Debra J. Saunders

Gillard's path to power is now under fire. Last week, allegations leaked about the June 23 meeting between Gillard, Rudd and Labor solon John Faulkner that led to Rudd's ouster. According to an unnamed source -- whom Rudd denies is he -- Rudd had told Gillard that he would step aside if he was flagging in the polls before a then-planned October election. He thought they had a deal. Then Gillard reneged.

La Gillard will not confirm or deny. Many voters may well regard Gillard's gambit as the stuff of hardball politics. Others, especially voters from Rudd's Queensland, aren't happy that she deposed the bloke who won the vote.

The surfing/boxing/biking conservative opposition leader Tony Abbott paints the episode as a stain on Gillard's character. Abbott, a newbie to party leadership himself after a more open leadership fight, asked Saturday, how can we "trust Julia Gillard when even Kevin Rudd couldn't?"

Abbott also is hitting Gillard on the school construction boondoggle and Labor's big spending ways. "Failure to keep everyday spending under control is causing harm to everyday Australian families," he told The Australian.

Her slogan, delivered in her very measured way, is "moving forward." With his usual bluster, Abbott says, "The best way for Australia to move forward is for Labor to move out."

Whatever happens, this race will be quick and dirty.

Debra J. Saunders

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