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Feb 26 12 4:04 AM

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Currently in Australia, we have a minority government, which means that at the last election, two parties received equal votes (also known as a hung parliament), and it was up to 3 independents to decide which party's policies suited them best - the one who they sided with then got to form Government (if the party had received more votes then the other, it would be a majority government, and as such, has more say on what policies they want passed, for one thing). 

The Labor party is our current government. When they were voted in in 2007, their leader at the time was Kevin Rudd, who became Prime Minister. They won that election and were a majority government.  Rudd became unpopular within opinion polls for various stuff ups (spending stuff ups mostly), and unpopular within his own party apparently, because they saw him as hard to work for (this stuff is only coming out now). In 2010, the Labor party decided to replace him with the Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.  They had a vote and it was decided.  Not long after that, there was another election, and that is when it became a minority government, as Julia negotiated with the independents and they sided with her instead of the other party (the Coalition - a party made up of some smaller ones.  Traditionally, Labor has the Greens party on its side, so any votes for them, become votes for Labor). When Rudd was ousted as PM, he was made Foreign Affairs minister by Gillard.

For quite a while, there have been rumours from the press that Rudd would challenge Gillard to try and become PM again. In the last few days, Rudd has resigned from Foreign Affairs Minister, and Julia Gillard has called on the Labor party to vote on Monday, to determine who will be the leader once and for all.  It's all quite a mess, really. We have had ministers side with Gillard, and call Rudd a psycopath, among other things.  We also have had members say that they were on Rudd's side.  Public opinion polls show most would prefer Rudd to be PM again (although I don't know why, seems they have forgotten why his popularity plummeted).  A lot of people believe Gillard lied to the public, when she went to the election in 2010, she told everyone "There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead" and once she was in, decided she wanted to bring in what she called "carbon pricing", which people believe is just another way of saying 'tax'. This is the main reason why her public opinion is so low. 

Anyway, whoever wins on Monday, needs to be very careful over the next few months, so that a new election isn't called early.  An early election could happen if the independents change their mind on who they support (I have read that at least one has said they will not support Labor if Rudd becomes PM again).  If not called early, we will go to the polls again somewhere in between 1 July 2013 and 30 June 2014. Regardless, there are people who believe that no matter who is leading the Labor party, they will not win the next election.  In NSW last year, we voted Labor out after they had been in government here for 16 years. Part of the reason they went was due to people being influenced by the Federal Labor party - people did not like what the Federal Govt did, so made the State Government the scapegoat (people were unhappy with the State government any way, but still took out their frustrations with the Federal Government on the State one - seats that everyone thought would go back to Labor, actually went to other parties. We all knew they would be voted out, but no one knew just by how much).

Anyway, just thought I'd let you all know basically what's happening over here in politics at the moment. 

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