Within minutes of the revelation that former Queensland premier Peter Beattie would be standing for Labor in the seat of Forde at the federal election, some of his many quotes on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd were circulating on social media. Not long after, the Coalition was packaging them up and distributing them. As a prominent relevance-deprivation syndrome sufferer, Beattie has been a regular source of commentary on politics since returning from the United States (where he was Queensland's Los Angeles-based trade and investment commissioner).
That won't fuss Labor much. What better way to illustrate Rudd's confected "new politics" than an erstwhile critic like Beattie agreeing to be part of his team? Nor will the Coalition line that Beattie is a potential challenger to Rudd, given the new Labor leadership rules. And, in any event, if Rudd manages to pull off what still remains an improbable win, the issue of replacing him is unlikely to trouble MPs who until June were staring political oblivion in the face.