For weeks now, as Prime Minister Julia Gillard received blow per blow account that wounded her position in the latest election survey polls, rumour had been going that the Australian Labor Party will shift its leadership to Kevin Rudd.
To put a stop to this seemingly undying rumour, Ms Gillard challenged MPs to show their hands in an open vote to decide on the Gillard vs Rudd leadership over the party. This challenge came with a statement that she will deny the party her secret ballot.
The showing of hands was set to happen on Wednesday morning, but The Daily Telegraph reported that no such thing happened within the party.
According to the report, "... it was off the table this morning when a member of that guard, Trade Minister Craig Emerson, ruled it out and protested it was hypothetical because Mr Rudd's last pronouncement was he wasn't challenging under any circumstances."
The pandemonium within the party was provoked by statements from senior member from the PM's office, hinting that Ms. Gillard will not leave her seat as the party's leader but was compelling the MPs to show their hands in an open vote that will obviously reveal their as to whom their loyally belong to.
The show of hands, if it happened, will put all MPs in possible reprisal from the unions that the MPs were affiliated.
The act of denying the secret ballot, on the other hand, will break the tradition of the Labor party. The tradition of the secret ballot, where a leader leave his or her seat vacant when his or her leadership is challenged, had long been practiced in Asutralia since the 1850s.
More importantly, if the showings of hands did happen with Ms Gillard denying her secret ballot, she might be suffering the greatest drawback of her political career as of this very moment. What would have make the matters worse was that the message did not come directly from the prime minister but by her seemingly "all-knowing" staff.
For Simon Benson of The Daily Telegraph, the act will be a "misguided and potential fatal move. No party knows how to prey upon the most powerful human emotions of fear and vengeance as does Labor. That the prime minister is contemplating this move shows only that she knows she no longer has the numbers. And we can only assume she is contemplating it - by what we are told by her advisors."
Confusion and anxiety surrounded the MPs on Tuesday night as the showing of hands loom over them.
One supporter for Mr Rudd said, "There are a lot of people unhappy about this. The caucus will not be dictated to by a staffer on how we can vote."
There was great apprehension over Mr Rudd's declaration of hands. One supporter said that "He is a dead man walking if he does not do this. This can't go on any longer."
One party leader expressed great nervousness, "If he hasn't had enough time to do it today he will be in more trouble than the early settlers."
Mr Rudd seemed to add fuel to the fire as he announced leaving for China on Wednesday night. One loyal supporter of Mr Rudd said the trip is "Kevin saying you have two days. I am available but after that all bets are off."
However, a senior Gillard supporter had keen intuition of what was going to happen come this morning. "We've seen this all before - The blokes doing Rudd's numbers couldn't add tree oranges and pear together."
As no show of hands happen this morning, will this put an end to the Gillard vs. Rudd rumored battle against the Australian Labor Party leadership?
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