Key events in Australia's leadership war

Kevin Rudd won back the leadership of the Australian Labor Party in a ballot on Wednesday defeating Prime Minister Julia Gillard who ousted him three years ago.

Key events in their bitter rivalry:


June 23 -- Then deputy prime minister, Gillard challenges Rudd to a leadership ballot as his popularity plummets following a series of policy mis-steps including shelving an emissions trading scheme and skirmishes with the powerful mining industry over tax hikes.

June 24 -- Gillard goes on to win unopposed, with Rudd declining to contest the ballot. She quickly calls national elections.

August 21 -- The Labor party fails to win a majority, prompting Australia's first electoral deadlock in 70 years.

September 7 -- Minority lawmakers throw their support behind Gillard after lengthy negotiations, ensuring Labor's return to power with a fragile coalition. Gillard appoints Rudd as foreign minister.


March 8 -- Gillard's popularity drops to a record low amid plans for a pollution levy, despite pledging there would be no such tax under her government. Furious protests break out around the country.

August 31 -- High Court strikes down Gillard's refugee swap deal with Malaysia, seen as a solution to the inflammatory issue of boatpeople, forcing Labor to scrap offshore processing and release refugees.

November 8 -- Labor passes its controversial emissions reduction scheme, but fails to make any headway in the polls. Rudd consistently places ahead of Gillard as preferred leader.


February 22 -- Rudd resigns as foreign minister in Washington and says he is returning home to consider his future.

February 23 -- Gillard calls a leadership ballot and says both contenders must accept the outcome as final.

February 27 -- Gillard wins the ballot with a commanding 71 votes to 31 and vows to lead a unified front to the 2013 election. Rudd promises full support and says he holds no grudges.


January 30 -- Amid renewed talk about Gillard's leadership, she announces national elections for September 14.

February 15 -- Rudd dismisses mounting speculation he will again challenge Gillard, telling everyone to take "a long, cold shower".

March 12 -- An opinion poll shows Gillard would be crushed in a national election, but Labor would easily win if Rudd was leader.

March 21 -- Senior cabinet minister Simon Crean demands Gillard call a leadership vote and urges Rudd to stand. Gillard immediately calls a ballot but Rudd declines to challenge and she retains the leadership unopposed. Rudds vows not to challenge again.

June 26 -- After weeks of rising speculation Gillard announces a party leadership ballot cutting short party-room moves to depose her. Both Rudd and the prime minister commit to quit politics if they lose.

Rudd wins the ballot by 57 votes to 45.