Australia’s biggest gay marriage lobby group are backing former prime minister Kevin Rudd to takeover the leadership of the Labor party and the country, ousting Julia Gillard.
As campaigning for the general election on 14 September heats up, speculation is emerging about the long-running rivalry between Gillard and Rudd.
After workplace minister Bill Shorten admitted during a radio interview last weekend that the polls predict ‘Tony Abbott [opposition leader] will win in a landslide’, Rudd took to zealous campaigning in marginal seats that seemed to be prompting himself, not just the party.
National director of Australia Marriage Equality (AME) Rodney Croome said it was ‘crucial’ for legalizing gay marriage to have support from the country’s leader, as shown by recent successes in New Zealand and France.
Last month, Rudd announced that he supports marriage equality, and he allegedly told LGBT rights campaigners at a private meeting in December 2011 that if he was prime minister gay marriage would already be legalized in Australia.
‘As a supporter of marriage equality, Kevin Rudd has the potential to provide the kind of leadership on this reform which has been missing in Australia up until now,’ said Croome, adding that if the polls are correct Labor are more likely to win the election with Rudd at the helm, meaning the many Labor MPs who support marriage equality will keep their seats.
‘Just as the US Democrats benefitted when Obama came out for marriage equality, so Labor would benefit if it is led by a someone who backs the reform,’ said Croome.
‘Having a leader who supports marriage equality would improve the Labor Party’s chances of reaching out to young voters.’
Gillard said yesterday that she is ‘going nowhere’ and is ‘the best person to lead the Labor party’. Former Labor leader Mark Latham called Rudd ‘a once in a century egomaniac’.