The Daily Telegraph reports that Bob Hawke agreed to lead a delegation to talk to Julia Gillard back in March, after party officials decided the leadership impasse between the Prime Minister and Kevin Rudd had to be resolved. But Ms Gillard's key backers rejected the plan and told them Ms Gillard would refuse to meet with the former PM.
Hawke would understand her predicament all too well. He told a similar delegation to take a walk back in 1991, when Keating was agitating for his job.
At yesterday's caucus meeting, the Rudd delegation had its chance to raise the leadership issue with Gillard, but didn't. Again.
'The elephant sat quietly in the corner,' said one MP. It's an indicator of the true dysfunction of the party that the leadership issue was not even raised.
Rudd and Gillard won't be at the final ALP caucus meeting of this parliamentary term next Tuesday, because they'll be attending Hazel Hawke's funeral.
The ALP can only hope they will reflect on her virtues of strength, forgiveness, integrity and quiet dignity.
"The Prime Minister has relied on the support of the unions, but (ACTU Secretary) Mr Oliver today declined to back her over Kevin Rudd on the question of who should lead the party. “We don't get to choose who the leader is. The ACTU is backing the government,” he told ABC radio. The move comes as secret ACTU polling... shows Labor is facing huge swings in a raft of seats once considered safe."
"A late switch by Labor back to Kevin Rudd could provoke a constitutional crisis forcing Governor-General Quentin Bryce to consider options such as a sudden recall of Parliament to test Labor's majority, or even the appointment of the Opposition Leader as Prime Minister."
"The current disreputable Labor deadlock flows from a core contradiction: Kevin Rudd's source of authority resides in the people while Julia Gillard's authority derives from inside the parliamentary party. When Rudd and Gillard functioned as a team they were brilliant. They were friends, allies and complemented each other. In truth, they needed each other... Their strengths mirrored each other's weakness."
"Come on people, let's not be squeamish about it: of course Australian political discourse is flooded with sexism. Let's not pretend this isn't the case just so it is easier for some to hide the real reason they hate Julia Gillard."