Julia’s triumphant return: The story in photographs
Instead of a conventional piece of writing about today’s triumphant ALP Caucus meeting, we thought we’d cover it through the lenses of News Limited photographers Ray Strange, Kym Smith and Gary Ramage, who were there today chronicling an event which often looked like it would never happen.
This first photograph, by Ray Strange, tells much of the story of this bizarre two months in federal politics. In the foreground is Stephen Smith, who served as Foreign Minister in Kevin Rudd’s first and last term as PM. In the middle of the election campaign, when Rudd was accused of leaking damaging Cabinet information and leadership details to Laurie Oakes, Smith magnaminously told Julia Gillard that he was prepared to vacate that portfolio to make way for Kevin Rudd. It’s expected that this will happen when Julia Gillard announces her new ministry on the weekend. Rudd has gone from being the reviled accused leaker to valued senior member of the team.
The next photograph, by Kym Smith, is the moment Julia Gillard arrived at the meeting. By the shape of her smile, she seems to be thinking: “Yikes. We did it.” You can’t quite make out the documents she’s carrying - maybe it’s another list of demands from the independents.
Labor’s Caucus room is decorated with studio portraits of former leaders and here, Gary Ramage pegged off this shot which simply reminds us about all that has changed in the short time since June 24.
In the foreground of the above shot are a trio of South Australian Left Faction MPs - Senator Anne McEwen, Environment Minister and Senator Penny Wong, who is tipped for promotion in the reshuffle, and Port Adelaide MP Mark Butler, a smart bloke who has performed strongly as parliamentary secrarty for health, and is likely to make it onto the frontbench this term.
One person who might now have a diminished role is NSW Labor Senator Mark Arbib, captured below with a bit of a sheepish look on his face in this photograph by Kym Smith. Arbib was one of the so-called “faceless men” who orchestrated the move against Rudd.
Fellow faceless man, Victorian right-winger and Disabilities Minister Bill Shorten, looks a lot happier in this next photograph, again by Ramage. While Shorten is tipped for a promotion - and desperately ambitious to secure one - the PM must be careful that her new-look Cabinet does not look like she’s doling out rewards to the people who rolled Rudd.
Rudd loyalist and retiring Defence Minister John Faulkner is pictured below, sitting next to the man he tried valiantly but fruitlessly to defend. Faulkner is one of a small but significant number of party people who believes Rudd would have won office in his own right, and resisted the shift to Gillard, but still worked loyally for her throughout the campaign. Who knows who he’s texting here. Faulkner carries two phones and was photographed during the campaign with one on each ear, looking like a crazy stockbroker.
This next one is a bit of a blurry art shot which the Fin Review would put on the front page, if only it were more out of focus.
This last one has a nice cat-that-got-the-cream quality to it, a beaming Gillard next to Swanny on the couch, who’s having a good time of it all too.
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