Labor Party officials voted Gillard in after Rudd stepped down yesterday. Rudd has changed global perspective on Australia for the better but his popularity fell sharply in April when he shelved a cap-and-trade program for 2013, but his polls, the highest of any Australian Prime Minister ever, had suffered long before that.
In February 2010, Rudd's economic stimulus plan was being questioned with rumors of corruption. And if there's one thing the Australian people won't tolerate, it's corruption.
Though Rudd's leadership helped Australia stay well above the economic global fray during the down turn in the last two years, and, his two-year tenure included Rudd being the first Prime Minister to publicly acknowledge and apologize to Australia's aboriginal people, the country built on toughness could not be softened when corruption was suspected.
Australia's commonwealth was formed in 1901. It uses the Westminster system, including a sovereign figure head (who happens to be Queen Elizabeth II; Australia was once a British penal colony) and three branches of government functioning on a parlimentary democratic system. In political terms, this kind of government is called a federal constitutional monarchy and is used in countries like Britain and Canada.
The Prime Minister is essentially the equivalent of an American President. The Prime Minister's Deputy is roughly equivalent to the Vice President in the States. In 109 years since the commonwealth's inception, there has never been a female Prime Minister. Of course, in 234 years since the inception of America's government, there has NEVER been a female President. Australia's much younger commonwealth appears to be WAY ahead of us here in the States...good on ya, AUS!
The question yet remains if Gillard can save the Labor Party for the next election in 2011. It's one thing for a female Prime Minister to be appointed by a small group pf party officials...it's a whole other story to be voted in by the citizens.
I felt the winds of change a few days ago--thought it was related to local weather! Alas, the face of the planet is ever-evolving. And though Prime Minister Rudd's contributions were notably notable, we wish the new Prime Minister, JULIA GILLARD, the very best of luck in the months ahead.
I attended the University of New South Wales for postgraduate studies from 2004 to 2007. Before then, I knew very little about Australia outside of Steve Irwin, kangaroos, koalas, and Crocodile Dundee. But all it took was seeing Australia's coastline at sunrise flying in from the Pacific and I was in love! When I left AUS, I felt like I was leaving home. From the kookabarras waking you up in the morning to the surfers pounding down the road toward Bondi to the architectural contribution of the Sydney Opera House to the majesty of the Blue Mountains to the Great Barrier Reef, Australia is one amazing country, very forward in terms of health care and education, too. Sydney, by the way, has one of the largest populations of millionaires in any city around the world! They are a people rich in history and culture and are leaders in medicine and science technology. In fact, my Uni was helping NASA while I was there. Sydney is also home to one of the world's innovators in neurosurgery, Dr. Noel Dan. And the reason I ended up attending Uni in Sydney, though I had acceptances at prestigious British universities as well, was because in my particular field, Australia was the world leader.
Here in the States, because AUS is quite a long, quite an expensive plane ride away, we tend to take Australia for granted. For some, it's not more than a dream travel destination. For others, it's something they don't think about it all. But we should. Why? Well, for one thing, while the US dollar has fallen steadily, the Australian dollar has actually gone up--25% in the last five years! Australia has also been a key ally to the States in the Middle East and a valuable partner in things like technological advancement and medical breakthroughs.
Though there are lots of important things a human should do before they leave the planet, EVERYONE should make visiting Australia a PRIORITY.
A hearty and well-deserved conveyance of appreciation to Kevin Rudd and very best wishes to first female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and of course, to the Australian people as a whole! It's about 7:45am EST where I am right now; in Sydney, it's closer to midnight. Wherever you are, dearest readers, best wishes to you as well!
Until next time....