Crikey’s mole deep in the bowels of DFAT is, he/she assures us, not the only serving officer celebrating last Saturday’s result, in particular the removal of Lord Downer of Baghdad and Kabul who it seems didn’t enjoy the universal approval of the top flight public servants in the elite department. We are reliably informed that once Regime Rudd is sworn in by the Viceroy it will signal the end of political appointments to ambassadorships with one caveat: only top flight, non baggage carrying ministers would be considered.
There are several slots to be filled in the coming months, not least of which is the one occupied by the current Viceroy whose term was extended by Howard earlier this year. The money is on Kim Beazley for that one which will leave Washington wide open and although Bob Carr has categorically denied he’s interested, that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t accept if PM Rudd offered it. The incumbent, ex top spy Denis Richardson, is held in high regard by Kevin07 and the mole says there will be no raised eyebrows if he comes back as head of PM&C.
Amanda Vanstone it seems has turned Rome into a sinecure and she has forgotten Canberra exists. So much so that since she lumbered into the post she hasn’t found it necessary to a file a political report, one of the main jobs of any ambassador. Mole says that could be for two reasons – either nothing is happening in Rome which Amanda feels would interest those at home or she’s been so busy on matters gastronomical she hasn’t noticed. We can assure readers Therese Rein’s husband will leave her there for the foreseeable future.
Not so secure is the former head of her department, Bill Farmer, who was rewarded for taking the blame for the monumental mess created by Amanda and before her Ruddock. In a measure which must have outraged the Indonesians, our former head of government sent him to Jakarta as a reward for services not rendered. We are told he will soon be packing his bags and a professional diplomat will replace him.
The same applies to the sinecure assoluta, London, currently being warmed by Richard Alston, similarly expendable. Our former diplomat headed for The Lodge totally understands how those of his former colleagues on the ground feel when has-beens with no diplomatic experience are shunted into top jobs. Says the mole: Menzies used to justify his actions in getting rid of enemies by saying he needed someone with his telephone number. Email is all that’s necessary these days.
Robert Hill at the UN may soon get his marching orders. Our Mandarin-speaking robot is determined to get Australia a seat on the Security Council which he believes only a professional can achieve.
As a footnote, the appalling De-Anne Kelly is soon to be invited to a daiquiri party by those 40 or so generals and former public servants who she rubbished because of their criticism of the Man of Steel’s rush to provide our brave servicemen and women for the Bush folly in Iraq.
Happy days, it seems, will soon be here again.