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Key events in Australia's leadership war

26 June 2013, 14:50

Sydney - Kevin Rudd won back the leadership of the Australian Labour Party in a ballot on Wednesday defeating Prime Minister Julia Gillard who ousted him three years ago.

Key events in their bitter rivalry:


23 June - Then deputy prime minister, Gillard challenges Rudd to a leadership ballot as his popularity plummets following a series of policy missteps including shelving an emissions trading scheme and skirmishes with the powerful mining industry over tax hikes.

24 June - Gillard goes on to win unopposed, with Rudd declining to contest the ballot. She quickly calls national elections.

21 August - The Labour party fails to win a majority, prompting Australia's first electoral deadlock in 70 years.

7 September - Minority lawmakers throw their support behind Gillard after lengthy negotiations, ensuring Labour's return to power with a fragile coalition. Gillard appoints Rudd as foreign minister.


8 March - Gillard's popularity drops to a record low amid plans for a pollution levy, despite pledging there would be no such tax under her government. Furious protests break out around the country.

31 August - High Court strikes down Gillard's refugee swap deal with Malaysia, seen as a solution to the inflammatory issue of boatpeople, forcing Labour to scrap offshore processing and release refugees.

8 November - Labour passes its controversial emissions reduction scheme, but fails to make any headway in the polls. Rudd consistently places ahead of Gillard as preferred leader.


22 February - Rudd resigns as foreign minister in Washington and says he is returning home to consider his future.

23 February - Gillard calls a leadership ballot and says both contenders must accept the outcome as final.

27 February - Gillard wins the ballot with a commanding 71 votes to 31 and vows to lead a unified front to the 2013 election. Rudd promises full support and says he holds no grudges.


30 January - Amid renewed talk about Gillard's leadership, she announces national elections for 14 September.

15 February - Rudd dismisses mounting speculation he will again challenge Gillard, telling everyone to take "a long, cold shower".

12 March - An opinion poll shows Gillard would be crushed in a national election, but Labour would easily win if Rudd was leader.

21 March - Senior cabinet minister Simon Crean demands Gillard call a leadership vote and urges Rudd to stand. Gillard immediately calls a ballot but Rudd declines to challenge and she retains the leadership unopposed. Rudd vows not to challenge again.

26 June - After weeks of rising speculation Gillard announces a party leadership ballot cutting short party-room moves to depose her. Both Rudd and the prime minister commit to quit politics if they lose.

Rudd wins the ballot by 57 votes to 45.



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