A much earlier version of this paper was presented at the 2008 Australian Political Studies Association Conference. My thanks for feedback received then and for the comments of AJPH's referees.
Gillard, Rudd and Labor Tradition*
Version of Record online: 13 DEC 2011
© 2011 The Author. Australian Journal of Politics and History © 2011 School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics, School of Political Science and International Studies, The University of Queensland and Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd.
Australian Journal of Politics & History
Volume 57, Issue 4, pages 562–579, December 2011
How to Cite
Johnson, C. (2011), Gillard, Rudd and Labor Tradition. Australian Journal of Politics & History, 57: 562–579. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8497.2011.01614.x
- Issue online: 13 DEC 2011
- Version of Record online: 13 DEC 2011
Julia Gillard replaced Kevin Rudd as prime minister and Labor leader in June 2010. She describes her government as being firmly in the “tradition of Labor”. To locate it in the broad ideological continuum of Labor governments, and to test the suggestion that she is travelling a reform path set largely by the Hawke and Keating governments, I analyse the positions taken by Rudd and Gillard on a range of issues, beginning with economic policy. On social issues Gillard has been even more cautious than Rudd and this reflects her analysis of the electoral impact of Howard's Culture Wars. Her focus on educational opportunity suggests she is the logical successor to Gough Whitlam, Bob Hawke and Paul Keating. As Labor leaders, Rudd and Gillard each embraced market-reliant policy positions. Rudd even claimed to be an “fiscal conservative”. However, with Rudd venturing a critique of neo-liberalism, it is Gillard whose stance is closer to Hawke and Keating's “economic rationalism”. Indeed Gillard's insistence upon the centrality of markets leaves Labor with a dilemma: if there are no significant problems with relying on markets then why does Australia need a social democratic party?