PRIME MINISTER Julia Gillard, can be criticised for a number of things but a lack of courage is probably not one of them.
For the second time in a week, the woman described by her outgoing ministers as ”the outstanding politician of her generation”, pulled an unorthodox move, the timing of which was within her gift to decide.
And it came, apparently from the blue, just days before what is shaping up to be a very difficult parliamentary session.
While it had been a tightly held secret, the reshuffle was necessary because frontbenchers Nicola Roxon and Chris Evans wanted out.
As the self-deprecating Senator Evans pointed out, nobody in government is indispensable, irrespective of their position or ego.
For Ms Gillard as for any leader, a reshuffle itself is not a bad thing.
The trick is in getting the mix right and the timing right. Here, she did markedly better on the first count than on the second.
Up and coming talent meant she could slot strong performers into key roles such as Mark Dreyfus, QC, as her new Attorney-General.
Other changes also make a lot of sense such as: shifting the tiring Chris Bowen from Immigration into Senator Evans’s role of Higher Education; the elevation of the classy Jason Clare as Cabinet Secretary; and the promotion of the former military man Mike Kelly as Minister for Defence Materiel.
Tellingly, all three, Bowen, Kelly, and Clare, belong to the powerful NSW Right faction which remains central to her grip on the leadership.
So, on content, Ms Gillard did well, not so on timing however.
Her declaration of an election on September 14 was a bold play.
Yet the very next day it was ambushed when Craig Thomson was charged with 150 criminal offences.
Rudd supporters are saying the government is clueless. Mystified voters may be inclined to agree.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.