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Delusion, dysfunction and the true history of Kevin Rudd

The talking points have been cast aside. The real politics, red in tooth and claw, the savage sort reserved for colleagues rather than partisan opponents, are being undertaken in public, rather than behind closed doors. The time for subtlety, euphemism and obfuscation are over.

But not, it seems, the time for delusion.

We’re now getting the true history of Kevin Rudd from his erstwhile colleagues, people so lavish in their praise of him and so earnest in their support while he was prime minister, who now feel released from whatever bonds of collegiality they may have felt — bonds that seem to have snapped around Simon Crean some time ago. Even Julia Gillard, in what will doubtless be a decision she will eventually rue, decided to open up about her time as his deputy, today discussing the paralysis that gripped his government and her own valiant efforts to remedy things.

We look forward to future revelations about her own time as Prime Minister from former colleagues following her example.

Of course, Wayne Swan has topped everyone and secured whatever awards exist for political spray of the year with an extraordinary, vitriol-laden outburst against his colleague, basically suggesting he shouldn’t be in the party and should never have been in it. Turns out Swan can communicate effectively when he feels like it.

The outpouring of contumely towards Rudd is so great you wonder how on earth anyone in Labor ever tolerated his presence for a moment, let alone allowed him to become leader. And what does it say about Julia Gillard’s judgment that this “dysfunctional”, “demeaning”, “undermining” man has been allowed to hold a senior cabinet position for so long?

Most remarkable, though, was Swan’s claim that “colleagues are sick of Kevin Rudd driving the vote down by sabotaging policy announcements and undermining our substantial economic successes”.

It’s an odd claim to make, that Rudd has been driving the government’s vote down. The key issue that drove the government’s vote down was Gillard’s decision to embrace a carbon price early last year. What’s kept it down has been a succession of misjudgments by the Prime Minister that cancelled out any momentum she ever gained. It wasn’t Rudd who bungled a reshuffle, or performed poorly at the national conference, or who alienated Andrew Wilkie. Rudd didn’t elevate asylum seekers as a totemic issue and then fail to deliver. It wasn’t Rudd who failed to nail Tony Abbott, the biggest policy flake to lead a major party since Alexander Downer, over economic management.

Labor’s problem isn’t Rudd. It’s Gillard and, when it comes to selling the government’s excellent economic record, Swan and Penny Wong. Those problems will remain beyond Monday if Gillard wins. Her media conference this morning — which began in tedium and only livened up when a News Limited journalist was appallingly disrespectful to her — was decidedly short on how she was going to turn around the government’s fortunes.

And it’s a funny parallel but just as with Abbott, the government appears obsessed with Rudd and can’t stop talking about him, but can’t lay a glove on him. Tony Burke declared Rudd’s campaigning for the leadership was “the worst-kept secret in Canberra” (gee minister, I can think of some other things that fit that particular bill). But Swan evinced no evidence of Rudd sabotaging policy announcements or undermining economic success.

Indeed, the search for a “smoking gun” of Rudd’s disloyalty appears to have consumed the government for days. Andrew Wilkie’s comments were seized on by Crean, before Wilkie explained them away. A Rudd ally is said to have spoken to the clubs and pubs about pokies reform and the leadership. And in a moment of high comedy last night, Michael Danby was wheeled on by the ABC to declare that he knew Rudd had backgrounded several unnamed journalists about his ambitions. “Say it isn’t so, Kevin,” Danby pleaded earnestly, like the mythical baseball fan who demanded as much of Shoeless Joe Jackson.

Meantime, Swan has issued a statement saying he wouldn’t be heading to the G20 finance ministers’ meeting in Mexico, a key one following the Greek bailout that will address the role of the IMF in the eurozone crisis. And, of course, Rudd himself has walked out halfway through a series of important international meetings.

For all Abbott’s many and large flaws, he’s dead right when he says the government is dysfunctional and falling to pieces.

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  • 1
    Ugliness
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    …whatever awards exist for political spray of the year…”

    Surely that would be “The Latham”?

  • 2
    John64
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Labor’s problem isn’t Rudd. It’s Gillard”

    No, no, no, no! It’s Tony Abbott! Didn’t you get today’s memo?

    … or yesterday’s memo?

    … or the day before that’s memo?

    … or in fact any memo the Labor party have issued? All their problems are caused by Tony Abbott. In fact this whole leadership spill is because of Tony Abbott!

    Tony Abbott. Tony Abbott. Tony Abbott.

  • 3
    mikeb
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Let’s not kid ouselves. K Rudd manufactured a public image for himself and was only tolerated in the ALP because he was the one person who could deliver Government. It was no secret amongst insiders that he was almost universally loathed by staff and colleagues and opponents and it was only a matter of time before things exploded. Yes Gillard has been a disappontment and yes she had lacked a vision - or at least she might have had a vision but lacked the b*lls to follow it through. Quite frankly, I’d rather the ALP push through and at least try to retain some dignity in defeat by ignoring Rudd’s ego-driven bid for office, and then try to make a difference in their final months. Whether another manufactured image in Abbott can be a success in the job will remain to be seen. I’m fearful however that Abbott and Hockey et al are falling into the same trap as the ALP in being willing to do anything to gain power.

  • 4
    Jimmy
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    The assertionin the article that Gillard’s mistakes are the issue not Rudd’s behaviour gloss over the fact that, the reshuffle would not have been necessary had Rudd not being agitating, the ALP could well have won enough seats to govern in their own right had Rudd not been leaking (removing the necessity for the Wilkie deal and the Carbon tax backflip), the largely irrelevant performance at the conference would not have been exaggerated under the “leader under pressure” prism and the policy achievements might of been able to get some sort of media coverage had they not always been spoiled by some leak or another.

    Rudd’s behavior since being demoted have been appalling and the fact he has enough ego to still run when he has so few numbers and blame the “faceless men” for his resignation when he is the one who has been unwilling to put his name to his behind the scenes actions, demonstrates why Gillard is the leader.

  • 5
    GeeWizz
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Last Newspoll before the Faceless men rolled Kevin Rudd:

    Labor TPP: 52%

    Labor Primary Vote: 42%

    Gillards latest polling:

    Labor TPP: 45%

    Labor Primary Vote: 30%

    Labors faceless men know how to pick em

  • 6
    shepherdmarilyn
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Kevin Rudd is not like the media and some of his worthless colleagues go on about. Those who have never met the man should not listen to their crap.

    I think the stand up comedy line comes from Gillard’s bleat “he didn’t tell me”.

    They are narky with Rudd because he has the brains they lack.

  • 7
    ALISON APLIN
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    I beg to differ with you Bernard Keane. I am a strong supporter of Julia Gillard and am and have been disgusted with the vitriol that she has had to endure from people who disagree with her. The outburst that has been directed towards Kevin Rudd has given him a taste of what Ms Gillard has received by the media and the opposition. The low level that too many Australians have dropped surely is an indictment on the whole of Australian society. Pick yourselves up and show a bit of respect!
    Kevin Rudd may not have been the sole perpetrator. He is such a manipulator I feel sure that he has had others, like Kim Carr running around doing as he bids so that he can say that he didn’t do any of the things of which he has been accused.
    The media have to mellow their attitude. They have become worse than the Opposition in their manner towards the government. Whatever you/they feel, remember that you are criticising the head of our government and she deserves better.

  • 8
    Jimmy
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Geewizz - And how much influence has Rudds 18 month long dummy spit had on those negative numbers?

  • 9
    SBH
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    It wasn’t Rudd who failed to nail Tony Abbott, the biggest policy flake to lead a major party since Alexander Downer, over economic management.”

    No, that honour goes the the Australian Media who appear blind to any idiocy coming from the opposition.

  • 10
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    @ Jimmy, Peter Ormonde and the 100s of other lefties here.

    Here is your chance, apply now

    nowhiring.com.au/424936+job+Prime+Minister+of+Australia+ACT.aspx?tw_p=twt

  • 11
    Jimmy
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    You know Suzanne I have asked this quetsion repeatedly but you and you band of fools never give me an ansswer, in what way are Tony Abbott’s policies better for the economy than the ALP’s?

    Instead of going on with your inane blather why not tackle something a bit more meaty?

  • 12
    botswana bob
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Swan has clearly revealed why he is a one-man skill shortage. Did he actually graduate from high school, and if he did is it because classmate Kevin did his homework for him???

  • 13
    geomac
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    JIMMY
    You have saved me the trouble of saying much the same thing . Rudd it is obvious leaked to Oakes and created havoc for two weeks of the election campaign . Even the fact he wouldn,t face a party spill says it all . Rather than accept his rejection he played the martyr then and now . For a parson claiming a wish to end the soap opera he has been the producer , director and co star in that soap . The Orson Welles of soapies .

  • 14
    geomac
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    For a parson : person

  • 15
    Sabre Bleu
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Concise. A good Keane man.

  • 16
    Microseris
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    The current leadership options in the two majors (with the possible exception of Turnbull) must be close to an all time low point for Australian politics.

  • 17
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    @ Jimmy

    Sorry, missed your question.

    Abbotts policy of not having a carbon tax would mean that Australia would not have the MOST EXPENSIVE carbon tax in the world, for NO impact on global temperatures.

    We are pricing outselves out of trade, jobs, GDP etc.

    How is that for starters, I dont have time to list anymore

  • 18
    kennethrobinson2
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    I think this has made politics interesting, it just shows what a horrible mob they ALL are

  • 19
    GeeWizz
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Geewizz - And how much influence has Rudds 18 month long dummy spit had on those negative numbers?”

    It’s all wuddies and the blo0dy wedia’s fault!

    Wittle Julia’s not to bwames for her bad polling, what wif the hand over de heart committment to no carwbon twax. Poor widdle Julia

  • 20
    Mike Flanagan
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Bernard ;
    In your assessment of Rudd you seem to forget that at anytime he has been successful Wayne Swan has been at his side. Rudd claims that he should be credited for the GFC reaction by our government. He does have some claim due to him but it was Swan and the boffins at treasury that brought the fine details to the table. As Parkinson said in a recent speech it had been a well developed position paper by treasury ‘to go hard, to go consumer and to go early’
    Rudd’s leadership accomplishment are really only identified in his ability to be a Beattie style media tart and translate that as a success at the ballot box.
    As a FM he could have excelled but as a PM he couldn’t deliver, nor maintain a cohesive cabinet.
    PM Gillard has offered substance of leadership, a cohesian in policy and the fortitude to attend the challenges that are engulfing western democracies throughout the world. And this in the face of a Murdoch driven hostile press gallery.
    The alternative of Abbott, Hockey and Robb are too horrific to contemplate

  • 21
    GeeWizz
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Sorry that was my best impression of a Labor hack p1ssing and moaning about Dillard being an atrocious failure and blaming it on everyone else

  • 22
    Jimmy
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Geewizz - Raising the level of discussion once again!!

    SB - Missed my question?!!! I have only asked about 2 dozen times over the past 2 weeks but now that you have responded let’s have a look at what you have said.

    Abbott plans to scrap tha carbon tax while keeping the pension & family tax benfit increases and the personal income tax cuts that go along with it, he also plans to inefficiently hand out billions of dollars to big business for his direct action policy how does cutting govt revenue while dramatically increasing govt expenditure add up to good economics?

    And if he wants to reduce the tax burden on companies why increase company tax to pay for paid parental leave for the rich? Or why remove small business tax concessions to remove the MRRT?

  • 23
    mikeb
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    @Suzanne Blake
    You might not have realised but the carbon tax hasn’t commenced yet - but despite this it somehow manages to have impacted on “trade, jobs, GDP etc”. An easy mistake to make seeing that most of the uneducated rely on what they are told by the news ltd media, Bolt, Jones and Gina Inc.

  • 24
    zut alors
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Rudd is the consummate politician ie: ego driven, ruthless, cunning - also a high achiever, smart, visionary and can turn on the charm.

    Gillard and her now lippy front bench colleagues were complicit in riding Rudd’s coat tails when, reliant on their own talents, they were unable to swing an election win in 2007 without him. Don’t tell me they thought he was an angel back then, don’t even suggest they had no indication he could be difficult. So eager were they to sit to the right of Speaker’s chair that they made their collective pact to support warts ‘n all Rudd - until they decided they could do ‘better’.

    Let them wear whatever damage Rudd now wreaks on them. If it’s the end of the Labor party then perhaps that isn’t such a bad thing - in the last couple years it hasn’t resembled the true ALP anyway.

  • 25
    Sabre Bleu
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Picked by the Faceless Men, Gillard represents the Ugly Face of Labour.

  • 26
    GeeWizz
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Picked by the Faceless Men, Gillard represents the Ugly Face of Labour.”

    She’s the Pinnochio of Australian Politics.

    Described as wooden by her collegues, a puppet by her opponents, a compulsive non-truth-teller(like that one crikey filter?) and has the nose to prove it. Built by the factions… I guess they’d be Geppetto in the story.

    I bet when she grows up she wants to be a REALLL Prime Minister as well.

  • 27
    geomac
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    ZUT ALORS
    I thought Labor went the way of the libs somewhat when they denied Crean the chance to go to an election . Whatever the media may say Rudd himself has been as active as the likes of Peacock , Howard , Fraser or Keating in doing what they can to attain power . I can accept those machinations as part of the game . I cannot accept that Rudd has acted against his party , its policies and its supporters to create mayhem for his own advancement . Crean , Hawke and Turnbull didn,t to name just a few didn,t do a dummy spit . Even deadly enemies such as Howard and Peacock refrained from public chaos during their long years of rivalry .

  • 28
    Jimmy
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Geomac - ” can accept those machinations as part of the game . I cannot accept that Rudd has acted against his party , its policies and its supporters to create mayhem for his own advancement .”And then for him to stand up and say HE is the victim, that is just the cherry on top!

  • 29
    GeeWizz
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    I cannot accept that Rudd has acted against his party , its policies and its supporters to create mayhem for his own advancement . Crean , Hawke and Turnbull didn,t to name just a few didn,t do a dummy spit . Even deadly enemies such as Howard and Peacock refrained from public chaos during their long years of rivalry .”

    Yeah but none of these people were the most popular prime minister in the history of Australia and knifed in the back in their prime.

    Gillards a joke, if the Labor stick with her then she’s gonna get done slowly by Rudd.

    BTW Petseys, hows that non-challenge you were telling us about coming along?

  • 30
    Socratease
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    @Zut Alors: Rudd is the consummate politician ie: ego driven, ruthless, cunning - also a high achiever, smart, visionary and can turn on the charm.

    I agree with that, but I’d add that ordinary people like him. Given time and genuine authority, Gillard could be most of those things — except the bit about being liked.

    @jimmy: And how much influence has Rudds 18 month long dummy spit had on those negative numbers?

    None at all. Those polled have now seen both Rudd and Gillard in office and the majority of them still prefer Rudd, and that hasn’t changed since the day after he was dumped.

  • 31
    Sarah
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    This sorry affair is not so much a soap opera as a Jacobean revenge tragedy. When it is all over we will see many Labor reputations, like bloodied corpses, littering the floor, to salve Rudd’s wounded pride. He is using his many talents to damage the Labor Party that he professes to care so much about.

  • 32
    Jimmy
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Socratease - Rubbish Rudd has been working behind the scenes to sabotage the govt, which means the public haven’t seen him being evil and have seen the damage it has done to Gillard.

    Geewizz - Was Rudd the most popular PM when they got rid of him? No, so how was he “in his prime?”

    And the “non-challenge” statement obviously didn’t allow for Rudd to be so ego driven that he thinks he will win despite the fact that he is going to be beaten at least 2 to 1 if not considerably more.

  • 33
    Kevin Herbert
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Rudd will NEVER BE PM again…EOS

  • 34
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    @ Geewizz

    Ly ing Gillard is radioactive today and will be in 100 years. She is unelectable.

    Too many li es to campaign against, stone faced li ar.

    Any halfwit with no policies could beat her and Labor know it and fear it.

  • 35
    Jimmy
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    SB - Why is it you prefer to slag off with your mate troothie than answer questions of policy?

  • 36
    michael r james
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    @MIKE FLANAGAN at 3:38 pm

    And this in the face of a Murdoch driven hostile press gallery.”
    …………………………
    I think you can say a media 100% hostile to JG.
    Grattan outdoes Shanahan these days. Most other Fairfax reporters too. And of course BK. Her weaknesses are agreed but it has turned into a public stoning. To the point that I am wondering what she has done to the Press Gallery for them to so dislike her. I wish BK would spill the beans because nothing he writes recently (or today) justifies the negativity. Unless he really believes the Rudd-as-angel line, which seems improbable (ie. that someone like BK could believe it).

    I found her presser this morning to be one of her best. She is very good when speaking from the heart with passion, but terrible when reading from a script (usually over-prepared with talking points & spin & tone that curls the toes/fingernails on chalkboard). I only hope she keeps up with the aggressive or assertive approach with the journos. The office of PM needs more respect and her usual approach of being all smiley/touchy-feely is counterproductive.

    And BK needs to recover his perspective. First he could remember at least two times when the Costello-Howard seething hatred almost derailed the party, when it seemed like Costello would finally act, but of course he wimped out. (One of those times, at the time of APEC, the party almost brought a spill on itself but also wimped out, probably to their regret today.) Second, he could remember that this is precisely in the middle of a normal term so the mid-term blues is the norm (anyone wishing to argue with this please present your evidence). And third, one does not have to be popular to win elections. Howard himself is an example but the biggest contemporary case would be Maggie Thatcher. I was in the UK and am amazed that outsiders believed and presumably still do, that she was “loved”. Not true. Not only was she never liked personally (of course she had a loyal fanatic core amongst conservatives) but she never won 50% of the vote, ever. This is why some Brits don’t like la Streep’s characterization because it is too sympathetic and unrealistic; Thatcher was viscerally detested by a lot of people, including a lot who voted for her party. (An interesting question is, if it was a presidential system, how many votes would she have got?)
    What Gillard or any leader needs is respect and so she needs more of what she delivered today.

    For a bit more perspective Crikey readers might like to read this (from non-journalist Norman Abjorensen:

    ((inside.org.au/at-last-the-right-speech/))
    At last, the right speech
    Julia Gillard has finally explained the events of mid-2010,
    writes Norman Abjorensen, 23 February 2012
    .
    Rudd’s continuing approval rating with the public exemplifies the disconnect between the political arena and the electorate outside it: the public sees the smiling, articulate politician, cruelly cut down by a combination of faceless men and Lady Macbeth, whereas those on the inside know only too well the self-serving deviousness and organisational dysfunctionality that characterised Rudd’s period in office.
    That Gillard had never explained those fast moving events of mid-2010, and specifically her role in them, has cast her in the role of assassin, yet at her media conference in Adelaide today she laid out the process, and more importantly the reasons behind the leadership change. It was plausible, compelling and reasonable.

  • 37
    Socratease
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Rubbish Rudd has been working behind the scenes to sabotage the govt, which means the public haven’t seen him being evil and have seen the damage it has done to Gillard.

    I credit the great unwashed with more sense.

    There have been plenty of articles in the media about Rudd describing him as every sort of bastard, and there have been two well-reported biographies of him one of which was way less than flattering, yet the people polled still prefer him to Gillard. There’s no getting away from that basic fact.

  • 38
    Socratease
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    @Jimmy: Rubbish Rudd has been working behind the scenes to sabotage the govt, which means the public haven’t seen him being evil and have seen the damage it has done to Gillard.

    I credit the great unwashed with more sense.

    There have been plenty of articles in the media about Rudd describing him as every sort of b-stard, and there have been two well-reported biographies of him one of which was way less than flattering, yet the people polled still prefer him to Gillard. There’s no getting away from that basic fact.

  • 39
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    @ Jimmy

    Its the darkest hours for the ALP since Whitlam was sacked, and all you can do is spin the discussion to something else.

    As I said before either you are working in the ALP or Hawker Brittain spin room or you should be. Bruce Hawker has around 12 spare desks in his office, send him your CV and I am sure you will be a shoe in.

  • 40
    Peter Ormonde
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    Might have slipped through to the keeper Troofie but actually, poppet ,this isn’t a challenge yet. Gillard is bringing it on - as she should and as she always would.

    Rudd is far happier skulking around in shadows and leaking gossip than he is running for a ballot in the caucus - a ballot he knows he could not win - not until he’d done yet more damage.

    So watch slowly Troofie … all Rudd has done is resign as Foreign Minister in a fit of pique. Gillard is pushing him and his timetable. She is forcing him to move when he is not ready and while the Government is not completely demolished.

    She is not going to sit back letting Rudd eat into the government like an ulcer any more. I think they were all hoping he’d see sense, see a doctor, see another option in his life. Sadly not.

    Say hi to all at Menzies House.

  • 41
    shepherdmarilyn
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    OK Alison, what has Gillard been doing well. Trying to flog babies to Malaysia, jailing babies as a security risk, trying to send them home to Afghanistan to die?

    Caving in to the miners and ripping off taxpayers of billions of mining wealth? Caving in to Clubs Australia and shafting Wilkie?

    Claiming she is the victim when she was in the front and centre when Beazley was dumped for Crean, then Crean for Latham, then Latham for Rudd then Rudd for herself?

    As Doug Cameron pointed out last night the agenda they are following is Rudd’s and Rudd’s alone.

    Taylor in the Herald knows that, she and David Uren wrote the book.

    But every “story” now being babbled about Rudd is just that, a story without a skerrick of evidence.

  • 42
    Jimmy
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    SB - Absolute rubbish, this isn’t even as bad as when Keating took on Hawke, Rudd will get pole axed on Monday, at best the vote will be 70 to 35 and he will be done.
    It is of so little consequence that I would prefer as always to discuss policy over politics.

    I find it strange that, a) you don’t have time to discuss policy but plenty to post your usual rubbish and b) you complain that someone is “spinning the discussion to something else” when you do it all the time, except you try to take from a substanital discussion of policy to something trivial and I am trying to do the reverse!

  • 43
    Socratease
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Michael R James one does not have to be popular to win elections. Howard himself is an example but the biggest contemporary case would be Maggie Thatcher. I was in the UK and am amazed that outsiders believed and presumably still do, that she was “loved”. Not true. Not only was she never liked personally (of course she had a loyal fanatic core amongst conservatives)….

    You make a good general point, but I wouldn’t compare Gillard to Thatcher. With Thatcher what you saw was most definitely what you got. She could stand her own in any interview and speak her own mind with authority without a spinmeister rolling an autocue for her. That can’t be said of Gillard. No sir.

  • 44
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    @ Jimmy

    SB - Absolute rubbish, this isn’t even as bad as when Keating took on Hawke, Rudd will get pole axed on Monday, at best the vote will be 70 to 35 and he will be done.”

    Yes the vote maybe as you say or not. Rudd will be telling MP’s that they can’t win with Gillard and he is right, and that whatever she does they are certain losers, with him they have a chance. Then he may say, I am a changed man ….. and if I dont get elected, I may have another go in May and / or pull the pin now and force a by election. That will scare the MP’s big time, so they may cross over.

    I am sure Rudd has plan B, C and D. One will be a UN role or with some other foreign entity. I am sure Kim Beasley have called Gillard after his meeting with him in Washington this morning and told her of the nuclear option. That is why Gillards 930am press conference was so late and she was on edge.

    Gillard is a dead weight around the ALP, today, tomorrow and forever. Her memorial will be 95% all the bad things and 5% on being first women PM.

  • 45
    Mike Flanagan
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Michael R Jame
    Bernard does have a set against PM Gillard. He has not, to my thinking, supported that conclusion, but it does seem to be his default position.
    His constant refrain is incompetence, but he forgets we have a minority government and conveniently ignores the inordinate challenges most nations have to face in days enviroment and the successes our government has chalked up under PM Gillard.
    Grattan last said or wrote something complimentary of a Labor government sometime back in seventies and I think she must have been writing under the influence at the time.
    The press gallery is dominated by the Murdoch minions and they have all read Ruperts dictum that Ms Gillard” must be removed”. Inevitably their influence permeates throughout the Gallery.
    I am not sure, over the next eighteen months, Rupert will succeed. His strategy in UK is in disarray and his strategy in the US GOP primaries looks like backfiring and ensuring Obama re-election. A careful review of the alternatives on offer here should shock the local population and shake them out of their anti Gillard lethargy.

  • 46
    cairns50
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    you are kidding bernard with this article, most of your artilcles are normally ok, but this one is just a load of tosh, the government is not dysfunctional, there are no riots in the streets, the economy is not in a mess, what is happening is that kevin rudd will not accept that he is no longer prime minister. hindsight is a great thing but he has only himself to blame, for it was him and his constant worrying about how his ratings were on a daily basis that led to the labor mps decision to replace him as leader with julia gillard

    the polling said that he would not have won the last election, julia gillard did at least hold on to power albeit with the support of the independants, thats a fact, otherwise we would have a government led by tony abbott,which would be bad for all australians

    julia gillard has governed very well under very difficult circumstances, ok shes made some mistakes, big deal , what person doesnt ? and for people to continually pin her to the cross regarding her changing her views about a tax on carbon, get real, are you seriously suggesting that this is the only time that a politician has ever had a change of views and therefore she has to branded a liar. john howard was a serial liar, and although he denied it, most likely a racist, tony abbott told kerry o’brien on the 7.30 report that he could not be trusted unless he put his views down in writing, yet he is not labelled in the media as a liar, yet julia gillard is

    kevin rudd by his refusal to accept the decision of his own party has aided and abbetted a relentless campaign that has been run by big business, the big miners, the right wing shock jocks, the murdoch press etc etc to do everything in there power to get rid of julia gillard since the last election

    she will beat the rudd on monday and then she is entitled to be allowed govern until the next election, when then the australian people can decide if they really do want tony abbott to be australias next pm. i think the answer will be no

    get off her back and give her a go, im sure in your physce that some of you male journos like attacking female politicians, especially if they are labor, i still remember years ago the vitriol and bile that peter costello gave to ros kelly over the so called white board affair

  • 47
    Scott
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    I thought Annabel Crabb’s most recent article in “The Drum” sums it up pretty well. One particular extract stands out to me.

    Believe whomever you choose; the only conclusion that can emerge from all this is that Labor is a party that will tell the truth only when it has exhausted any other option. Why is this a soap opera? Because everyone’s been acting for years”

    How true. Anyone who says they believe politicians of any stripe are honest or that the left wing are somehow more “pure” than the right, well, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

  • 48
    Peter Ormonde
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Marilyn,

    You take it all very personally this politics business. Too personally perhaps.

    Doogie Cameron might think the Government is following Kevin Rudd’s agenda… but to be honest the only one I can see doing that is Doogie himself. Useless and too late.

    Rudd has an agenda make no mistake and it is all - ALL - about Kevin Rudd and his place in history. And to do that he’s been willing to leak, smear and betray the government of which he is ostensibly a part.

    His chief political backer in caucus in all this has been Chris Bowen - one of your pin-up boys no doubt. He’s not at all happy with the way Gillard is “going soft” of asylum seekers. God knows what Rudd has promised him.

    The nervous amateur politicians looking to follow the polls - are not NOT going to be doing anything not acceptable to Troofies and Suzanne Blakes. That’s how they think you win elections - by standing for nothing and promising less. Don’t wait for Rudd to say or do anything remotely sensible or humane on refugees. No votes in it, he reckons and so do his spineless backers.

    Don’t let Rudd’s Tin-Tin appearance fool you. He’s a bureaucrat, an administrator and a very pedestrian politician … and he always leads from the rear. Always.

    There is an agenda - a Labor agenda … a stream of good, smart legislation pouring through the parliament. None of this is Kevin’s - if so what? Australia doesn’t work on one-man-bands, nor do we expect our PMs to spew out policies and programs like Kim Jong-Il. But that’s what Kevin was trying to do. Some people like Bernard Keane reckon he was the Government personified.

    Try and remember this is a team sport - more to it than goodies and baddies. More to it than Great Men and personality politics. This is not about policies and politics - this is about ambition - overweening ambition and revenge. Or is it that last week’s baddy is this week’s goody? Spots changing all over the place?

  • 49
    Jimmy
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    SB - The margin will be so large he could not possibly think of having another crack, especially as the independents would become more and more likely to tip them out the more goes he has. As I said this is no bigger than any other leadership change from either side.

    Now would you like to spend some of your time discussing policy rather than going over the same thing over and over, would you like to answer my question?

  • 50
    michael r james
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sock,
    She had the British press intimidated — like a fierce nanny with her handbag ready to clip them around the ears. She did not fare so well with others — remember the famous interview with a prominent Oz journo who was not so reverent and was persistent despite her non-answers? (Was that Charlton, I forget.) Like Howard, she fluked into the leadership not from any careful or crafty planning but by accident of time and circumstance.

    And you are right, thank goodness, that Gillard is nothing like Thatcher. The Iron lady was an inflexible bigotted little-Englander ideologue with the wrong ideology (Hayek! onya bike!). That is why little creeps like Howard worshipped her — those who would turn the clock back. The main thing that people could respect is that she was both consistent (though, in the way that a bigot is) and unbending; actually these turn out to be huge negatives in a changing world. Today what does Thatcher’s legacy look like? Does Cameron or any conservative really want to extoll Thatcherism? What ideals or vision of Britain did the Thatcher era usher in? It was a dead end, or worse, if you subscribe to the theory that Reaganism and Thatcherism led to the excesses of neocon economic rationalism that almost destroyed the world in the past few years.

    I could go on but I would be invoking Godwin’s Law…..

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