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Labor In Power - 2007-2013

The ALP, under the leadership of Kevin Rudd, defeated the Liberal/National coalition, led by John Howard, in the November 24, 2007 election. The ALP now held 83 seats in the House of Representatives, against 64 for the Liberal/National coalition, and 3 independents. The composition of the Senate is 37 seats for the coalition, 32 for the ALP, five seats for the Greens, one for Family First, and one independent.

Rudd and the ALP won the election with a message promising "new leadership" after 11 years of the Howard government. Rudd portrayed himself as an "economic conservative," while criticizing unpopular Howard government policies on workplace relations reform, climate change, and the war on Iraq. The Rudd government ratified the Kyoto Protocol and is working with the international community on combating climate change. It is undoing some labor market reforms instituted by the Howard government, such as statutory individual contracts. The Australian government's foreign policy shows strong continuity with that of its predecessors, stressing relations with four key countries: the United States, Japan, China, and Indonesia. The Rudd government strongly supports U.S. engagement in the Asia-Pacific region and increased Australia's troop contribution in Afghanistan. It withdrew Australia's combat troops from Iraq in 2008; it intended to end its military mission in Iraq on July 31, 2009.

Julia Gillard first assumed the office of Prime Minister in June 2010 after Kevin Rudd lost the confidence of the Australian Labor Party because of declining poll numbers and a sense of poor implementation of government programs. Gillard called for an early election after only a month as Prime Minister.

The August 21, 2010, federal election resulted in a hung parliament, with neither the Labor Party, under the leadership of Gillard, nor the Liberal/National Coalition, led by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, holding enough seats to form a government. The resurgent Coalition gained 8 seats from where it stood after the 2007 election, while the Labor Party lost 11 seats. After the election the Labor Party was able to secure the support of the Greens Party Member of Parliament (MP) and three independent MPs to gain a majority of 76 seats. The composition of the new Senate, seated in July 2011, is 34 seats for the coalition, 31 for the ALP, nine for the Greens, one for the Democratic Labor Party, and one independent. By gaining four seats the Greens now hold key swing votes and greater influence in the Senate.

The government was sworn in September 14, 2010. Peter Slipper became Speaker of the House in November 2011, subsequently resigning as an Opposition MP to sit as an independent. In January 2012 independent MP Andrew Wilkie withdrew support for the Labor Party. With these changes, the Gillard-led government can typically rely on the support of 75 voting lawmakers and the Opposition 73. The composition of the Senate, effective July 2011, is 34 seats for the Liberal/National Coalition, 31 for the Labor Party, nine for the Greens, one for the Democratic Labor Party, and one independent.

Gillard delivered on her campaign promise and passed landmark carbon price legislation in October 2011, and continued to work toward building a national broadband network. The Australian Governments foreign policy showed strong continuity with that of its predecessors, including support for the U.S. alliance, engagement in the Asia-Pacific, and commitment to the mission in Afghanistan where it had deployed about 1,550 troops.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard won a decisive victory February 26, 2012 in a leadership ballot with Kevin Rudd, the man she ousted in June 2010. The fight for the countrys most senior political position was one of the most vicious Australia has ever seen. Gillard had the overwhelming support of her Labor colleagues in Parliament. After a secret ballot, Gillard triumphed by 71 votes to 31 over Rudd. Tensions between the pair have festered since Gillard replaced Rudd as leader almost two years ago.

The leadership campaign sparked one of the most brutal bouts of infighting the country has ever seen. Gillard loyalists tore into Rudds record as leader and claimed he had become a traitor by attempting to sabotage the Labor government. But following his defeat, Rudd said that his campaign to topple the prime minister had come to an end. He resigned as Australias foreign minister and became a back-bench government lawmaker.

Gillards task is to rebuild the publics faith in her government. Opinion polls have suggested it would be heavily defeated in an election due next year. In parliament, the conservative opposition leader Tony Abbott taunted the prime minister about the leadership result. Given that one third of her parliamentary colleagues and a quarter of her cabinet colleagues have expressed their lack of confidence in her today, how can she claim to have a mandate to continue as prime minister? asked Abbott. In response, Gillard said her minority government that relies on a handful of independent and Greens Party lawmakers for support would continue to serve the people.

Australia's former leader Kevin Rudd won a Labor Party leadership vote over Prime Minister Julia Gillard, in a move that resulted in the country's first female leader quitting politics. Rudd won the support his fellow lawmakers 57 to 45 in a caucus vote 26 June 2013, meaning he would lead the party into the September 2013 general elections in which it was expected to suffer heavy losses. Gillard challenged Rudd to the snap vote, promising to resign from politics if she lost. She made no immediate comment following the vote. The move comes after Rudd's supporters were said to be preparing a separate party caucus in an attempt to oust Gillard, who was the country's first female prime minister. Rudd served as prime minister from November 2007 until June 2010, when he was ousted by Gillard. Opinion polls showed the Labor Party would lose heavily to the conservative opposition in the upcoming election. They also suggested that Rudd may be a more popular leader than Gillard and could help the party hold on to more seats in the vote.

On 04 August 2013 Rudd called a general election for 07 September 2013, The election was held just three months after Prime Minister Kevin Rudd ousted Australia's first female prime minister, Julia Gillard, in a party leadership challenge intended to better position Labor for the national win.

Rudd had generated a spike in public support since he returned to office, but conservative opposition leader Tony Abbott remained the favorite to win power. Labor would be fighting to stay in office after six turbulent years, dominated by leadership struggles and debate over its handling of the sensitive issues of asylum seekers, climate change, and the global financial crisis. Rudd's Labor government could fall with the loss of only a single seat in the 150 seat parliament, as the Labor government held 71 seats, the opposition holding 72, with one Green and six independent cross benchers. Recent opinion polls showed the election race was likely to be close, although pundits expected the conservatives to win when voters have their say on September 7.

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