Prime ministers and ALP leadership challenges update

Today’s leadership challenge to Prime Minister Gillard is the seventh in the last fifty years, and the sixth involving a party room ballot.

On 7 November 1969 David Fairbairn and William McMahon both challenged Prime Minister Gorton. It was reported that Gorton’s majority was slim, 33 or 34 or 35 votes out of 65.

The next challenge to Prime Minister Gorton came on 10 March 1971, with a confidence motion in the party room. This time the votes were tied at 33 all, and Gorton used his casting vote to vote against himself.

During Malcolm Fraser’s prime ministership he was challenged unsuccessfully by Andrew Peacock on 8 April 1982; the votes were 54 for Fraser, 27 for Peacock.

There were two challenges to Prime Minister Hawke’s position, both by Paul Keating. The first, on 3 June 1991, was lost by the challenger 66:44. The second challenge on 19 December 1991 was successful, with Keating polling 56 to Hawke’s 51.

Prime Minister Rudd was challenged on 23 June 2010 by Julia Gillard, but there was no ballot at the Caucus meeting on 24 June.

Kevin Rudd then made an unsuccessful challenge to Prime Minister Gillard; the votes in the caucus ballot on 27 February 2012 were 71 to 31 in the Prime Minister’s favour.

Updated details of Federal Parliamentary Labor Party leadership changes and challenges since 1982 follow:

DateChange or challengeVotes
16 July

Hawke challenged Hayden unsuccessfullyHayden 42; Hawke 37
3 February

Hawke became leader without a ballot-
3 June

Keating challenged Hawke unsuccessfullyHawke 66; Keating 44
19 December

Keating challenged Hawke and wonKeating 56; Hawke 51
19 March

Beazley became leader unopposed following Keating’s resignation-
11 November

Crean became leader unopposed following Beazley’s resignation-
16 June

Beazley challenged Crean unsuccessfullyCrean 58; Beazley 34
2 December

Latham defeated Beazley in ballot following Crean’s resignationLatham 47; Beazley 45
28 January

Beazley became leader unopposed following Latham’s resignation-
4 December

Rudd challenged Beazley and wonRudd 49; Beazley 39
24 June

Gillard challenged Rudd, but the anticipated ballot did not occur-
27 February 2012Rudd challenged Gillard unsuccessfullyGillard 71; Rudd 31


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