After weeks of low-level but persistent speculation over Maxine McKew’s future, it’s now official. The former ABC host is joining Labor leader Kevin Rudd as a special adviser on strategy.

The news follows last week’s announcement that Bob Carr’s well-regarded former minder, Walt Secord, will be Rudd’s chief media adviser.

It’s all part of assembling a winning team – but candidates are the key players here.

Virtually everyone has recalled how McKew was approached to stand back in 2004. The Australian reports she has ruled out running as a Labor candidate at this year’s federal election. Will this stand?

Since December there has been quiet but persistent talk that McKew was being lined up for a seat.

She’s been given a wide brief – “drawing on the expertise of a wide cross-section of business, academic and non-government organisations to secure their input into Labor’s policies and ideas for the year ahead,” according to Rudd’s release.

In other words, she’s been placed on her political Ps, and will be in the perfect position to graduate to a different role – if one becomes available. After all, a lot happens in election years.

Peter Fray

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