Over 30 hours ago, a 1st round Wimbledon tennis match began. At that time, there was speculation that there may be some discontent in the Labor party over whether Kevin Rudd would remain as leader. The tennis match is still going — the longest in history at 59 all in the fifth set. But the leadership battle was begun, fought and resolved in less time. It must be said that there is something civilised about this all happening without the endless speculation, the failed bids and the years of turmoil. It seems to me that Kevin Rudd deserves an enormous amount of praise for that happening in that way.
Despite the shocking pace of movement, the change in leadership is an exciting one. The Government had shown plenty of signs of falling away at the seams and there can be no doubt that Julia Gillard has been a stellar performer and policy-maker over the past three years. I had the occasion to meet her 6 or so years ago for a lengthy discussion of health policy and reform. While I can’t say that it led directly to anything concrete — the ALP were in Opposition at the time and was to remain there for some time after — I came away with the impression that she was an informed, critical thinker with a genuine desire for evidence that might support what she considered (rightfully) theoretical propositions. There are few politicians that I have met that have left such a positive impression. If the person I met then is the person now becoming the Prime Minister, it bodes well for us all. And if her rise can serve as the inspiration that I already observe from people around me and on social networks, then mores the better.