Much to the chagrin of everybody for whom the notion of Tony Abbott as Prime Minister is just beneath “crocodile attack” and “permanent genital numbness” on the list of Things Hoped To Experience In One’s Lifetime, the fact is that the federal Labor party is in disarray.
Julia Gillard is refusing to step down as leader, despite all the press demanding her head. Kevin Rudd is refusing to make a formal challenge, despite the press begging him to do so. In fact, maybe the press should just make some Rudd'n'Gillard finger puppets and let the final sitting week of Parliament actually be about the finally sitting week of Parliament, but speculating about Caucus having an internal poll fills space – and heck, columns need words.
This column is no exception, and that is why it's filled with baseless speculation on Who Will Be Labor’s Leader At The Election. It's pointless and unhelpful, and is why you can expect to see my headshot next to the title "Chief Political Correspondent" next time News Ltd has a staff reshuffle.
With that in mind, here are the frontrunners according to the internal Labor poll which was slipped to us by a Labor mole and wasn’t totally made up just now – exactly like every other news organisation in Australia.
1. Julia Gillard
Pros: She’s already there, all the stationery and stuff is already printed, everyone knows which coffee mug in the Parliamentary kitchen is “hers”, was voted in by the Australian people via a democratic election.
Cons: Most of the last two years.
2. Kevin Rudd
Pros: Used to be Prime Minister and probably still remembers all the internal phone numbers, knows how to use the fax machine and where to park, those still-sealed boxes of Kevin 07 T-shirts aren’t going to unpack themselves.
Cons: Won't challenge, was already removed as Prime Minister for being an insufferable jerk.
This was slipped to us by a Labor mole and wasn’t totally made up just now, exactly like every other news organisation in Australia
3. Wayne Swan
Pros: People know who he is.
Cons: People know who he is.
4. Penny Wong
Pros: Is intelligent, compassionate and principled with a long history of public service.
Cons: We’ve already had a PM without a penis, thanks. Also, y’know, the whole lesbo thing.
5. Simon Crean
Pros: Um… well, he… um.
Cons: Is Simon Crean.
6. Tony Abbott
Pros: Good name recognition in the electorate.
Cons: Already has job with excellent prospects.
7. Rony Trabbott
Pros: Would probably poll big with members of the public that are hard of hearing and/or don’t read the ballot papers too closely.
Cons: May not actually exist.
8. Ghost of Gough Whitlam
Pros: Much-lauded Labor leader, spearheading the party’s proud legacy of failing to support a leader in office and then retroactively canonising them as the last true believer, as Gillard is about to discover.
Cons: Real Gough still alive and, given his support for spending on education, welfare and the arts, probably unelectable.
9. Bob Hawke circa 1983
Pros: A can-do go-getter with a larrikin streak, ready to unseat the stuffy and uncertain Fraser government.
Cons: Attempts to bring him back from the past have hitherto only resulted in velociraptors.
10. A velociraptor
Pros: Fierce determination, handsome plumage, bloodcurdling shriek, unafraid to make hard decisions, would make refreshing change from typical Canberra insider canditates.
Cons: Voracious carnivore that hunts in coordinated packs, soft on border protection.
11. Harrison Craig from The Voice
Pros: Has already won a public vote, will have plenty of time on his hands by September if the career trajectory of Karise Eden is any indication.
Cons: His version of ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’. Seriously, that was just bland.
Pros: Good name recognition, strong record of being tough on crime, no known ties with unions.
Cons: Cowardice, would probably install Shaggy as Treasurer, relies heavily on outdated cell animation techniques.
13. A delicious biscuit
Pros: Is delicious, goes well with tea, unlikely to be accused of playing “the gender card”.
Cons: May contain traces of nuts.
14. Julian Gillard
Pros: History of making strong and necessary decisions in the face of concerted pressure from the media and vested interests, unblemished record of economic management during a period where every other western democracy faltered, seems comfortingly like someone that Australia can take seriously as a leader.
Cons: Heading for a landslide victory right up until the fake moustache falls off.