Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan et al:

Cathy Bannister writes: Re. “Raw and wrenching: politicians at their best in the face of defeat” (Friday, item 1). I have to disagree with Bernard Keane. Rudd might have given his best speech in defeat, showing all the passion that brought him to politics in the first place, but he was not “at his best”. It was only a speech.

You can only judge politicians on what they do, rather than what they say. It wouldn’t have mattered how well he presented in interviews and talks, he still wouldn’t have consulted or negotiated, would have micromanaged his staff and made unreasonable demands of the public service.

The ETS would still have floundered, other climate change measures would still have been pitiful, and he would still have not followed through on his promises on the status of Aborigines or asylum seekers. The Home Insulation Scheme would still have been an almighty balls-up and the RSPT would still have been mishandled.

In consistently bending to the slightest movement in the polls or perceived whim of those who were Howard’s Battlers, he has been weak and it shows. That’s a great shame, because he’s an intelligent, passionate man.

What a waste.

Ian Sutherland writes: It doesn’t matter what people say about Kevin Rudd. To me he will always be one of the greats. He got rid of Howard. Enough said.

Jenny Batesman writes: It’s great to see grown men cry in the public arena and in Mr Rudd’s case it was not crocodile tears.

Joe Boswell writes: Re. “Rudd’s execution shows reform is dead within Labor” (Friday, item 2). Canberra correspondent Bernard Keane wrote “… a re-elected — or more accurately, elected — Gillard…”

I’m sure we all know there is a persistent myth that Prime Ministers are elected by the general populace, but I’d be grateful if Crikey adopted a more informed position.

Gillard is already just as elected as she should be. There has never been an elected Prime Minister in Australia (or in the UK, where the myth is also prevalent). Nobody in any general election has ever been handed a ballot paper inviting them to vote for any candidate for the office of Prime Minister.

All the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth each time a Prime Minister is appointed without the coincidence of a general election is ignorant, even delusional. Those who want to elect a Prime Minister that way should get off their arses and start agitating for the necessary constitutional change.

Jim Hart writes: Bernard Keane laments Kevin Rudd’s fondness for the “meaningless four-letter acronym” but sadly it was not so. An acronym according to most sources is not just a set of initials, it is a word formed from one or more letters of the original words. It’s something you can say, like AWOL to cite another of Bernard’s usages, and not just spell.

An abomination like RSPT is not an acronym, just a clumsy abbreviation. If only he had called it something like the Stupendous New Original Tax the electorate would have had something it could gets its tongue around.

Chris Hunter writes: Re. Friday’s editorial. Crikey‘s “editorial” comparing Julia Gillard to Maggie Thatcher is a bit rich. Yes they were (are) both ambitious females but that’s really about it.

Thatcher rose to power when England was taking its turn at being the “sick man of Europe” — not so Australia in 2010 — no sick man of Asia here. A drover’s dog could have told you that Kevin Rudd, with his staunch standoff over the mining tax, was due for an affirmative national poll bounce. In true Aussie fashion we were just trying him out to see if he had the ticker and he was proving that he did — heart valve transplant and all.

Gillard’s main premise that Rudd was going to lose the election was a nonsense,  surely she didn’t really believe that — nobody in the real world did, including ALL the bookmakers. Rudd was knifed because he was Rudd — like Thatcher — not a toady.

Julia you should have consulted your beloved “Australian people”, the “working families” — they loved Kev — and his cheques  — did anyone send theirs back?

John Taylor writes: Re. “Farmer: how Swan let Rudd down” (Friday, item 3). The retention of Wayne Swan as Treasurer in the new ministry shows how bereft of talent the Government is in the economics/financial field.

Swan was tainted with all the stupidities of the Rudd incumbency and should have fallen on his sword with his boss. Unfortunately, the only alternative they had was Lindsay Tanner, who apparently had already expressed his intention to quit at the next election. So: Hands up who wants to be treasurer. Nobody left. Wayne you’re it.

Down the track this will probably cause Gillard problems but for now she’ll get away with it on the simple fact that Abbott’s unelectable, which will result in the return of a Labor Government being a formality, probably with an increased majority, unfortunately. After which the Liberals will turn again to Malcolm.

Unfortunately, he too can’t win and as I may have told you before, the next Liberal Prime Minister is not currently in the House. Mitch Grady will probably offer himself in 2013 and should lead the Coalition to victory in 2019. Is that enough predictions for you.

I’m exhausted looking into this bloody crystal ball.

A patient Bill Shorten waits:

Henrie Ellis writes: The lily livered chancers have taken over! Despite all Rudd’s faults, his government’s achievements were considerable and in his 900 plus days as Prime Minister probably had a greater grasp of policy than any other PM besides Keating. The ascension of Queen Julia to The Lodge, organised by right wing ALP mafia from NSW Victoria and WA saw them release the hounds and stampede the timorous sheep into their fold.

What does Queen Julia do in her first hour as PM?  She calls on the miners to stop their advertising campaign and the government would stop theirs. This is behind the shelter shed stuff, you show me yours and I will show you my mine. Pass me the vomit bucket!

The public reaction to the nasty ALP coup has not been particularly supportive. With the exception of the feminists who waxed effusively about how wonderful it is to have a female PM, and other such maudlin nonsense, the overall public reaction was critical of the ALP yet surprisingly supportive of Rudd. His departure speech was dignified and honourable, so I suspect Rudd’s stature will grow when Gillard proves to be marking time until Shorten pounces.

Aside from some insightful stuff from your Guy Rundle, the hack journalists are pulling Rudd’s corpse apart. His demise has been put down to his control freak nature, lack of communication skills with colleagues, the fact he dared to challenge the factional leaders, the slide in the polls, an invigorated opposition, his lack of collegiality amongst a host of other things. Plainly the fight with the miners over the RSPT was crucial, as was the fear campaign about refugees ramped up by the opposition for the slide in Rudd’s popularity.

Now isn’t it strange that the same knuckleheads who have destroyed the ALP vote in NSW drawing their support base from the AWU and TWU have now orchestrated Rudd’s demise

The ambitious, ruthless Bill Shorten, the Iago of ALP Federal politics waits in the wings.

Rudd was a victim in part of his own hubris as lesser talents gathered around him ready to strike. Now one of those lesser talents, Julia Gillard, is PM.

The problem with politics…

Peter Lloyd writes: Could we please have a new party made up of the ever-lengthening list of politicians hacked down by their own parties for (mostly) being too creative, too complex, and occasionally too moral to thrive in a system long since tamed and turned into a limp parody of democracy?

John Brogden, Nathan Rees, Mark Latham, Malcolm Turnbull, are all individuals who were either always too original in thought, or too sickened by the corruption, to be trusted by hacks and climbers whose mentality, if not methods, display a certain Stalinist inspiration.  Others like Lindsay Tanner and Mal Brough fell before receiving the knife that is the reward for competence in our system, run as it is by back-room sociopaths and ideological weirdos.

The party could have basic principles such as a refusal to use talking points, refusal to meet lobbyists at all, and could begin by legislating datacasting and similar technology to undermine the conventional media that has done so much to bring us to the current sad situation.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey