The KevinPM report cards are pouring in on the anniversary of his government’s first year in power. While heavy on symbolism, the Global Financial Crisis has thrown a spanner in the works:

Storm clouds brewing. “Lots of worthy policy work has been started, and many or even most promises implemented. But the economic weather has transformed, from sunny days and clear forecasts to belting rain and future storms. New conditions have already buffeted the Government and this will get worse.” — Michelle Grattan, The Sydney Morning Herald

Events take their toll. “There has not been a first-year prime ministership like Rudd’s in the postwar era. This is courtesy of events, notably the collapsing global economy. The assumptions on which Rudd devised policy are being destroyed. Almost before his prime ministership is well established, it must be remade in economic and political terms.” — Paul Kelly, The Australian

The times have suited him. “The change in fortunes has so far had the political benefit of allowing the new Government to claim a willingness and ability to take “decisive” action domestically while disclaiming responsibility for “the failure of extreme capitalism” globally.” — Jennifer Hewett, The Australian

Devil’s in the detail. “The first year might have gone fairly well, but it has also shown up the potential risks of a Government micro-managed by one man – or rather, by one office.” — Laurie Oakes, Herald Sun

It’s chimerical, stupid. “Mr Rudd finishes the year in an electoral paradox – riding high in opinion polls but facing speculation that the global financial crisis may yet render his administration a one-term wonder.” — Michael Harvey, Herald Sun

Mugged by reality. “Politically, Rudd has done extremely well with Labor’s election promises and the great symbols of ratifying the Kyoto Protocol on climate change and directing the parliamentary apology to the Stolen Generations. Yet the inexperience of a Government preparing its first budget left Rudd politically mugged by pensioners.” — Dennis Shanahan, The Australian

Hanging in there. “While withholding more precise judgment due to the obscuring nature of financial developments, the Government must be considered a net positive.” — Daily Telegraph

Factions take a back seat. “Rudd could pull such a stunt with minimum internal backlash because of the enormous capital he had as a new Prime Minister who had led Labor out of the wilderness. Another less obvious, but more significant, impact he has effected in his first year is the diminution of the once powerful and often troublesome factions.” — Phillip Coorey, Sydney Morning Herald

Not radical enough #1. “Government spending continues to grow, regulation continues to increase, and hardly a day goes by without a piece of legislation or policy announcement that limits liberal freedoms. With the Rudd government now eyeballing the dubious achievements of Tony Blair, it might be hard to avoid having the occasional cry into our collective beers.” — Chris Berg, Institute of Public Affairs

Not radical enough #2. “The first 12 months of Kevin Rudd’s federal Labor government have proved to be a continuation of the conservative, pro-war and anti-environmental politics of the Howard years” — Green-Left Weekly

The ministry steps up. “The first year has also seen the emergence of some rising ministerial stars including Penny Wong, Julia Gillard, Lindsay Tanner, Jenny Macklin and Chris Bowen. The frenetic activity of the first half of the year lent the government a Whitlamesque feel in its rush to get started after so long out of power. This is despite the fact that the only Rudd ministers with any previous ministerial experience, in the Keating government, are Simon Crean and John Faulkner.” — Kate Hannon, The Independent Weekly

Kevin on Kevin. “When the Government was elected on 24 November 2007, we committed to building a modern Australia equipped to face the challenges of the 21st century. During our first year in office we have been delivering on that commitment….the Government has acted early and ahead of the curve – anticipating events, rather than simply reacting to them. The Government will continue to act decisively on the challenges we face today and the challenges we face for the future.” — Kevin Rudd, One Year Progress Report

The official seal. “His first year has gone as well as it could have been expected. It’s gone probably better than many prime ministers’ first years.” — Malcolm Fraser on ABC Radio

Peter Fray

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