In the first of five-part serialisation from his soon to be published autobiography Wanker: The Kevin Rudd Story (as told to Walter Slurry), Kevin Rudd recalls the first days of his new Government.
In preparedness, detailed plans for government had been drawn up. Perhaps one should have consulted them first.
My office was initially staffed by poppets, West Wing impersonators and baby-faced supplicants who slept occasionally. Over this past year, some have proved incapable of keeping pace with the kingpin and they’ve been replaced with other 20-something addendums to the entourage.
Selecting my ministry became a sole preserve. Can I just set the record straight here — promoting friends to key portfolios was out of the question. I don’t have any friends.
For reasons beyond my insight, Julia Gillard wanted Education, Industrial Relations and Social Inclusion. She gets a bit too much “social inclusion” if you ask me. In spite of those lizard-like eyes and metamorphosing hair display, I am heavily reliant on Julia. I call her daily, sometimes hourly, other times we communicate via Skype on a streaming basis. I love her and need her so, but yet paradoxically I hate her awfully and surreptitiously thwart her every ambition. Cate says it’s just like her and Matt Damon in The Talented Mr Ripley. I wish I had the gizzuts to make a decision sans Julia. Maybe next term.
Wayne Swan is my Treasurer. Can I say this about Wayne, I believe working families appreciate his reassuring manner and growing economic credentials, especially in these uncertain economic times. By all accounts (except mine) he’s talented and highly capable. Of course, the first year was a complete disaster for Wayne; Jesus, those first few weeks at the dispatch box was like watching an episode of The Office. I cringed so much I had an osteopath booked for the end of Question Time.
Lindsay Tanner was promised Finance — anything to keep him away from all those mentoring and feel good policy agendas. Frankly they give me the sh-ts. I have never understood socialist ideology and all that post-modern preventative interventionist bunkum. Sounds like he is trying to walk both sides of the street. Ditto for Nicola Roxon in Health. Surprisingly she excels here, with her endless advisory bodies and taskforces and shampooing and conditioning. Our relationship, however, remains oily and full of frisures and I know a bouncy and full bodied friendship won’t happen overnight.
Simon Crean was rewarded with Trade. Some say he’s a decent, sincere and well respected bloke. Luckily, I’m not some. I can’t have a demoted skipper hanging around like something Albo lets loose at the Dispatch Box. I’ll force him out before the next election.
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For Stephen Smith I bestow my beloved portfolio of Foreign Affairs. He is provided with some sage advice: “Keep it safe and warm, feed it regularly, and if you ever take it out for a walk, you’ll be killed”. So far, so good.
Chris Evans is leader in the senate and has Immigration. Not sure about this dour West Australian. He was once overheard telling an adviser I was “prickly”, or perhaps he said I was “a prick”; either way, he needs to watch his back.
Kim Carr was likewise furnished with rich booty for support over that lug Beazley. Carr, like some Etruscan terra cotta pottery come to life, creates Richter Scale tremors in my lower intestinal valleys. Regardless, what damage can a rabid left wing reformist do to our industry agenda?
Speaking of things rabid and left, Anthony Albanese is Leader of the House and handed the enormous responsibilities of Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government. One trusts the weight of responsibility will crush him to bits. Albo is not popular with the public at large, or anyone who has actually met him in person, but just as Howard had Abbott, so I one must accommodate Albanese.
Jenny Macklin deserved something of substance given her many years of service. Jenny has many fine attributes, such as a wonderful singing voice. Shame she can’t talk in tune. Nevertheless, disadvantaged groups and the Aboriginal people of Australia will find tremendous empathy with a middle class frump from Melbourne.
In parliament, my ministry is expounded upon:
Mr RUDD (Griffith—Prime Minister) (2.01 pm)…
Mr Speaker, I seek to make a statement on indulgence.
The SPEAKER: Indulgence is granted.
Mr RUDD: Besides those already announced, Joel Fitzgibbon stays in Defence, Robert McClelland is the Attorney General, Penny Wong goes to Water, Martin Ferguson will be left to his own Resources, Tony Burke has the key portfolios of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forest…
Interjections — Laughter, hooting, gaiety —
Mr RUDD: Bob Debus has Home Affairs, Tanya Plibersek takes on House Pieces, Alan Griffin remains with the Veterans’, Chris Bowen is the new Assistant Treasurer, Justine Elliot is the new Minister for Aging…
Interjections — Guffawing, merriment, rib-tickling —
Mr RUDD: Some men didn’t make my Firsts and have been allocated Parliamentary Secretary positions. Mike Kelly, Greg Combet, Bill Shorten, Bob McMullan and Gary Gray for example remain in the second rung as glorified errand boys. Can I just say this about these fine men, men who have led soldiers into combat, men who have controlled entire workforces and masterminded political machines; men who have commandeered unions and possibly engineered my victory, men who have demonstrated their abilities to initiate genuine reform – you can all wait your f-cking turn because I owe you nothing, nada, zilch, not a dickie bird.
And speaking of dickie birds, can I just say that this is about selecting my best team and it has nothing to do with restraining those I perceive as leadership threats. My point is this – this isn’t a pissing competition or who has the largest phallus or what not. It’s not about whether Greg Combet or Mike Kelly have enormous peckers, whether their plonkers are bigger than mine, if they have cock robbins that my spam filter tells me I can purchase online from Bermuda. Fair dinkum folks, I am the Prime Minister, and the subjugation of these proven leaders has absolutely nothing to do with perceived threats somewhere down the line or inadequacies in my subterranean landscape.
Now, to return to the matter at hand, Peter Garrett will retain the Environment portfolio —
Interjections — hysterical outpourings, laughing seizure, heart attack —
The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister will resume his seat…
Of course, with 20/20 hindsight, one can admit they may not have got their first ministry right. Look, in this game you get some things right and sometimes you get things wrong, the Australian people know that. They’ve seen Charlotte Grey, they know some things don’t work no matter how well intentioned the motivation is. So if your point is, ‘have some of my parliamentary secretaries made a mockery of my appointments by out performing certain ministers’, then let me tell you this: I stand by each and every member of my team, and casting doubt on the abilities of ministers like Justine Elliot, Steven Conroy or Kate Ellis is just not on. (memo: organise a reshuffle for mid early 2009).
Kick arse Kevin
5.00 am on day one as PM. My brain vessel unfurls like a great beast awakening from a slumber. Last night chaotic — the eve of government creates tremendous urgency; Ministers lectured to, media interviews locked in, meetings scheduled, un-scheduled, re-scheduled, de-scheduled, by-scheduled then the entire process reversed; people phoned, advisers emails, stools inspected, diary secretary’s fired.
A routine which is still in place unfolds: 5.01 am phone call to Gillard to discuss my plans, my policies, my dreams. Then 5.30 teleconference with my new poppets. Umpteen child soldiers ready for battle, I confront the Australian people like an ill-equipped general ready for the fray. Sadly over this past year many of my staff fell like the bumbling pudding brain knuckleheads I always suspected they were. I review my agenda:
- Formal apology to Stolen Generation
- Ratify Kyoto Protocol
- Fix the Murray-Darling Basin
- Hold 20/20 summit
- Pose naked in front of mirror
First things first. In the Lodge, I draft an apology speech, a free flowing monologue straight from my heart.
On behalf of this Parliament, I am sorry.
I am sorry that I am passionless and dryly intellectual about Aboriginal and Islander peoples, unlike Messers Beazley, Keating and Hawke.
I am sorry that I have little feeling in my heart for the real things Aborigines want – but I am a white leader and I will not do anything to threaten jobs in our mining sector.
Sorry that I have inflicted Jenny Macklin on our Indigenous peoples.
Sorry that there isn’t a single Aboriginal or Islander person on my staff.
Sorry that Indigenous policy is being run by a bunch of 20 something privileged white kids.
Sorry that I would rather open a meaningful dialogue with China over Tibet than with Aboriginal people over their lands.
Sorry that I want to dig up uranium on traditional lands and sell it to Russia.
Sorry that I care more about a WW II track in PNG than about preserving sacred sights on areas where a bucket-load of minerals nest.
Sorry that after today, I will move on to other issues.
Sorry that my symbolism doesn’t include fair and just compensation or reparations or land rights.
Sorry that I believe in the Northern Territory intervention.
Sorry that I find it difficult to actually talk with black fellas in their environment and prefer the views of Noel Pearson here in my office.
Sorry that I ever appointed Justine Elliot to be a minister of the crown.
Sorry that I won’t pay for families of the stolen generation to come to Canberra and be part of this apology.
Most of all, I’m sorry that this falls far short of Paul Keating’s Redfern speech.
In parliament, I deliver a now revised redraft flawlessly, reaching out to Dr Nelson in a manner reminiscent of Cate Blanchett when she finds her lost boy in The Missing. Jesus, was that ever a powerful scene. The apology unfurls waves of mass gratitude and poetic platitudes, my speech is news the world over. Afterwards, people cry and hug me, they fall before me, blessing my sentiments, my sincerity, my statesmanship. Elders offer me bounty and I’m certain they call me ‘bwana’. I become aroused. Dr Nelson kindly slips me a prescription.
Can I also just say that it was Kevy from Queensland who stepped up to the international plate, unlike Howard, and ratified Kyoto. By close of Week One, to put this in language I am sure the young folk of Australia will identify with, I was totally f-cking sick. I was on fire. Imagine the opinion polls — high 50s, early 670s even. I call Gillard excitedly…
Tomorrow: Wanker continues