I envisage several things which might result from the events of the Labor Party caucus meeting next Monday.
1 - Julia Gillard is returned as the leader of the party, retains her job as Prime Minister. Everything continues as normal.
2 - Julia Gillard is returned as the leader of the party; retains her job as Prime Minister. A vote of no confidence is tabled before the house and the government loses the support of the Independents and the Green. This results in:
2a: The calling of a General Election.
2b: The formation of a new Liberal government provided that they can secure the support of the Independents and the Green with respect to supply bills.
3 - Kevin Rudd regains the job as the leader of the party and becomes Prime Minister. Everything continues as normal.
4 - Kevin Rudd regains the job as the leader of the party and becomes Prime Minister. A vote of no confidence is tabled before the house and the government loses the support of the Independents and the Green. See 2a and 2b.
The real problem that I have with either 2a or 2b is that Tony Abbott as the leader of Liberal Party in the House of Representatives would become the next Prime Minister. Tony Abbott to me seems as directionless a leader as Julia Gillard, whereas at least you could say of Kevin Rudd was that his government did have a series of plans even if they might have been beaten down. The other problem is that an Abbott government would have either Joe Hockey or Julia Bishop as Treasurer. Hockey has the personality to be the PM and given that the role is of minister without portfolio, he can't exactly damage it but having said that his ability to hold numbers is lacking. Bishop on the other hand as Shadow Treasurer has outright lied to the electorate and when pushed about the numbers not actually adding downwards, referred the press to Treasury estimates.
The Liberal Party's brightest and most talented politician for a reason completely unknown to me is hidden away in the minor portfolio as the Shadow Minister for Communications and Broadband. Malcolm Turnbull is easily without doubt the member with the greatest degree of business acumen, having been the Secretary for Australian Consolidated Press, a partner of Goldman Sachs and the CEO of Ozemail. Clearly you'd want such a person either as the Treasurer or the Prime Minister or even both (there is precedent in Westminster Parliaments) and the fact that he's not there is I think nothing short of rank stupidity on the part of the Liberal Party.
Rob Oakeshott told ABC Radio National's RN Breakfast show this morning that if the Government falls over he would approach Turnbull to lead and be the next PM. Clearly Rob Oakeshott and possibly the other Independents are the only sane people in the building.
If Gillard is returned as Prime Minister, then Rudd will probably find himself in the political wilderness. I don't think he'd be ever given another cabinet role while Gillard is in the top job. Likewise if Rudd regains the job as Prime Minister then I don't think we'd see Gillard back in his cabinet either. I think that because Wayne Swan has been so intemperate with his outburst, that would mean that he'd also more than likely lose his job as Treasurer, which is sad because Swan is the closest thing that the Federal Labor has to a sane person.
Assuming that a General Election is called as the result of all of this, then almost certainly we'll see a Liberal landslide. The Labor Party as it currently exists is pretty well much unelectable. It would be the last thing that several Labor backbenchers would want because the actions of their leadership would cost them their jobs despite the quality of the job they'd done.
If that happens, then the fallout from this might be felt for some time. Individual arrogance is probably what caused Chifley to lose his job and ultimately saw the Labor Party walk around in the political wilderness for the next 23 years. I fear that if the events of the past week have a similar outcome, then that's bad for democracy generally.