All that is old is new again in the world of Australian politics. The weather might be generally pleasant, but the way the nation plays politics is brutal.
The country was briefly thrown into turmoil Thursday when Premier Julia Gillard opened the leadership of the ruling Australian Labor Party -- and the prime ministership -- to a vote of the parliamentary party, the second in little over a year.
In the end, the man the prime minister ousted in 2010, Kevin Rudd, didn't put his hand up for the job despite all expectations. He said his decision was born of altruism: he had promised after his failed challenge in February 2012 that he wouldn't ever do so again.
"I take my word seriously," he said.
But deeply unpopular within the parliamentary party, Rudd clearly did not have the numbers to win a challenge.
The only person who nominated for the leadership was Gillard herself. Both she and her deputy, Treasurer Wayne Swan, were unanimously re-elected by their parliamentary colleagues to lead the party and the nation.
Whether the ballot ends the discontent that has been festering within the ALP since June 2010, when Gillard tossed Rudd out of office is doubtful, despite what she said after the vote.
"This whole business is completely at an end," she declared.
Whether the ballot pleases Australian voters who, poll after poll, have declared their displeasure with the prime minister and their support for Rudd, is also doubtful. The answer will only become definitively known on September 14, when Australians go to the polls to give their verdict on the Gillard government. The latest Neilson poll puts Labor's share of the primary vote at 31%, which would leave the ALP, and with it Australia's first female leader, spectacularly trounced.
But some things are certain: the Australian premier is feisty and determined, if not popular. And the ballot result was far less sensational than the events leading up to it.