June 26 - Kevin Rudd returns as Australian Prime Minister after toppling Gillard. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Kevin Rudd returned as Australian prime minister on Wednesday, executing a stunning party room coup on Julia Gillard almost three years to the day after being ousted by his former deputy and less than three months out from a general election. The reinstatement of Rudd as leader was a last-ditch effort to shore up support by the governing Labor Party, which opinion polls show faces a catastrophic defeat at a poll scheduled for Sept 14. The Mandarin-speaking former diplomat draws strong popular support but has divided and destabilized his party after launching two failed leadership bids in the past 18 months. The return of Rudd could now see Australia go to an election in August in an effort to cash in on his greater popularity with voters and an expected honeymoon period with the electorate. The leadership change followed a series of opinion polls showing Gillard's minority government could lose up to 35 seats, giving the conservative opposition a massive majority in the 150-member parliament. Rudd, who was prime minister from late 2007 until June 2010, gave no indication of whether he would call an early election, or test his support on the floor of Australia's hung parliament. "In 2007 the Australian people elected me to be their prime minister. That is a task that I resume today with humility, with honor and with an important sense of energy and purpose. In recent years politics has failed the Australian people. There's just been too much negativity all around, there's been an erosion of trust. Negative, destructive personal politics has done much to bring dishonor to our parliament but done nothing to address the urgent challenges facing our nation," Rudd told reporters. Senior ministers including Treasurer and Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan, Education Minister Peter Garrett, Trade Minister Craig Emerson and Climate Minister Greg Combet announced their ministerial resignations in the wake of the coup. Transport Minister Anthony Albanese was named Rudd's deputy.