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The Labor party’s proxy war between Gillard and Rudd has intensified.

A Gillard-ite has blasted Rudd for promoting his celebrity status instead of his ability. Cabinet ministers felt uneasy about other ministers taking verbatim notes in cabinet- so Gillard bans note-taking in cabinet.

It is leaked that Gillard has forbidden note-taking in cabinet.

Gillard supporters put Rudd’s support in caucus in the high 20s.

Rudd supporters put it between 37 and 40 (out of 103).

Rudd calls over a party heavyweight to witness that a conversation between him and a circle of journalists was all above board and not Rudd plotting against the PM.

It’s a soap opera in there.

In short, the leadership tensions between Gillard and Rudd are derailing the government’s effectiveness as a government. There is no trust, there is no unity, there is no friendliness. There isn’t even note-taking.

Why is this? It’s because Gillard and Rudd are ambitious. There’s nothing wrong with that. Every politician (especially prime ministers) is ambitious. Ambition drives politicians to achieve.But here, ambition is preventing achievement.

The government is distracted from governing and instead spends it’s time, energy and political capital on sabotaging its own members. Rudd and Gillard are not fighting each other because they sincerely believe they are a better option for the party and for the nation. Listen to their arguments!

If Gillard’s supporters really believed that a Gillard government would govern better than a Rudd government, then they would say so. They would discredit Rudd as a poor prime minister with poor policies and policy implementation. They have enough material from his first term to run that line.

If the Rudd-ites honestly thought that Rudd is an able prime minister, capable of running a smoother ship of state with better policies and better governance, then they would say so. They would extol the Rudd years, or Rudd’s abilities, or run down Gillard’s achievements in office. But they don’t. They savage Gillard for her treachery and paranoia.

The complaints that the Gillard camp and the Rudd camp bring against one another are personal, not policy-based. Australia’s two prime ministers aren’t at each other’s throats because both believe they’d make a better government; they oppose each other because the other inhibits their ambition!

If they do honestly believe in their own abilities and vision, then they have forgotten to find ways to say so. Perhaps in the acrimony of party politics their belief in their own vision and ability, that which makes them great leaders, has been swallowed up by cheap shots and ad hominem tactics. That is a sad loss.

Rudd and Gillard are not fighting for Labor’s soul. They are fighting for their own pride, for their own ambition, for their own themselves. That is not a good place for the national government to be in.

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