So it was out with Julia Gillard and back in with Kevin Rudd.
I find it very difficult to summon up much interest in this, as both Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd have little to recommend them from a traditionalist point of view. Rudd is a "big Australia" man in the sense of wanting open borders (and he has also pushed for the creation of a regional superstate). Julia Gillard has also been running immigration at record levels and she identifies strongly as a feminist.
That last point may be the most interesting thing in all this. In a bid to boost her popularity Julia Gillard once again played the "gender card" warning women about voting for "men in blue ties" and setting up a "women for Gillard" support group.
It backfired. Her support amongst women remained stable but support amongst men fell by 8%. This suggests that Australian men may have reached the point where they're less willing to tolerate anti-male rhetoric from politicians.
It seems very likely at this stage that Tony Abbott will lead the Liberals to victory in the election later this year. But I also find it difficult to get excited about the prospect of this victory. The left likes to portray Abbott as being fiercely right-wing, but when you look at his policies it's difficult to find much evidence for this.
For instance, one of Julia Gillard's last acts was to support a bill that was intended to make it more difficult to rort the 457 visa scheme. The bill requires employers to show that they have tried to employ local workers (by placing job adverts) before they use 457 visas to bring in workers from overseas.
It's a very modest attempt to encourage employers to hire Australians before turning overseas, but Abbott's Liberals attacked it in the strongest terms as being racist.
For once I have to agree with the Labor Party. The Labor Party Immigration Minister, Brendan O'Connor, said:
I can assure you it offends every Australian when someone suggests that because you want to put locals first you're a racist.
The warning I would give now to my Australian readers is not to expect too much from an Abbott Liberal Government. It's highly likely that Abbott will win, but we are going to see more of what we've had over the past few decades rather than a change of course.