WHEN historians come to deliver their judgments of the Rudd and Gillard governments, even the most partisan of them will be constrained to acknowledge the series of ironic reversals that brought both leaders undone
In April last year Julia Gillard and her deputy, Wayne Swan, persuaded Kevin Rudd to abandon his commitment to action on climate change. This year a motley collection of independents and Greens persuaded Gillard to break an election promise and commit her government to introducing a carbon tax and, eventually, an emissions trading scheme.
Insofar as Rudd can be said to be a conviction politician, his rhetoric suggests that he believed in human-induced global warming. I think we can take it as read that Gillard and Swan weren't true believers and their argument to him about the need to stop crusading on the issue was entirely based on considerations of realpolitik.
Admittedly the Climategate emails scandal in November 2009 had begun a rapid erosion of public confidence in the supposedly settled science. However, few observers doubt that had Labor called a double dissolution in February or March, when it was still comfortably ahead in the polls, with Tony Abbott only recently installed in the leadership, Rudd would have won comfortably and would in all probability still be prime minister.