Welcome to our live coverage of politics from the national capital. All times are in AEDST. You can also follow me on Twitter @murpharoo
5.35pm: It's been a long and fascinating day in Labor politics.
There are several long days ahead.
I'll leave you with this pitch from Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
The choice the nation faces and my parliamentary colleagues face on Monday is a choice as to who has got the character, the temperament, the strength to deliver on behalf of the Australian people.
And this pitch from Kevin Rudd.
If we're honest with ourselves all indications are that we're heading for the rocks at the next election. Leaving the country to the ravages of Mr. Abbott ... the most conservative government, the most right wing government in prospect in Australia's political history.
Caucus can mull on these things until Monday morning at 10am.
Should Labor stick with Julia Gillard, one of the toughest and most resilient people to ever occupy her office?
A woman with considerable capacity to get things done.
But more limited capacity to inspire the voters.
Or Kevin Rudd, who bitterly divides his colleagues, but believes only he can lead Labor back to the promised land.
A couple of opinion polls in the field.
A couple of days for the unexpected.
You don't want to be anywhere else but watching when this story ends.
Thanks for your company.
5.20pm: We Rudds would put our hands up for Kevin, but he's doing a press conference.
And that would be rude.
Who wants me to stay Prime Minister on Monday?
5.00pm: Profuse apologies Pulse readers.
We've had some technical difficulties this afternoon.
The Prime Minister has held her press conference.
This is what Ms Gillard said.
"Talk is easy, but getting things done is harder. I am the person who gets things done."
"Australians can have trust in me that I am the person who gets things done."
"I am confident that I can lead Labor to victory."
"Kevin Rudd, when the going got tough, could not get carbon pricing done. I got it done."
It was a tough, fiesty rebuttal of Kevin Rudd's main themes and arguments.
Ms Gillard has made much of her personal resilience.
- She says she is prepared to pay a political price for making tough and unpopular policy decisions.
- But she is not prepared to be undermined from within.
- Ms Gillard says Kevin Rudd spoke of trust.
- But he would not rule out undermining her leadership to journalists.
- Mr Rudd wilted when the going got tough on carbon pricing in 2009 and 2010.
- She said Mr Rudd could provide no evidence that she had ever been disloyal to him while he was Prime Minister.
She said Mr Rudd railed constantly about the pernicious influence of faceless men, but this afternoon, he announced he would be giving the factions control over the selection of the ministry once again.
This was kind of hypocritical, she noted.
"You should not be dragged down by someone on your own side," Ms Gillard said.
4.00pm: And Australia's mining industry does not miss a beat.
Here is the chief executive of the Minerals Council of Australia, Mitch Hooke, on Kevin Rudd's equivocal comments on the clean energy package just a little while ago.
Resources giants see the door is now ajar on the carbon tax, so they are sprinting through it.
"In proposing a review of the carbon tax, Kevin Rudd has acknowledged that it will not be the economic positive claimed by the current Government. He should not wait to review it in six months if he becomes Prime Minister on Monday – he should do it immediately. This review will show that Australia’s carbon tax is the biggest in the world by a significant margin, will add deadweight costs to our major employing businesses at a time of global economic uncertainty and will fail to reduce global emissions."
3.55pm: In the meantime, here is a news wrap of Mr Rudd's press conference; and a romp through the day from Jess Wright and Judith Ireland.
3.50pm: The Prime Minister's press conference has been pushed back until after 4.00pm.
We will bring you that as it happens.
3.45pm: The Kevin Solution.
Dear Caucus, just do it.
What's not to love?
3.30pm: What do we make of this Rudd declaration that he will only challenge once for the Labor leadership?
It sounds to me like a pitch to boost Monday's vote.
He's effectively telling the caucus that there is only one shot in the locker here.
If you want me, then vote for me on Monday. I don't want to do this all again in six months time. You guys are going to have to make up your minds, not think I'm going to hang around forever for your endorsement to take on Tony Abbott.
Mr Rudd is trying to maximise his numbers, because at the moment he's well behind.
He's also trying to deal with the internal critique that he's a wrecker.
Mr Rudd is trying to tell his colleagues that he is in it for the Labor Party, not himself.
(Don't forget though, Robert McClelland, one of Mr Rudd's backers, was certainly not ruling out a second Rudd challenge down the track. History also suggests these transactions tend to come in twos.)
3.15pm: Now, meet the man who helped Kevin Rudd script those lines this afternoon.
This is Bruce Hawker. One of the toughest operators in Labor politics.
A political consultant and spin-doctor.
A Rudd confidante.
He's right in the centre of Camp Rudd, and has been laying the ground work for his candidate's return to The Lodge almost since he left in 2010.
Mr Hawker worked out of Mr Rudd's private office in the dying days of his prime ministership.
Now he's on to this miracle.
3.11pm: Jessica Rudd, taking one for the team.
Bloody hell it was hot in there! Thought I was going to dissolve.— Jessica Rudd (@Jess_Rudd) February 24, 2012
3.10pm: And having unleashed those petrol bombs, Mr Rudd has to zip.
He's wound up his press conference.
3.07pm: Mr Rudd is winding up now.
He strongly rebuts the notion that he's been dragging down Julia Gillard.
"This general frame .. that all this (trouble) exists because of one K. Rudd, needs to be fundamentally re-examined."
"The Government's problems as they've developed over time are of their own making."
Mr Rudd said he wasn't around or consulted when Ms Gillard developed the Malaysia Solution, which is the origins of this current leadership crisis.
Mr Rudd says the polls are so bad that Labor would be casting around for an alternative leader whether he was still in politics or not.
3.06pm: A loud signal there from Mr Rudd that he might look at the timing for the introduction of the government's clean energy package.
Mr Rudd says he supports a price on carbon.
I think he's leaving open when that policy might take effect.
The scheme is meant to be operational on July 1, 2012.
3.05pm: Mr Rudd says he expects journalists to stick by their code of conduct and not divulge any private conversations they have had with him.
(Ms Gillard said the other day journalists could divulge any disloyal conversations she had ever had with them about Kevin Rudd).
Of a running mate or a deputy, Mr Rudd says that's a matter for the ALP.
He has no candidate for Deputy Prime Minister.
3.00pm: Mr Rudd says he dropped his carbon pollution reduction scheme because he listened to advice to that effect from Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan.
Mr Rudd says he accepts responsibility for that decision, but he listened to the strong views of his colleagues.
He adds that Ms Gillard was of the view Labor should not proceed with emissions trading scheme until there was bipartisan support.
2.55pm: There's a big pitch too from Mr Rudd to step back from the Greens.
A dig at Ms Gillard.
"A Labor Party with Labor values doesn't need the Greens to tell it how to save the environment."
Mr Rudd says if he is defeated on Monday:
- He will go to the backbench.
- And he will not challenge Ms Gillard a second time.
2.50pm: Mr Rudd is calling on Ms Gillard to ensure no-one has their pre-selections challenged.
He says there needs to be a true secret ballot for the leadership. No-one peering over anyone's shoulder.
Mr Rudd says he's the only one who can win the next election for the ALP.
"I'm not prepared to stand idly by and see Australia led by an Abbott Government. If we don't change, the ALP will end up in Opposition. We will all be on the backbench."
"Mr Abbott is entirely beatable. This is the single most negative force in Australian politics that we have ever seen."
He's promising to restore the party's power in the selection of ministries.
This is extremely significant.
Mr Rudd took this away in 2007.
It is one of the reasons the party turned on him in 2010.
2.45pm: Kevin Rudd says all indications are Labor is heading for the rocks at the next election.
Rightly or wrongly, the public have lost confidence in Julia Gillard.
"I want to finish the job the Australian public elected me to do in 2007," Mr Rudd says.
He says he is proud of his record as Prime Minister.
"We didn't get everything right, but it is a record of which we can be proud."
Cabinet and party colleagues are encouraging him to return to the leadership.
The ALP needs to be reformed.
"Democracy is a process of continuing renewal."
BREAKING: KEVIN RUDD CONFIRMS HE WILL CONTEST THE LABOR LEADERSHIP IN MONDAY'S CAUCUS BALLOT.
2.20pm: Stay tuned.
We will bring you Kevin Rudd's press conference shortly.
2.10pm: The ABC's Lyndal Curtis has done an interesting interview with Rudd-backer Robert McClelland, who certainly isn't ruling out a second challenge to Ms Gillard if she prevails in Monday's leadership ballot.
This suggests efforts by Camp Gillard to shut down this leadership crisis after next Monday will be unsuccessful. Supporters of Rudd will want to see him back in The Lodge, whatever the result.
Here's what Mr McClelland told Lyndal:
"That's obviously a matter for Kevin, but what I'm suggesting to you that based on history, despite statements from honourable men Paul Keating and Kim Beazley, I'm not saying they dishonoured their commitments, but there were a whole range of external pressures that resulted in those second challenges occuring, and I think people would be naive to ignore that reality."
1.57pm: The SMH's chief political correspondent Phillip Coorey never stops counting.
Here is Phil's latest caucus count here.
Julia Gillard 68 (+ 3 leaning her way)
Kevin Rudd 29 (+ 3 leaning his way)
1.50pm: And because we are rigorously bi-candidate here at The Pulse .. not favouring one option or another ... understanding this is not about personalities, and very much a matter for the Parliamentary Labor Party ... here is one Andrew prepared earlier about Kevin Rudd.
1.40pm: Regular Pulse readers understand and appreciate the outstanding talents of our Fairfax photographers.
Andrew Meares has excelled himself today with this montage featuring different perspectives on Julia Gillard.
'What people think I do' versus 'What I actually do.'
This people power thing might be getting out of hand.
1.20pm: If you are so inclined, Tony Abbott is currently at your disposal on Twitter.
Got about half an hour to kill at Brisbane airport so will gladly take some questions #asktony— Tony Abbott (@TonyAbbottMHR) February 24, 2012
1.05pm: Thanks Greg. Thanks Bill.
1.00pm: Ministers Greg Combet and Bill Shorten have hit the news networks to declare for Julia Gillard.
Mr Combet acknowledges that Mr Rudd is popular in the community, but says the leadership is a decision for the Parliamentary Labor Party.
He says he is backing the Prime Minister because she can unite the labour movement and the party, and she has capacity to deliver difficult policies.
"We have a solid foundation for political success. We have to communicate it," Mr Combet says.
He says Ms Gillard has delivered for working people.
"The Prime Ministership is not to be treated like a revolving door, based on opinion polls."
12.45pm: For people wanting to watch these events live, just some housekeeping.
We expect Kevin Rudd's press conference around 2.30pm (1.30pm Queensland time)
We expect Ms Gillard's press conference in Melbourne sometime after 3.45pm.
12.40pm: My Age colleague Melissa Fyfe was out with the Prime Minister this morning.
She has sent me this account of an event that played like "a rock concert, with scones".
The battle over the Labor leadership may not be an "episode of Celebrity Big Brother" as the Prime Minister said this morning, but when Julia Gillard turned up to the Melbourne Citymission to celebrate equal pay for community workers, she was treated precisely like a celebrity.
There were whoops and cheers, even tears. There was adoration and applause. T-shirts were autographed. At the end, there was even a "Julia, Julia, Julia" chant. It was a bit like a rock concert, but with scones.
For pro-Gillard strategists, the vision was gold: a relaxed and smiling leader basking in the glow of Labor true believers from the Australian Services Union.
Ms Gillard used the event to highlight the strengths of her administrative skills. Wins like the recent Fair Work decision to significantly increase pay for women in the community and social sector do not just come about.
They take, Ms Gilard said, government working "in a patient and methodical way" (not "chaos and paralysis" like Kevin Rudd, she might have said, but that would have been too political for the occasion).
Melbourne Citymission, which has been a key agency in the push for equal pay, was only recently asked to host the event. Chief executive officer Ric Holland said he got a call on Wednesday from the Australian Services Union, the same day Kevin Rudd resigned as foreign minister.
12.30pm: Power to the iPhone snaps.
Coming to a Facebook account near you.
12.20pm: Julia Gillard is in Melbourne, where she's enjoyed a bit of people power of her own.
Noon: Speaking of my hardworking colleague Mr Coorey, here is his latest tally of the caucus numbers.
Kevin Rudd: 31
Julia Gillard: 65
11.50am: Correct weight.
Phillip Coorey, chief political correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald, points out some independent thinking from Nick Champion this morning does seem to fly in the face of sotto voce claims that some backbench folks are being seriously intimidated behind the scenes.
Nick Champion, allied to faction boss, Rudd destroyer and Gillard loyalist Don Farrell, declares for Rudd. So much for preselection threats— Phillip Coorey (@PhillipCoorey) February 24, 2012
11.40am: There's been a lot of interest in the whereabouts of Anthony Albanese.
The Pulse posed this question early yesterday, given normally he could talk under concrete.
But The Pulse also knows from long experience that Mr Albanese will enter the fray when he is good and ready, and not one moment before.
Today, Mr Albanese has bobbed up on Twitter to reassure us, as he puts it, he is #justdoinmyjob
11.35am: For Camp Gillard, Victoria's Richard Marles.
This snippet is from my colleague David Wroe, who has spoken to Mr Marles just a little while ago.
There is much discussion of the Keating-style "two stage strategy", in which Rudd would wound Gillard by losing respectably, go to the backbench, then try again later in the year.
Corio MP Richard Marles sees a fatal flaw in that idea.
"We just don't have time," he says. "The historical comparisons with Keating-Hawke are flawed. Even if there's an election in the second half of next year, that's not far away. We have to have a single message coming out of the team ... and that's why we've got to have a decisive result on Monday."
11.31am: Mr Champion certainly has Michelle Grattan's endorsement.
Impressive performance by Champion - right about the ministers— Michelle Grattan (@michellegrattan) February 24, 2012
11.30am: This is called smart political communication: distilling an argument to its very essence.
Here is the core pitch from Camp Rudd:
"The question caucus has to ask itself is, are we choosing a leader for ourselves, or are we choosing a leader for the country."
Nick Champion, a champion for Team Rudd.
11.15am: South Australia has been thought to be a stronghold for Julia Gillard in this leadership battle.
Today, backbencher Nick Champion has provided a chink in that armour.
Mr Champion has confirmed he has now resigned as secretary of the Labor caucus.
He is a vote for Kevin Rudd.
This story was broken a short while ago on ABC24 by journalist Lyndal Curtis.
Mr Champion says he has firmed for Rudd because of the ferocity of personal attacks against him over the past few days.
He says he made up his mind yesterday.
"Mainly because he has the best ability to reassure Australia in turbulent times," Mr Champion is telling Sky News now.
"I think there is an attitude out there that Kevin Rudd wasn't given a fair opportunity. We rushed to judgment then, and we've paid for it ever since. If we are choosing a leader for the country, then we should be choosing Kevin Rudd."
11.02am: "I think we'll be okay".
My colleague, economics correspondent Peter Martin is watching a parliamentary hearing where the Reserve Bank is giving evidence.
Peter reports the RBA Governor Glenn Stevens is being asked about interest rates.
Liberal MP Kelly O'Dwyer asked a different question: "Given the volatile global environment, does it concern you that the Treasurer of this country [Wayne Swan] might not be attending the G20 finance minister meeting this weekend in Mexico?"
Mr Stevens replied with a dead bat, saying he would be leaving for Mexico later today, "so one of the two principals will be there".
"It is not at all uncommon for members to miss an occasional meeting due to some political event at home."
He added: "I think we'll be okay".
10.55am: Here is an update from Speaker Peter Slipper, who has taken it upon himself to soothe the nation. Thank God someone is soothing the nation with a bit of procedure.
The House of Representatives will sit at 12 noon on Monday 27 Feb not 10ambecause of the Labor caucus meeting.— Peter Slipper MP (@PeterSlipperMP) February 23, 2012
10.50am: Presumably no more power to these people though.
They are intensely irritating.
10.45am: Sky News anchor David Speers has just asked Independent Tony Windsor whether Labor at the moment can make any claim to being a stable government.
"It depends on how you define stability," Mr Windsor says.
10.40am: Sorry, we just couldn't help ourselves.
10.25am: Many political tragics active on Twitter love this fellow, the Fake Steve Fielding.
(Remember the Family First Senator? Seems like a lifetime ago.)
I'm glad to see him back this morning.
Anyone got Malcolm Turnbull's number? I want to propose a new breakaway party with him and me and Kevin Rudd.— Fake Steve Fielding (@FakeFielding) February 23, 2012
10.20am: Correct weight.
This is like watching "Labor in Power", but in real time and with every galah in Australia being able to have their say as it happens...— timwattsau (@timwattsau) February 23, 2012
10.15am: The Sydney Morning Herald's chief political correspondent Phillip Coorey will be online to answer questions from readers between 11am and midday today.
If you are interested in participating, look here.
10.00am: Here is a lovely snippet from my colleague, senior correspondent Daniel Flitton.
He bumped into a lady called Katherine Wilson out the front of Parliament earlier today.
We suspect Ms Wilson has responded to Mr Rudd's people power campaign.
You'd hardly call it people power - at least, not yet.
"More of my friends will be here later,'' says Katherine Wilson, a confirmed Kevin Rudd fan, in a Kevin11 t-shirt. Standing alone on the grass before the parliament on a bright Canberra morning, she holds a handmade sign. "Come on Ruddy lead your Party"
Ms Wilson, 24, is a Canberra local who said she'd been along to a few Young Labor meetings but didn't think she was still a member. "I'm not as loyal to Labor as I used to be,'' she told The Pulse. More of a Kevin fan, she said, voting for him in the 2007 election but refusing to vote Labor after the 2010 coup. Everything is now a mess, she admits, but at least it gives Rudd a chance to climb back to the top.
Have a look at Dan's iPhone picture on Twitter:
Out front of parliament house today twitter.com/danielflitton/…— Daniel Flitton (@danielflitton) February 23, 2012
9.45am: Kevin Rudd and wife Therese on the way back from the airport.
(There's no place like home. There's no place like home.)
9.35am: "I won't want to serve in his ministry."
It doesn't get much more personal than Nicola Roxon this morning.
9.20am: Meanwhile, in Tony Abbott land.
9.15am: Dear, oh dear.
Labor MP agrees this isn't an episode of celebrity big brother, it's "my abattoir rules"— David Speers (@David_Speers) February 23, 2012
9.10am: The Prime Minister is now on her way to Melbourne.
There will be a couple of public events, and then a press conference in the early afternoon.
9.00am: Mr Rudd has arrived at his Brisbane home.
He'll be having a cup of tea with Therese. Mr Rudd says he will be making his intentions clear later on today.
Ms Gillard meanwhile has given a line for the television cameras before boarding a plane in Adelaide.
She says the choice colleagues have to make is who has the character and courage to lead the country.
"This is not an episode of celebrity Big Brother," Ms Gillard says.
"This is about who should be the Prime Minister."
8.55am: A Pulse reader in touch this morning poses an excellent question:
Why does Kevin Rudd want to lead a political party he hates so much?
What do you make of events this morning?
You can comment below, or talk to me on Twitter @murpharoo
8.50am: Attorney-General Nicola Roxon says if Kevin Rudd wins the leadership ballot on Monday, that's it.
Ms Roxon says she's off to the backbench.
She couldn't be a minister with Mr Rudd again.
She could not stand the lack of procedure, the lack of paper, the lack of planning, the administrative chaos.
"I wouldn't have confidence in him, and I'm sure he wouldn't have confidence in me," Ms Roxon has just told Sky News.
"I won't want to serve in his ministry."
8.45am: And just in case you fear we are all falling off a cliff, somehow.
Reassurance this morning, from Speaker Peter Slipper:
Australia though a young country, is one of the world's oldest democracies!— Peter Slipper MP (@PeterSlipperMP) February 23, 2012
8.40am: If only the current situation was that "rational."
Is the ALP mirroring the presidential primary process of the US, but doing it while in office and without the face-to-face debates? #respill— Shane Wright (@swrightwestoz) February 23, 2012
8.35am: Here's a news wrap from Judith Ireland on Mr Rudd's declaration of a probable declaration later on in the day for the Labor leadership.
You can read Judith here.
8.30am: Like there wasn't enough crazy business afoot.
Firebrand union official Dean Mighell has bobbed up on ABC television backing Bill Shorten for Labor leader.
Those without strong constitutions should go to New Zealand for the weekend.
8.25am: The people rest, your honour.
8.20am: So what on earth does all that mean?
It shows us Kevin Rudd has lost none of his instinctive touch for theatre.
Mr Rudd believes the voters are his true constituency, so he's reaching over the heads of the caucus to the public.
It shows he's intent on returning the nuclear strategy: kill until you are dead, to Ms Gillard.
Mr Rudd has attempted to damage the Prime Minister this morning as much as Camp Gillard has attempted to damage him over the past few days.
He's not deploying the softly softly strategy shown by the Cabinet players who backed him publicly yesterday.
That suggests he's not confident of the numbers.
That he needs to hit Julia Gillard with everything he has in order to have a hope of turning events in his favour.
Playing nice and hoping people power works won't quite carry you there on Monday morning.
Bones will need to be broken.
8.10am: Mr Rudd revisits the night of the leadership coup.
He says Julia Gillard made an explicit commitment on that night to give him more time; not to challenge his leadership.
Then ten mintues later, she changed her mind.
Ms Gillard has always declined to comment on events on the coup night.
Mr Rudd's comments will inflame the internal situation.
And for now, Mr Rudd, has "zipped."
8.07am: Mr Rudd makes a mild conciliatory gesture towards Wayne Swan, who has unleashed on Mr Rudd over the past few days.
Mr Rudd says his government would need all talents.
"I've been pretty disappointed by all the intense negativity."
8.06am: Mr Rudd is furious.
Clearly furious at poor treatment by those "faceless men."
He admits he wasn't perfect when Prime Minister, but he argues those who launched a "coup" against him might have a vested interest in talking down his achievements and his legacy.
"I'm not saying I'm captain perfect."
8.05am: Mr Rudd says he did not leak during the 2010 election.
He says the 2010 election was a cock-up culminating in the Real Julia episode.
(Mr Rudd said that more politely than me).
8.00am: Questions begin.
Are you standing?
Mr Rudd says I've only been back 20 minutes.
He says there will be another press conference later.
7.55am: This is Mr Rudd's pitch for the leadership:
- My vision for Australia hasn't changed.
- How do you face the future without throwing the fair go out the back door?
- Mr Abbott has no vision for the future.
- The key question for us all is this.
- For the last 12 months Tony Abbott is on track to win in a landslide.
- The core question for my Parliamentary colleagues is who is best placed to defeat Mr abbott at the next election?
- In politics trust and confidence is everything.
- It is critical whomever leads our party has the trust and confidence of the Australian people.
- Does Julia Gillard have the trust and confidence of the people?
- Because if you don't you cant do anything.
- The party must now listen to the will of the people.
- This is about people power.
- This is not about the factions of the Labor Party.
- This is your country, your Labor Party, not theirs.
7.52am: Here's Kevin Rudd with his press conference.
7.50am: Some of you are very droll.
If Rudd doesn't enter this press conference room with The Rock's theme song blaring in the background, he's just not trying hard enough— Possum Comitatus (@Pollytics) February 23, 2012
7.45am: Meanwhile, other Labor folks are clearing their heads.
Labor backbencher Graham Perrett:
Walk highlights: 2 scrub turkeys; rain rolling in; Arms of Love by REM; How Could I Help but Love You by The Triffids (live)— Graham Perrett (@GrahamPerrettMP) February 23, 2012
7.40am: Former NSW Premier Bob Carr has had enough of the furies currently battering the Labor Party.
This is Mr Carr's blog post from this morning, in which he vents frustration at the soap opera.
This quote captures his broad sentiment.
"For Godsake, we saved Australia from the GFC and rebuilt the schools! Yet since 2007 we have lost the capacity to use persuasive, concrete, uplifting language to talk about our achievements."
Here is the post in full.
"Every now and then The Furies take hold of the Australian Labor Party and give it a good shake. This episode is different in being entirely about personality with no policy content.
On the other hand, the issues of personality are pretty substantial! It is also different in that it comes at a time of historic challenge for labor and social democratic parties through contraction of the industrial base, globalization, the limit of public sector spending and so on.
This party crisis – for once the word not hyperbole – erupts when the party is struggling with 30 percent support. In the 50s and 60s outbreaks of self-indulgence occurred when the party could routinely claim 45 percent of the electorate. Perilous times, indeed.
I have declined about 20 requests to talk because I think it unseemly for me to become another commentator on the party predicament, feeding off its temporarily disabled body. I will say that alone of Australian institutions the ALP conducts no systemic training for its personnel, no mentoring, no coaching, no management of high potential talent. And we pay the price with spokespeople thrust into jobs with no preparation and no support or guidance. Good cases are lost because nobody can articulate them, our debating prowess has leached from the organization.
So has personality and color, as ministers end sentences with rising inflections sounding querulous and timid or just read scripts in monotones, misuse language and talk jargon. For Godsake, we saved Australia from the GFC and rebuilt the schools! Yet since 2007 we have lost the capacity to use persuasive, concrete, uplifting language to talk about our achievements.
A change of party culture is more vital than any rules change to rescue it from flatness and mediocrity.
Oh, and don’t overlook this: if Abbott, Turnbull and Hockey were kidnapped by Maritians who would take over on their side? The thiness of talent is even more obvious with the conservatives."
Failure, but not that often.
The family trade.
7.20am: With the show in Brisbane, Parliament House feels very empty this morning.
There are lights on in a couple of political offices.
But no-one in the corridors.
In preparation for the bruising sitting week ahead next week, the folks in the parliamentary departments are testing out the division bells.
Kevin Rudd's plane is landing in Brisbane.
The bells are ringing in Canberra.
Julia Gillard supporter Kate Ellis is meanwhile talking tough on breakfast television.
"This has to stop on Monday," Ms Ellis says.
"When this is over, and Kevin doesn't have the numbers, I will insist that he accepts the result."
7.15am: Good morning and welcome to our rolling coverage of Labor's leadership tussle.
This morning, reporters are camped out at Brisbane Airport waiting for Kevin Rudd's return from the United States. His plane is due around now.
Mr Rudd's wife, Therese Rein, has been nabbed by a television reporter on the way out her front gate in Brisbane.
Ms Rein has been an effective public advocate for her absent husband over the past 24 hours. I wrote a piece about this for The Age this morning. If you are interested, you can read it here.
Is this a PR campaign by the Rudd family, Ms Rein is asked?
"I think this is a people led campaign," Ms Rein replied, smiling.
Are you encouraged by the support for Kevin?
"I think it is very encouraging," she says.