Hard days and nights: the final 147 days of the Gillard Government

8 Nov 2013


The 2010 election produced a hung parliament, leaving Julia Gillard as caretaker Prime Minister while negotiations took place as to which party would form government. Because the ALP and the Coalition had each emerged with 72 seats in the House of Representatives, both parties needed the support of at least four other MPs in order to attain a majority in the House and form government.

In the weeks immediately following the election there was frenzied activity as both major parties sought to secure agreements with the independents and minor party MPs that would deliver the voting support on the floor of the House required for either major party to form and maintain government. Negotiations took place over 17 days, largely in the public spotlight.

Ultimately the ALP secured agreements for support from three Independents—Tony Windsor, Robert Oakeshott, and Andrew Wilkie—and the Greens MP Adam Bandt, enabling Gillard to reach the requisite 76 votes and form a minority government. Julia Gillard was duly re-appointed Prime Minister on 14 September 2010.

Thereafter she endured what many considered to be the toughest of political environments—a largely disillusioned electorate; a hostile, often vicious press; herself burdened by scandals of others’ making and pursued by allegations of her own past misdemeanours; and relentless leadership speculation within the Labor Caucus that created an aura of instability around her government and raised the ire and anxiety of citizens.

This paper describes the key events and issues that dominated the 147 days between Gillard’s National Press Club announcement in January that an election would be held 14 September 2013, and the Labor Caucus ballot on Wednesday 26 June 2013 which saw Gillard replaced as leader by Kevin Rudd, whom Gillard had herself deposed on Wednesday 24 June 2010.

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