Crikey Says

Feb 27, 2012

Labor’s lingering smell

In the unlikely event that the Labor party manages to unite after all this, the collateral damage from this flare up will have lasting damage.

Michelle Grattan described it as an "extraordinary collective vomit," the last week in which we've witnessed the Labor government expel the secrets of cabinet and the 2010 coup, that is. Evidently, the scorched-earth approach of Julia Gillard's supporters has proved devastatingly effective, with caucus voting for her this morning 71 votes to Kevin Rudd's 31. The ALP may have just killed off the only candidate that could have beaten Tony Abbott. In a letter from John Button to Bill Hayden dated January 28, 1983, Button attempted to convince Hayden to stand down for Bob Hawke with this appeal:
"You said to me that you would not stand down for a 'bastard' like Bob Hawke. In my experience in the Labor party, the fact that someone is a bastard -- of one kind or another -- has never been a disqualification for leadership of the party."
In this case, it was. Former NSW premier Bob Carr wrote on his blog today: "If after Julia Gillard’s decisive victory in the Labor leadership ballot today there is a revival of white-anting against her, the whole party will explode with anger. Especially as this challenge has done so much profound harm; part of which will be reflected in the Queensland result on March 24, 2012. The public reaction against Labor if after today leadership speculation is resumed will be catastrophic." But in the unlikely event that the Labor party manages to unite after all this, the collateral damage from this flare up will have lasting damage. That's the problem with nasty stain like vomit, it's very hard to get the lingering smell out of the carpet.

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8 thoughts on “Labor’s lingering smell

  1. Mark from Melbourne

    Mind you vomiting up poison can also be quite cathartic and is often the recommended treatment.

    Comparing Rudd’s bastardry with Hawke being a bit of a bastard is pretty lazy.

  2. Gavin Moodie

    It’s no good Rudd beating Abbott if he would be a worse prime minister than Abbott. I at least do not subscribe to winning at all costs and I don’t think politicians should either.

  3. CML

    Just love the quote from John Button – priceless!

    However, the musings from Bob Carr seem to completely disregard
    the fact that most of the “white-anting” came from the Gillard side
    and was directed toward Rudd. History being revised before it has
    even had a chance to hit the bookstore!! Carr seems to have forgotten
    that it was Gillard who called on the spill, not Rudd. If the latter had
    been left to his own devices, I believe he would have waited until
    the end of this year/early next to mount a challenge. By then the
    turkeys in the caucus may have changed their minds about voting for

    Regardless of the Rudd-haters out there, his work as Minister for
    Foreign Affairs appears to have been universally celebrated. What
    a waste of a great talent. He didn’t do it to himself, the Labor party
    and particularly the lesser beings (read Gillard, her cronies and the
    backroom boys), managed that all by themselves.

    So, nothing will change – Gillard still won’t win the election and the
    Labor party will self -destruct. All her own work!

  4. Pedantic, Balwyn


    Everyone is entitled to their opinion even if they view Kevin Rudd through rose-tinted glasses, however to say that most of the white-anting came from the Gillard camp is re-writing history.

    After Kevin was asked to stand aside as his colleagues were totally over his management style he had the opportunity to ask for a vote in caucus but squibbed it. In revenge he leaked big time to Laurie Oakes and has since white -anted anyone he thought had slighted him.

    No one, except Tony Abbott, has suggested that Kevin Rudd has not performed well as Foreign Minister, but the role is completely different to that of PM, another position that he has clearly demonstrated by his deviousness that he is unsuited.

    Ms Gillard called the leadership spill to get Kevin Rudd to put up or shut up. Pretty reasonable after nearly derailed the return of Labor at 2010 election and has since maintained a constant barrage of criticism to selected journos.

    Labor may or may not win the election, but Kevin Rudd has had a big hand in destroying the party for his own ends, not those of Labor.

  5. Tom Jones

    To compare the way that Bob Hawke became leader and governed with the way that Kevin Rudd gained the leadership and governed is pure fantasy. All PMs have a bit of the b…….. about them but to completely lose the support of an entire parliament is a record.

  6. CML

    @ PEDANTIC – You obviously haven’t heard the comments around
    the media this evening (reading from a transcript of Kevin Rudd’s
    speech to the caucus). He has categorically denied that he did ANY
    leaking during the 2010 election campaign or since – a position he
    has stated many times.Why should we believe Gillard and not him? We
    already know she tells l*es.
    The disgraceful attacks on Rudd from senior ministers and the PM
    were way over the top. Also, Wayne Swan l*ed to “Meet the Press”
    when he told them that he did not stuff up the first edition of the mining
    tax, when Rudd was still PM. Martin Ferguson would not answer this
    question on the same program, but the chief representative of the
    negotations for the mining industry was in no doubt that the position
    arrived at between his industry and the government was substantially
    altered by Swan. This led to the mining industry advertising campaign,
    and ultimately, the demise of Rudd. Further, I am not aware Laurie Oakes
    has ever said that Rudd leaked information to him. If he did, that would
    be the last time anyone told Oakes anything – journos protect their
    sources for this reason.
    What was that about “rose-tinted glasses”? How about you get your
    facts right? Far fom destroying the Labor party, Rudd has tried to
    save them from themselves – turkeys all!!

  7. AR

    We may assume that the ALP (caucas, if not general membership) knew all the dirt that was made public in the last weeks and thus did not need reminding.
    Therefore it was for public consumption.
    Why, the public having no vote?
    If it was to assure the public that Krudd was not the Messiah but a bastard then it sh/could have been done in 2010.
    However that would have seemed tawdry, unworthy of a great Party and destructive, giving too much ammunition to the tories.
    Just like now.

  8. Peter Ormonde

    “The ALP may have just killed off the only candidate that could have beaten Tony Abbott.”

    Really? Is that what it is all about? The search for Brand identification? The miracle packaging – the mystery ingredient? Great Men making History? Moses Rudd leading the bewildered government through the wilderness? The “Rudd Agenda” restored? The First President of Australia? “Someone to lead … someone to follow”….

    It’s a team sport in Australia Crikey – not a one man band. There a few Great Leaders thrown up by history – Rudd was certainly not one of them. The jury is out on Julia. But there are great teams. And this is certainly one of them. Sell that.

    It’s the Opposition’s near exclusive reliance on their messiah – Tony the Obscure – that stands in contrast with Australian history, political institutions and culture. No team player that fella – he makes it up as he goes along and no-one can keep up… let alone the huffing and puffing Joe Hockey. Abbott is their Achilles’ heel … as ever. Let us watch their US inspired marketers bring them undone with their Tony the Saviour sloganising.

    Australians really dislike tall poppies. Let alone short poppies standing on the shoulders of their mates.

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