What are we to make of these comments from Simon Crean  that appeared on the wire yesterday:

Simon Crean, former leader and a long-time ally of Ms Gillard, today said Labor had in the past placed too much emphasis on who led the party.

“I think it is very interesting, if people look from time to time at the polls, the way in which people, it would seem, have been able to relate already to the combination of Julia and Kevin,” Mr Crean told ABC Radio.

“I think interestingly enough this is the first time people have been asked to make a decision on a team … quite frankly I think that’s probably a healthy development.”

Is it just Crean – or do others feel this way? “I’ll be leading this show and when it comes to the outcomes that I want, I intend to get them,” Kevin Rudd told the 7:30 Report last night. He also said that “the great thing about the Australian people is they spot a fraud at 50 paces … You try to be something that you’re not and they’ll pick it up straight away.”

The frontbench will Kevin Rudd’s first great test. Politics is all about compromise. Indeed, an ability to manage and broker compromise is a skill needed by all political leaders. But they’re also there to lead. Rudd needs to demonstrate he can do this.

Kim Beazley’s leadership really started to unravel when he made his absurd declaration he wouldn’t reshuffle his team of Latham leftovers. He looked too weak to move.

Kevin Rudd is new. He needs to demonstrate his strength. He needs to demonstrate his credibility.

The polls show Labor is competitive. Rudd needs to reinforce this – while putting his stamp on the party.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey