Well, whaddya know! “The office of Kevin Rudd was warned more than two weeks ago that plans for a stage-managed pre-dawn service at Long Tan, Vietnam, in which the Labor leader was slated to take part, risked ‘seriously offending’ veterans and others,” the Sydney Morning Herald reports today:

A series of emails obtained by the Herald also reveal Mr Rudd had booked flights and was confirmed to attend the event, which was scrapped only four days ago when it became public.

Last night Mr Rudd admitted his office had received the email which warned about the possibility of causing offence, but said it had not been brought to his attention. “My staff have informed me that in their search of the documentary record on Easter Sunday, this email was overlooked. I have now counselled my staff on this matter,” he said…

Seven’s Sunrise program planned to hold a dawn service of its very own starring Kruddy and Kochie at Long Tan on Anzac Day. But because the real dawn service was scheduled for 5.15am Vietnamese time, the station was planning a separate service an hour earlier to coincide with the program’s peak period for ratings, Australian time.

Not a good look, but it’s dawned on Rudd that the Sgt Schultz defence, the old “I know nuffink” – used so much to such scorn from the ALP in the AWB inquiry – is handy for him, too.

Now, Canberra insiders are wondering when the Gallery are going to see daylight themselves over the Labor leader.

A change of government is a great story, but surely close proximity to Rudd over the years has taught them a thing or two.

“The Canberra Press Gallery has a good idea of what a maniacal, dictatorial bully he really is,” an informed source tells Crikey. “The Public Service is already quaking in its boots at the thought of him becoming PM.”

“Who cares, you say, as long as he gets the job done? Only it is important to understand the motivation and character of our politicians before we entrust them to the leadership of our country – just look at Mark Latham. This is especially so when they espouse Christian virtues, act like goody twoshoes and have glass jaws.”

“Howard is a clever manipulator, which much of the electorate took a long time to realise. This might not have been the case had the media been willing to be more critical and not just a tool for powerful politicians to use. When will the media be willing to break this conspiracy of silence for the greater good?”

Does the Sunrise scandal signal a false dawn for Labor? Will Australian politics have a “Never glad confident morning again” moment of its own before the next election?

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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