The government's retirement gift to Philip Ruddock -- appointing him Special Envoy for Human Rights -- is a political joke of Abbottesque proportions. A short, non-definitive list of the highlights of Ruddock’s time in public office illustrates why.

Asylum seekers
As immigration minister in the Howard government, Ruddock was front and centre in the Howard government’s efforts to use the issue of asylum seekers as a political tool, and no more so than when he led the charge to falsely claim some had thrown their children overboard during a maritime rescue (see Ruddock making the claim here). “I regard these as some of the most disturbing practices that I have come across in the time I have been involved in public life,” Ruddock sanctimoniously asserted at the time, saying it was "clearly planned and premeditated”.