Winning a close election for a new party leader: Australian Labor


In 2010, with a new party leader and facing a close national election, the Australian Labor Party turned to GQR—as it had in its successful New South Wales state elections in 2007. With only weeks until the election, the ALP needed to define its new leader, Julia Gillard, for the national audience, lay out her agenda for Australia’s future in a compelling way, and define her opponent Tony Abbott quickly and convincingly.

SITUATION

Kevin Rudd led the Australian Labor Party to a historic victory over John Howard in 2007. But just three years later, the ALP and Rudd were struggling, facing criticism from the left and right that it had failed to fulfill its promises. Julia Gillard took the helm of the party and called for snap elections, seeking to turn the tide back in Labor’s favor.

SOLUTION

Despite a strong campaign by the Liberals/National Coalition, Gillard led ALP to a narrow victory in August 2010. She successfully defined herself as a leader, overcame qualms about the ALP’s leadership change, and disqualified Tony Abbott as someone who would bring back former-PM Howard’s much-reviled, anti-labor Work Choices policies. The election victory gave Labor a new lease on life and Australia its first woman elected as Prime Minister.

METHODOLOGY

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner worked with local researchers to provide qualitative research, face-to-face polling, and strategic advice to the ALP.