UPDATED: Julia Gillard has replaced Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister, following a surprise leadership challenge this morning.
Rudd withdrew from the 9am challenge at the last minute. Shortly afterwards, the Labor Party Whip announced: “A special meeting of the party was held this morning at which the positions of leader and deputy leader were declared vacant."
"The new leader of the party, elected unopposed, is Julia Gillard. The new deputy leader of the party, elected unopposed, is Wayne Swan."
The leadership challenge was announced late last night. Appearing before journalists in Canberra, Rudd said he had lost the support of factional leaders and it was "imperative these matters be resolved".
Shortly after the announcement, Canberra Senator Kate Lundy voiced her support for Gillard, posting on Twitter: "I will be voting for Julia Gillard in the l'ship ballot. She will be an inspiring PM!"
Lundy's post drew the attention of the mainstream media as well as members of the technology industry.
Some in the industry have speculated that a Labor reshuffle may see Lundy returning to the communications portfolio, replacing unpopular Communications Minister Stephen Conroy.
ABC Radio in Canberra this morning reported that Conroy was unaware of the leadership challenge prior to it being announced.
Conroy's Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy has not yet responded to iTnews' request for comment.
Labor Small Business Minister Craig Emerson voiced his support for Rudd on ABC TV this morning, while Federal Member for Bendigo Steve Gibbons tweeted: "I will be voting for Julia Gillard".
Gillard has contributed to the Government's plan of delivering some 788,000 computers to schools in her role as Minister for Education.