What was Kevin Rudd thinking? Seriously. Why would anyone with an ostensibly insatiable desire for reclaiming the prime ministership let the precarious ambience of uncertainty develop to the extent that it did only to then decline an opportunity to challenge? Well, it turns out that Rudd was simply making the ‘optimal’ strategic choice given the circumstances he found himself in.
The leadership saga, for the most part, pertained to two closely related variables: firstly, whether Rudd would challenge Gillard by standing for the leadership in a caucus vote and, secondly, whether a majority of the 100 members eligible to vote in the Labor caucus would back Rudd in a ballot. The relationship between these is that, as was later confirmed, Rudd would only be comfortable challenging if he had a caucus majority and, additionally, the caucus members would only risk switching allegiances if they thought that Rudd would actually run for the leadership (due to the repercussions of supporting the loser in a ballot).
However, despite these two variables being inextricably linked, it’s important to note that other sources of influence further complicated the respective decision-making processes for both Rudd and caucus members.