Kevin Rudd has drawn “a line in the sand” over offensive behaviour by union officials. If he’s consistent, he should be sacking the standover merchants in his media office.

“The real goons in public life are mostly in parliamentary politics, whatever their ideological allegiance, and not on the shop floor,” Alan Ramsey wrote in The Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday.

Too right!

Late last week, when the WA CFMEU video surfaced, the Opposition Leader talked about “implied threats”. Rudd requested that Labor’s executive expel union official Joe McDonald from the party for abusing an employer on a construction site.

“I’m concerned about that, I’m concerned about the impact that has in any workplace,” he said.

“That’s why I’ve elected to draw a line in the sand both on this behaviour and any other parallel behaviour.”

In which case, he must be concerned about the behaviour of his media office.

“We’ll have 100 people ready to roll tomorrow morning to trash you and your paper,” his pressie, Lachlan Harris, famously told a press gallery veteran, Kerry-Anne Walsh, last year, when she attempted to publish a version of the events surrounding the death of Rudd’s father that challenged the Opposition Leader’s recollections. The Sun-Herald colleague who worked with her on the story, Eamonn Duff, complained of “ranting abuse”.

They look like implied threats. So will Rudd sack his staffer?

It’s unlikely. Being a clever pollie, Rudd has deployed the cop-out, one-rule-for-them, one-rule-for-us lines.

“There is always going to be some argy-bargy between our politicians and the media,” he told Radio National earlier this year.

“It’s a robust game, it’s a robust business and sometimes words are said. I accept that, but that’s just part and parcel of political life.”

Rudd’s “zero tolerance” apparently applies everywhere except in his own office.

Get more Crikey, for less

It’s more than a newsletter. It’s where readers expect more – fearless journalism from a truly independent perspective. We don’t pander to anyone’s party biases. We question everything, explore the uncomfortable and dig deeper.

Join us this week for 50% off a year of Crikey.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
50% off