The day Julia Gillard became PM: a year later.

How the spill was reported.

Tomorrow is the anniversary of the day Julia Gillard became Prime Minister after seizing power in a coup against Kevin Rudd.

Do you remember where you were when you heard it was happening? What you thought? I was out to dinner with friends. Not journo friends or media friends who care deeply about such things. Normal friends. Friends who are doctors actually. We’d just sat down and were looking forward to a lovely Italian meal with much catching up to do when I snuck a peak at my Twitter.

Holy shit. I follow a LOT of journalists and political journos and Twitter was going off with the news that a leadership change could be imminent. My first self-absorbed thought was this: “I’m sooo getting dropped from Q&A”. I’d been booked to appear the following Monday on a ‘light’ show with people like Magda Szubanski, Harold Mitchell and a few others. Host Tony Jones was away and they were going to touch on issues like body image with Virginia Trioli in the chair.

As the story began to unfold, all I wanted to do was jump up from the table and bolt home to sit in front of the TV with my phone and laptop but that would have been rude. So I stayed. Until I got a call from The Today Show who were scrambling to put together rolling coverage as hundreds of journalists and camera crews hit the airport and jumped in their cars to race to Canberra.

“Mia, it looks like Julia is going to be PM by the morning. Can you come in as early as possible? Not sure exactly what we’ll get you to do but we want you there.” Sure thing.

I excused myself from dinner before dessert, apologising to our friends and leaving Jason there to finish the meal. Then I went home, sat up in front of the TV until all hours, got up at 5 and headed in to the Today Show where I sat on set for hours, giving the occasional social media update live on air but mostly just watching it all unfold.

What an extraordinary moment it was – the first female Prime Minister was a powerful moment but so was the heart-wrenching speech from Kevin Rudd, surrounded by his beautiful family.


A year later and this week and both Gillard and Rudd have – quite understandably – wanted to get their side of the story out there. Yes, she’s the PM but he’s the former PM and surely he has a right to discuss what happened to him and his past term heading up the government. No?

Matthew Franklin writes in the Australian:

Their first official meeting after the spill, during the campaign.

Labor MPs have been skittish for weeks with the approach of the first anniversary of the Gillard administration on Friday. Morale has been hammered further by opinion polls showing Labor’s primary vote support has plunged to record lows.

At the weekend, some MPs demanded Mr Rudd be sacked for giving interviews about last year’s events, arguing he was attempting to destabilise Ms Gillard.

And on Monday, former Queensland premier Peter Beattie said leadership speculation was “killing Labor” and Mr Rudd should quit politics.

As Labor MPs met yesterday, Ms Gillard admitted her government was going through tough times. The Opposition Leader, she said, has exploited community anxiety driven by the global financial crisis and recent natural disasters.

Rudd admitted that, of course, he had taken time to think about ‘those events’. In Church.

According to the Brisbane Times:

“I was musing in church … the key thing is not to sit around and mope. The key thing is to get out there and make a difference with the resources that you have at your disposal today.”

He said no one was perfect and that he was just “having a go”.

“Whatever your calling and whatever your lot is in life, to take those talents and take those abilities and use them to the utmost – that is what you try and do.

“None of us are perfect and we all fall short of the glory of God.”

Meanwhile, Malcolm Turnbull has been awfully quiet while Tony Abbott has been popping up everywhere to say no to anything suggested by the government – which is totally his job of course.

But do we have a sense of what EITHER leader stands for? I know that Tony Abbott stands AGAINST anything that Julia Gillard proposes but what is HER vision? Do you agree that the Labor party has been diluted too much by focus groups and back-flipping on major policies. Personally, I was appalled by the ridiculous Malaysian Solution to the refugee issue. Appalled.

I have no idea where the government stands on most issues but that applies equally to the coalition. So where do you think we are? Do you remember where you were and what you thought a year ago when Julia Gillard ousted Kevin Rudd? And how has your opinion of each of them changed since then?

What about Turnbull vs Abbott? Do you think the right person is leading the coalition? Take our poll:

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Here’s a video of Kevin Rudd’s concession speech (part 1), for those who need a reminder: