DRINKERS at the Eureka Stockade Hotel were unimpressed by the goings-on in Canberra, judging by the volume of their political banter.
The well-patronised front bar had its eyes glued to a plasma screen TV yesterday afternoon, waiting to see whether Labor would return to Kevin Rudd as its leader.
When the challenge didn’t eventuate, and Julia Gillard was elected unopposed, they made their feelings known.
Some argued Gillard was a terrible leader, others said she hadn’t been given a fair go.
“They should just let her get on with the job,” said Maurice McLeod, who’s voted Labor all his life.
Other customers didn’t agree and weren’t holding back on the colourful language when describing the government’s record.
Mr McLeod passionately argued with another drinker about Gillard’s record.
“She’s doing a lot for the Australian people, apart from giving the pensioners a rise,” he said.
A leadership challenge was never going to happen, said Mr McLeod, because Mr Rudd knew he didn’t have the numbers.
He also believed a return to Rudd wasn’t the answer to Labor’s woes.
“No, he had his chance. He stuffed up. He made so many mistakes when he was Prime Minister.”
Over at the University of Ballarat, students also wanted Julia Gillard to get on with the job.
Nadisha Wijesundera, 19, who is doing a bachelor of biomedical science, said she was sick of the constant leadership talk and challenges.
“I just wish they would get on with trying to win the election and keeping Opposition Leader Tony Abbott out,” Ms Wijesundera said.
“I think Julia Gillard will emerge stronger from this spill.”
However, bachelor of sports management and business student Troy Logan, 19, said he didn’t believe yesterday’s spill had any importance.
“Whoever is going to win the spill is going to be voted out at the next election,” Mr Logan said.
Student Tom McKimmie, 20, said the spill just highlighted the instability within Labor.
“Personally, I am surprised that former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd opted out of the race,” Mr McKimmie said.
“(But) Labor should just choose someone and get behind that person to lead them to the election.”