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Labor leadership spill 11:19am: Official: Julia Gillard convincingly retains control of the circus 71-31

It is now official. Julia Gillard has won the Labor leadership ballot by a margin of 71 to 31. It’s a convincing victory and should be enough to shut down the Kevin Rudd party-damaging machine for a while.

This gives Julia the comfort of knowing that she has the support of the majority of her party, and the ability to quash concerns among the independents that she might not be able to have a stable government.

The questions now though are twofold:

1. What will Kevin Rudd do. He promised to move to the backbench quietly, but will he? That’s not exciting or important enough for his liking…I expect to either see him bide his time on the expectation that he will challenge again next year, or he will go to the crossbenches and hold some sort of influence with one of the deciding votes of the parliament.

2. What will happen to the Kevin Rudd supporters, especially the ones who walked in to the caucus room with him? If Kevin stays in Labor, then I expect his supporters to be shuffled out of important positions. A cabinet reshuffle might not be a bad idea anyway.

An exciting day, that’s for sure, but did it achieve anything useful? Probably not.