Making government a popularity contest creates more problems
IF THE polls are true - as the ALP clearly believes - then the caucus vote on Wednesday to depose sitting PM Julia Gillard was a wise move.
But political scientist and former Lismore mayor Ros Irwin said reliance on polls and "popularity contests" in making decisions of consequence was a long-term problem for Australian politics.
"I think it's a most inappropriate way of operating," Ms Irwin said.
"In a more sophisticated world you would actually focus on policy, not personality, and fact rather than opinion."
"We aren't anticipating any great legislative changes (under PM Rudd) because at the end of the day the big-ticket items have all been signed off."
Ms Irwin said she had no preference between Mr Rudd or Ms Gillard, but gave credit to Gillard's policy record in a vicious environment that saw Australia's first female PM drawn into a quagmire of negative public sentiment.
"I think Julia Gillard showed a steely determination to focus on the long term and legislative instead of the short term and political," Ms Irwin said.
The jury on the leadership change was certainly undecided on The Northern Star's Facebook page yesterday. Some called the ALP "delusional" and were "appalled", while others hoped it would prevent a Coalition landslide.
Sitting Page MP Janelle Saffin said the move to Rudd went beyond the polls, and was "the best thing for the nation and Federal Labor".
Richmond MP Justine Elliot admitted the path ahead would be difficult but the wounds would heal.
"We've had a difficult time, but already there is a new sense of unity," Ms Elliot said.
But Nationals candidate for Page Kevin Hogan labelled the move as political desperation borne of poor polling.
"This is based on them trying to save their skins," Mr Hogan said.
Greens candidate for Richmond Dawn Walker also criticised the leadership tussle, labelling the changes "yet another indication" of both major parties being "totally self-involved". "It was an ugly night," she said.