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Leadership battle hurts Australian Labor's popularity

By Cao Yang, Vienna Ma (Xinhua)

16:54, February 25, 2012

CANBERRA, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- The recent resignation of Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and his leadership challenge over Julia Gillard's prime ministership has revealed the instability within the Labor government, and is damaging the party 's chance to win the upcoming 2013 election.

Rudd on Wednesday made a sudden announcement in Washington of U. S. to resign from his portfolio given that he no longer felt he has the Labor leader's support. Friday, Rudd officially confirmed he will bid for the leadership at next Monday's Caucus ballot.

There have been plenty of chaotic relationships in Australian politics, but nothing to match the widespread controversies brought on by the battle between the current prime minister and the man she ousted, and almost all the damage inflicted in the incident is on the Labor Party itself.

Gillard and Rudd's relationship has been in on-going dispute since June 2010 when Gillard seized the Labor leadership from Rudd, saying she needed to take over because a "good government lost its way".

The change of leadership within Labor has lead to a lack of trust from the Australian public, resulting in a hung parliament in the August 2010 federal election. Since then, the minority government has a massive trust problem and a series of broken promises, such as the carbon tax.

Labor's primary vote in opinion polls had dropped to 35 percent, from 43.3 percent at the November of 2007. Meanwhile, the coalition held a winning lead of landslide proportions for most of the year of 2011.

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