Everyone hates Crikey‘s leadership speculation

Brian Mitchell writes: Re. “Crikey says: Rudd a reality if you really care” (yesterday). Your claim that Gillard “has to go” to save Labor is just the latest demonstration of your joining the mainstream media herd. Gillard going won’t save Labor and certainly not if it’s a return to Rudd. Labor’s only hope is to get behind Gillard, the woman who has led this country admirably for three years, and turn the focus squarely on the comparison between a Labor and a Liberal agenda.

Rudd was replaced for good reason: he’d be back 30 seconds before people remembered why he was turfed. Gillard has had three years of sniping and backgrounding and suffered at the hands of the laziest press gallery in living memory. A pack of journalists slavering over the latest scrap thrown their way by treacherous rumour-mongers, but uninterested in the big issues. Every prediction has been shown to be wrong, but this press gallery, Crikey included, hasn’t let the facts get in the way of a juicy headline.

She took the leadership unopposed. She won it in a spill by a record margin. She won it again unopposed. Yet, she’s had to put up with headline after headline month after month that her leadership is “on the line”.

I wouldn’t have minded stories reporting “Rudd backers hate PM'”or “Rudd backers call on PM to go” or “Rudd backers demand return to Rudd”, because they would have been factual. It’s the press gallery’s uncritical reporting that upsets me. You have helped create a sense of uncertainty in this country that has nothing to do with the facts.

But for the press gallery to ever have admitted it was just one or two lonely, petty voices baying at the moon, far short of a caucus chorus, would not have been juicy enough. Wouldn’t have followed the “get Gillard” script. Where are the stories putting the heat on the whisperers to prove their claims, to show their faces?

Now, Crikey says Gillard has to go. Not because she’s bad at her job, but because the dogs have apparently wounded her too badly for her to survive. Well, I’d rather we all go down fighting. I am proud of this Prime Minister. She’s got more guts and grit than anyone else in politics today. Her legacy as this country’s first female PM and the massive reform program she oversaw will outlive the petty vindictiveness of the past three years. As for you, Crikey, after something like six years I think it’s time for us to call it a day.

Dave Lennon writes: Yesterday’s editorial affected me more than any other editorial I’ve ever read. If this is what it has come to, then these findings of the Lowy Institute’s annual survey — that the number of young Australians who say they prefer democracy over any other kind of government is still less than half (48%) of Australians aged 18–29 — are unsurprising.

You dismiss Rudd’s sabotaging of the ALP’s 2010 election campaign and the holding to ransom of the current ALP caucus to sate his personal ambition and hatred for the PM as “that may be true”. May be true? Did you read this in The Monthly?

Yesterday Essential Poll as reported in Crikey showed the voters quite like what this government has achieved, so it’s not unfair to suggest the reason for its current poll plight rests largely if not totally at the feet of Rudd and his co-conspirators.

There are some rules in political parties that you do not break and others you break at your peril, among them: keep the in-fighting as much as possible inside the tent, never sabotage the party’s election chances no matter what the issue and display a level of self-discipline that ensures the interests of the party always come first.

Rudd hasn’t just broken all of those and more with his public pronouncements and claims of innocence whenever he is challenged on his motives for the timing of high-profile destabilisations (i.e., the PM’s out of the country, here comes Kevin with a headline) he has stretched plausible deniability to levels never before seen in Australian politics. And yet for all that your message to the ALP is suck it up, opposition sucks, so better Rudd than dead.

If this is what politics has become and you, your readers and the broader public accept that it’s all about bums on seats, then it’s game over. Politics is not about which side of the chamber you sit on or the polls, it’s about, or should be,  people with vision for their local area, their state and their country putting themselves forward to enter the fray to try to leave the joint a better place than when they were born.

Yes, opposition truly does suck, but what sucks more is a party that rewards a traitor to that party and the people he claims to represent with the leadership. So yes, the ALP will  lose this election (regardless of leader BTW) and it will possibly be a really bad loss, and the thought of Abbott as PM is not thrilling, but there are such things as necessary losses there are also honourable losses, and this election will deliver the ALP led by Julia Gillard both of these. As one ALP minister once sang  “better to die of your feet than live on your knees”.

Warwick Fry writes: There is a very simple circuit breaker to the media construct of a binary Rudd/Gillard model of the ALP. If the discrete factions are genuinely looking for an ALP victory in the next elections (rather than a victory for their own particular faction) all they would have to do is convince Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd to come out smiling arm in arm. Of course, this would require an olive branch, and it would have to come from Gillard — a position for Rudd on the front bench would probably do the trick. The combination of Rudd’s street campaigning skills with Gillard’s record of tough implementation of good policies would be an unbeatable combination, and leave the press pack gobsmacked and gasping for oxygen.


Sydney Institute executive director Gerard Henderson writes: Re: “Leaked: the documents that silenced ‘tabloid terror’ Reines” (yesterday). Crikey’s interest in The Sydney Institute is much appreciated.  However, a clarification is required. Ross Reines will not be addressing The Sydney Institute tonight (Tuesday, June 25). She postponed the talk in May. However, due to an error by the Institute, the talk was re-advertised for June 25. I apologised to Ros Reines for this oversight last week. It is hoped that the talk can be re-scheduled for later in the year.