I’m not going to waste any time saying “I told you so”, but the election victory of Kevin Rudd was no surprise. Anyone who has followed the polling over the last year could have seen it coming. Some have been surprised by the magnitude of the win, but as I wrote in this blog last week, when the sticks are out nothing will stop a flogging.
For Kevin Rudd and the Labor Party a magnificent opportunity lies ahead. It’s now up to the new government to seize that opportunity and deliver on all the expectations that it has worked so hard to create.
As for Mr. Howard, it seems that he and a few of his closest colleagues were the last people in Australia to realize that he had missed his opportunity to retire as a hero. Nevertheless, it should be acknowledged that Mr. Howard has been the Liberal Party’s second most successful Prime Minister ever, and leaves a significant legacy, despite the humiliating end.
Now the task for the Liberal Party is to select a new leader without tearing itself apart. I have said for many years that Malcolm Turnbull will be the next Liberal Party Prime Minister, and I believe that now more than ever. It is right and proper that all who aspire to the leadership of the party have the opportunity to put themselves forward. However, the party needs two things from a leader: the ability to rally the party behind him (or her), and the ability to bring the voters back to the party. Contenders like Tony Abbott, Brendan Nelson, or even Alexander Downer should he be tempted to try, aren’t in a position to take the party forward because they have too much baggage from the past.
For my money, Malcolm Turnbull is the best choice. Of course, it will be a long road back to government, so even if somebody else takes the leadership now, Malcolm will still be there waiting in the wings.