On Tuesday everybody reported an apparent split between Labor leader Kevin Rudd and his new environment spokesman, Peter Garrett.

Rudd vowed to abolish Labor’s ban on new uranium mines at next year’s national conference, standing alongside Garrett at an environment policy photo-op. Garrett, though, said he would use the party’s internal forums to oppose any policy change.

That was a hiccough – but Rudd better watch out that he doesn’t paint himself into a green corner over the use of his favourite cliché.

On the US alliance, foreign policy and Iraq, Rudd has said “John Howard actually needs to take a cold shower.”

On the Labor Party’s leadership woes under Latham, Rudd said everyone commenting in the newspapers about his leadership aspirations “should take a long cold shower”.

When questioned on whether he would make a move for the Labor Party leadership, Rudd said it was time “everyone took a very long cold shower and shut up.”

On claims that the Australian troops sent to Dili could not restore order, Rudd suggested “everyone needs to take a cold shower…”

On the Australia’s diplomacy in the South Pacific Rudd said Alexander Downer “needs to take a long cold shower”.

Rudd reacted to his first Newspoll as leader by telling everyone to – yes, you’ve guessed it – “have a cold shower” and you won’t believe what he said to Fran Kelly yesterday morning. “Everyone needs to go and take a long cold shower”.

Rudd loves his clichés – but if John Howard has gone a bridge too far and we have reached a fork in the road over environment policy, is the opposition leader helping his cause?

All these cold showers are carbon neutral – but are they sound water policy at the beginning of a hot, dry summer as bushfires already rage?

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey