Victorian Liberal Right chieftain Michael Kroger made an unusual contribution to the national debate, challenging some in the Press Gallery who blindly criticised the removal of a leader Kroger saw as being beyond help:
MICHAEL KROGER, FORMER VICTORIAN LIBERAL PRESIDENT: No, I don’t think we have, Tony.
But I think the seven key leaders of the coup against Kevin Rudd quite frankly did an outstanding job.
The last time Labor changed a Prime Minister was in 1991 when it took 6 months for Paul Keating to dislodge Bob Hawke – two leadership challenges, resignations of he as Treasurer and various Treasurers afterwards, a debacle that ripped the Labor Party apart and still has ramifications today in terms of the hatreds that grew during that 6 month period in late 1991.
This was an execution of an amateur Prime Minister within 24 hours. I think the seven people did an excellent job quite frankly from the Labor Party’s points of viewâ€¦
TONY JONES: Tony Abbott is blaming faceless men from Sussex Street – assassins from Sussex Street as he calls them – but of course they were not faceless and many of them actually came from Victoria and other parts of the country. They are not just New South Wales right wingers are they?
MICHAEL KROGER: No, a couple come from Victoria – David Feeney and Bill Shorten. There was a senator from Adelaide, Don Farrell, I think his name was, Karl Bitar… Paul Howes had a very big hand in it, Bill Ludwig up in Queensland.
You know… there were seven or eight of them who got together and quite frankly they did the right thing. I think my query is what took them so long?
And I think thatâ€™s the point, that changing a party leader is normally such a long, drawn out and ugly affair that it corrodes the reputations of all concerned and tarnishes the brand.
Could this be the first cost-free leadership transition?
The best way of resolving that will be to bring on the federal election. Sooner rather than later.
We hear Gillard will strike very soon, once some of the messes she inherits are cleaned up.
The only person who appeared a little uncomfortable about it all on ABC Lateline was Bruce Hawker, the lobbyist who had incredible access to Rudd’s office and was able to create an impression with clients that he acted in a semi-official capacity. Sources say that his relationship is not so great with the new PM and is positively toxic with the new deputy PM and Treasurer as Brucey had been loudly critical of both at times. Oops.
Another consequence of this for political observers is that the currently popular line in Victorian government circles that Kevin Rudd was dragging down Laborâ€™s state vote will probably very soon be exposed as not being correct, to any extent.
Weâ€™re in for a tight state election in Victoria, with a long-term state government that would normally for due for a loss because theyâ€™d been in so long but punches above their weight because Premier John Brumby â€“ a member of the moderate Labor Unity faction led by Bill Shorten and Stephen Conroy and a crucial component of the stability peace-deal with the Left â€“ does mostly a good job against an Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu who continues to distress many in his own party â€“ like Michael Kroger – with his own silly record of defending kiddie nude artist Bill Henson, labelling Victorians racist, opposing the jobs-creating Port Phillip channel deepening because he incorrectly thought it might adversely effect his extensive beach-side Sorrento land-holdings and being on the verge of helping elect as many as four Greens party MPâ€™s in the inner-city with Liberal preferences despite strong objections from the National party and many in regional Victoria.