After a week of things continuing to fall apart Julia is faced with furthering speculation on the future of her leadership.
With less than 100days before the next election and the loss of several major seats forecast this news is something Julia can surely do without. The news out this week that two Labour MPs have already packed up their offices is shocking and frankly very unsporting like.
Barrie Cassidy, at www.abc.net.au has written a piece on the Prime Ministers numbers being up, speculating that Julia has lost significant support in the caucus.
Those who have changed their thinking are convinced that in any case, she must be close to deciding for herself that continuing on through a torrid and hopeless ten-week campaign is intolerable.
She must by now, they argue, have gone through all five stages of grief.
The first and second stages, anger and depression, will surely have been experienced many times in the past, and still ignite when events present themselves within in her own ranks and within the media.
The third is bargaining, and she has done lots of that, doing deals with interest groups, rallying the troops behind her as Kevin Rudd advanced, and putting together solid and popular policy initiatives, like the NDIS and education reform.
In the end, it was the kind of furious bargaining that might have worked in ordinary times, but seems to have been inadequate in the tough days of minority government.
The fourth stage is denial and isolation. Given the appalling ill discipline on display from the team behind her in the last parliamentary sitting week, that stage has probably now come and gone.
The fifth and final stage, the big one, is acceptance. Does she yet accept that she can no longer head up a united party and bring out the best in the team in the critical weeks ahead? And only the best will head off a rout.
Bringing back Kevin seems impossible from an outsider. But you watch enough news and media political briefs you can see that once again Kevin is putting himself at the front of the media spotlight, the man just can’t fade into the background!
Mr Rudd has recently stepped up his public presence in a move interpreted as ”hanging out his shingle” for another crack at the leadership. But he insists he will not challenge, leaving the government gridlocked with the only options being maintenance of the status quo, or a voluntary withdrawal by the Prime Minister.
As always, not being able to vote makes the whole thing fascinating to watch. Really a spectacle, even from New Zealand it seems!