While I'm taking a break:
I think the chorus of interest/delight/approval at Julia Gillard becoming Prime Minister thankfully surpasses the "Oh, noes!" at the turfing of someone who was, less than three years ago, an eminently electable leader of an eminently electable party. Even so:
In 2007 we (for values of 'we', I suggest Middle Australian voters and anyone more than two steps to the left of Peter Costello, not necessarily myself) chose the Labor Party over the Liberal Party for a variety of reasons, amongst them: because we were sick of twelve years of moral conservatism, Howard's sanctimonious disdain for people whose values were more inclusive than his own, his cuddling up to Bush, Work Choices or the threat of Peter Costello as Howard's successor (possibly mid-term - yes, we can be wise in the ways of the Westminster system when we want to be). These were all part of the mix and not the only reasons.
But this is by the bye - the fact a lot of people are missing is that we didn't elect Rudd per se - we elected a majority of Labor MP's and Rudd was the elected leader of those MP's in the Australian Parliament. Julia Gillard was his appointed Deputy. And I think we were all sweet with that, and we enjoyed Julia's combatitiveness in Parliament, particularly against Tony Abbott. Also, we thought she worked hard, with a portfolio list that would drown anyone lesser, and she could do the acting Prime Minister thing when Rudd was out of town and do it well.
She speaks well, uses incisive language that anyone can follow, as opposed to Rudd's burblings which became more and more obscure as his personal following fell away and problems mounted.
She has support from within the caucus, something Rudd lost a long time ago. It seems too soon, but a new election is due, this year or early next, and the worry has been that Rudd's slide in the public opinion polls meant that Tony Abbott could inspire voters to choose his party instead of Labor. Abbott, the conservative Catholic ex-seminarian, for #$%#$ sake.
At the end of the day, and according to the rules of the Westminster System, when the party with the most representatives in Parliament decided that Rudd had to go, the members were entirely within their rights to elect a new leader.
I, for one, am glad. Julia doesn't appear to be one of the many (far to many) politicians who either espouse conservative# religious views or bow (personally, publically) to the many pressure groups who push those views. A friend commented to me the other night that we've slipped a long way from the Australia of the '80's, when Bob Hawke was proud to announce his aeiiesm to the world. In that respect a Prime Minister who stays schtum about her personal beliefs and works within the framework of policy and election promises is a *heh* godsend. That she's sticking (after how many hours in office?) to Labor Party policy on gay marriage is marginally disappointing, but with Steve Fielding of Family First wielding his "balance of power" vote in the Senate I'm inclined to give her a pass for now. Her aim is to achieve some runs on the board policywise and get the Labor Party reelected in 2011, both aims I (currently) support.
As always with politics, the rest is "let's see".
#religion /=conservatism is all I'm saying.
ETA: Fixed stuff *headdesk*. Glad I'm not a professional pundit.