycle to remove a leader its constituents don’t like (albeit in this example it’s the party, not the people), the ousting and replacement took less than 24 hours.  After a few members of the party wanted a leadership vote, which in a parliamentary system is generally the chief executive of that (majority) party, they voted for Kevin Rudd over Julia Gillard (who interestingly ousted Rudd in a similar leadership challenge a few years earlier).  Then Gillard officially resigns from the position of prime minister and Rudd accepts being commissioned by the Governor-General (who is technically in charge of the country being appointed by the Queen who is the head of state of Australia since Australia is part of the Commonwealth).  Rudd will then finally have to face a confidence vote of the lower house and since enough crossbenchers (equivalent to independent or 3rd-party members) have declared their intention to vote for the Labor Party (who are needed because Labor does not hold a majority of the house), Rudd will be able to rule as prime minister.  (Wow, that was super complicated.)

I just think it is extremely interesting how others pick their leaders, whether on the national, super-national (e.g. European Union, United Nations), or sub-national (e.g. states, provinces, municipalities).  Hopefully we can learn about how to make our system better by seeing how others conduct theirs.  In that same vein, hopefully we can learn from each other, whether or not our ideas are identical, opposing, or somewhere in between.

P.S. Please let me know in the comments if my facts are wildly off regarding the Australian leadership.


9 Responses to “From Gillard to Rudd: An Aussie Transfer of Power”

  1. cartoonmick June 30, 2013 at 8:09 pm #

    You’ve got the basics right, but all politics are complicated, after all, most political systems were designed (and amended) by politicians (I think).

    Here in Australia, the elected party gets into power with their nominated leader who becomes the Prime Minister. But the elected members of that party can, at any time in the term of power, hold a vote amongst themselves and put a new leader in the chair, hence a new PM.

    For general elections, it is compulsory for all Australians 18 and over to vote. The term of government is for 3 years, and the elections can be held then or within a short period after the end of the 3 year period. The date is decided by the PM. There are other provisions within the constitution which allows for elections to be held prior to the end of the 3 years.

    So, last week the incumbent party had an internal vote, removed Julia Gillard (PM) from the leadership, and installed Kevin Rudd as PM. He will lead the Labor party into the next general election which must be held sometime between 3rd Aug and 30th Nov, Rudd’s decision on the date.

    Confused ? Now you know why we enjoy beer so much.

    I’m an Australian freelance cartoonist, and you can confuse (or educate) yourself even more by having a run through my recent political cartoons here …..



    • ronarruejo June 30, 2013 at 9:24 pm #

      Thanks Mick for the extra information. I think it’s really weird to have elections called by the leader (albeit within a certain time range) in the parliamentary systems, it’s too subject to political shenanigans. And lol about the beer.

      And now am following you =)

      • cartoonmick June 30, 2013 at 11:32 pm #

        Thanks. It’s not a busy blog, as I try to give quality instead of quantity.

        “Political shenanigans” ?!! We have politicians experienced in nothing else but this. These polies do little for the country and make it awkward for those who do try to be effective.
        I strongly suspect they’re pouring the wrong stuff on their breakfast cereal..

  2. cartoonmick June 30, 2013 at 8:24 pm #

    Australia has a serious shortage of quality politicians, both left and right !!

    And it’s such a shame Julia Gillard was cut down, not because of her performance, but because of the performance of others in spreading and promoting hatred.

    A shame, not because of her losing the job, but because of what hatred has done to Australian politics in general.

    For 2 years or more, most Oz media and the rabid Shock Jocks drenched the populous with brainwashing bile, marinating their heads with poisonous spin, whipping them into a frenzy, mouths dripping with venom and their heads full of hatred until they were so psyched up they actually believed the disgusting things being said.

    Hundreds of years ago, the Witchdoctor did something similar in whipping the young mindless warriors into a frenzy around the campfire before sending them off to attack a nearby tribe. They believed the Whitchdoctor.

    It worked then and it’s working today. But Julia didn’t deserve it. We are better than that, or should be.

    She has taken this hatred with her now, so the Witchdoctors will work fevorishly to “create” a similar intense hatred of Rudd.

    They really do intensify the meaning of that great Australian noun, “Bastards”.

    This is one of my cartoons on it (others there as well)……………………..



  3. realtalkrealdebate June 30, 2013 at 8:25 pm #

    And I thought our electoral was too tedious and complicated lol

    What’s wrong with a populous vote? Worked in elementary school.

    • ronarruejo June 30, 2013 at 9:26 pm #

      I’ve learned throughout the past few years that if there is an action to be taken, politics will always use the most complicated way to do it.

      • realtalkrealdebate June 30, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

        Unfortunately, that is the truth 😦

      • cartoonmick June 30, 2013 at 11:21 pm #

        At school we learnt that the shortest distance between 2 points was a straight line.
        What they didn’t teach us was that if you’re not following a straight line, you must be following a politician.

  4. Tim July 21, 2013 at 7:20 am #

    Perhaps one other point that it’s worth making here is that it is relatively unusual for a sitting prime minister to be removed in this fashion — the only other time I can personally remember was in 1991, when Paul Keating ousted Bob Hawke, who had been in power for a much longer period of time than either Gillard or Rudd.

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