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PM's year of survival

Julia Gillard has survived a bruising year in federal politics. Next year promises to be tougher still.

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1. January 26: Australia Day ''riot'' at The Lobby

Prime Minister Julia Gillard is dragged by security men, losing a shoe, through angry demonstrators besieging Canberra's Lobby Restaurant where she and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott were attending a function. The anger was sparked by erroneous reports that Abbott had called for the nearby Aboriginal tent embassy to be torn down. One of Gillard's own staffers subsequently loses his job after admitting he let protesters know Abbott's whereabouts.

2. February 27: Kevin Rudd makes his run...and falls
Kevin Rudd, having called on 'People Power' to restore him to the prime ministership, is resoundingly defeated by Gillard, in a Labor Party ballot. His desperate effort, which followed his resignation in Washington as foreign minister, sparked unprecedented public vitriol across Labor's ranks. The vote: 71 to Gillard, 31 to Rudd. Rudd pledges loyalty, amid mirth. He remains a backbencher.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott sat together at a Fred Hollows Foundation event in August. Click for more photos

A year is a long time in politics

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott sat together at a Fred Hollows Foundation event in August. Photo: Andrew Meares

3. March 2: Bob Carr comes to Canberra
Gillard announces former NSW Premier Bob Carr has agreed to join her government as a senator and Foreign Minister. It blindsided the press gallery after days of reports that Gillard's leadership had been damaged by failure to lure Carr to Canberra. He is the last of five ''mates'' of the NSW Right to have made their mark in the capital: Paul Keating, Graham Richardson, Laurie Brereton and Leo McLeay had already come and gone.

4. April 13: Bob Brown resigns as Greens leader
Australia's longest serving party leader, Bob Brown, announces his resignation as Leader of the Greens, ensuring a seamless transition to Christine Milne. Brown established the Greens in 1992 and had been a senator for 16 years. He declared he looked forward to ''fresh green pursuits including writing, photography, music, occasional talks, bushwalking, and getting out with (partner) Paul (Thomas) to see Miranda Gibson who has been perched for 120 days 60 metres high, in defence of a giant tree facing destruction in central Tasmania."

5. April 23: Slipper begins his slide
Peter Slipper, the Gillard government's colourful choice as Speaker, stands aside as investigations get underway into allegations of sexual harassment and fraud against him, laid by his former staffer, James Ashby. He returns to the Speaker's chair, enrobed, for only a few minutes, on October 10, this time to resign. He had survived a motion of no confidence by just one vote earlier in the day, but key independents Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott told him he had no choice but to walk the plank. Anna Burke, the deputy who has been acting in Slipper's absence, becomes Speaker.

6. May 21: Craig Thomson breaks his long silence to accuse his accusers
Craig Thomson, exiled Labor MP and former national secretary of the Health Services Union, tells a silent Parliament the allegations that he had used union funds to pay for prostitutes was the result of a vendetta by union heavies. He accuses Fair Work Australia of incompetence in its findings against him and suggests someone might have ''cloned'' his phone to frame him. He cries as he accuses TV reporters of invading his pregnant wife's privacy. He remains an independent MP.

7. May 30: Swift as a gazelle and faster than Abbott, Pyne flees Thomson vote
Thomson votes with the Coalition, so alarming Tony Abbott's troops that Abbott and Christopher Pyne rush for the door to avoided being tainted. Pyne, boasting he's as fast as a gazelle, makes it out of Parliament but Abbott is forced by Speaker Anna Burke to stay.

8. June 27-28: Parliament fiddles as asylum seekers' boats sink
Emotions run high as the Parliament debates what to do about asylum seekers following the sinking of two crowded boats, leaving an indeterminate number of asylum seekers dead. The parties fail to agree, the Greens combine with the Coalition in the Senate to vote down a proposal to allow off-shore processing in Malaysia and Nauru, and the Parliament closes for the winter with no solution reached.

9. July 1: Carbon tax introduced
The carbon tax Gillard promised would never happen under her government is introduced. Labor ridicules Abbott for forecasting doom to industrial cities like Whyalla and Labor Minister Craig Emerson breaks in to satirical song, re-writing Skyhooks' ''Horror Movie'' with lines like ''No Whyalla Wipe-out, there on my TV''.

10. 13 August: Everything old is Nauru again
An expert panel headed by former military chief Angus Houston recommends re-opening Nauru and Manus Island to house asylum seekers, saying such a policy would be ''hard-headed but not hard-hearted''. The asylum seekers would stay on these offshore islands for the time it would normally take to be processed in foreign countries - up to five years. Human rights advocates are horrified, but Gillard Labor and the Abbott Coalition rush to embrace the idea.

11. September 8: Julia Gillard's father dies. Alan Jones loses any sense of decency
Julia Gillard flies home from the APEC forum in Vladivostok, Russia, to mourn the death of her loved father, John. Ms Gillard gives a moving tribute to her father in Parliament on September 19. Ten days later the Sydney radio parrot Alan Jones finds himself disgraced and loses advertisers in droves when it is revealed he said Ms Gillard's father ''died of shame'' because of the ''lies'' she told . Tony Abbott is criticised for failing to criticise Jones quickly enough and hard enough.

12. October 10: The misogyny speech
While arguing against a motion to force Slipper from the Speakership, Gillard launches a full-blown attack on Abbott, accusing him of misogyny. ''I say to the Leader of the Opposition I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man. I will not. Because if he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia, he doesn't need a motion in the House of Representatives, he needs a mirror.'' The speech goes viral on the internet and the Canberra press gallery is accused of failing to recognise the importance of the moment. Ms Gillard's poll figures start picking up.

13. November 29: The (ancient) AWU Slush Fund Affair
After months of claims about Gillard's role in helping establish an association when she was a young lawyer 20 years ago - which her then boyfriend Bruce Wilson is alleged to have used to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars (though he blames another old union colleague, Ralph Blewitt) - the opposition launches a parliamentary attack on Gillard, who stonewalls, declaring it has all been explained and she did nothing wrong. On the last day of the parliamentary year, Abbott and Pyne accuse her of ''criminal'' behaviour. She moves to suspend parliamentary orders to give Abbott 15 minutes to substantiate the claim. He tones it down, and she spends 15 minutes accusing him of failing to produce any evidence. Parliament closes down for the summer, an election awaiting in 2013.

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