Gillard demisesown in unforgiven Rudd coup that hurt trust 

(Businessweek) – The seeds of Julia Gillard’s demise were sown the night she became Australia’s first female leader in June 2010. Just days after vowing not to challenge Kevin Rudd, the deputy leader ousted him in a backroom party coup.

The removal of Rudd, who swept the Labor party to a landslide win in 2007 after 11 years out of office, allowed the Liberal-National opposition to paint her as untrustworthy. When an election three months later resulted in the first hung parliament since World War II, Gillard, 51, won Greens Party support to form a minority government by breaking a pledge not to introduce a carbon tax. Support in polls never recovered.

Attacks by the Tony Abbott-led coalition helped erode the legitimacy of her office, culminating in a series of sexist and personal remarks in the weeks before her downfall, from inappropriate radio shock-jock comments to students throwing food at her. Her defeat yesterday came hours after she won parliamentary backing for education reforms, adding to legislative accomplishments including increased funding for the disabled that failed to translate into public support.

“Gillard’s time as prime minister will be remembered for progressive policy initiatives balanced with a failure to communicate her message,” said Andrew Hughes, who conducts political-marketing research at the Australian National University in Canberra. “Her days were numbered when voters, disillusioned with how she won the job and the constant questions over her trustworthiness, turned against her.”

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