I am troubled reading the Crikey take on the Rudd event; coverage by blokes who write it off as a bit of a lads thing and feel the need to speak on behalf of all of us to brush it aside. Apparently the only hypocrites are those that are concerned at the implications of this. Arrghhh, just a bitofalarf ya wowsers.

Disclosure: I am neither Christian, ALP, Coalition, Greens, right, left, femo-nazi, or doormat.

But I have spent years giving regular briefings to UN missions, the country representatives and the bureaucrats in New York, Geneva and other UN duty stations. I have attended numerous multilateral meetings all over the world. I have colleagues in a number of organisations and missions who have been doing the same thing, some for many, many years.

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None of us, male or female, have ever found ourselves accidentally blind drunk in a strip club. It is actually not a common thing in that world to take a brief to the UN and find yourself in a strip joint.

There are two issues that come to my mind.

Firstly on security. I give briefings in missions where mobile phones can’t be taken into the inner offices now and must be locked up at reception in special electronic proof lockers before you pass through doubled bomb proof doors to talk to staff or ambassadors.

That is because mobile phones, even when off, can download from computers or be used as listening devices as anyone in those missions will explain.

When you are representing your country in New York, you really are representing your country. There are plenty of cameras from 42nd to 52nd and from 1st to 3rd in Manhattan. Following certainly happens, people are also checked up on and when and if indiscretions happen, they are noted.

So being drunk in a strip club is a bizarre exposure for a former foreign affairs spokesperson and senior diplomat who for years has had his eye on the top job.

Secondly, I don’t think this is about quickly writing off a laughable mistake. I think this is about the sort of values a person has. It is about what Rudd thinks about women.

If he walked past the flashing signs, the girls on the make who get their money from tips on the floor, and sat there for 40 minutes drinking and watching strippers, that says something about what he thinks about women.

And that bothers me.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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