We have reported quite a bit on Kevin Rudd’s bid for the United Nations Secretary General, and the reaction within the federal Liberal party, which will need to make the decision on whether to nominate the former PM. While former Liberal leader Brendan Nelson has come out in support of Kevin Rudd, Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi couldn’t be more certain in his belief that Rudd shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the job, and that the Australian government shouldn’t help him get there. One idea that has been canvassed is that the government could nominate Rudd, but not go so far as to actually help him in the application process. The contrast with our neighbours across the ditch in New Zealand is stark. New Zealand also has a former prime minister eyeing off the role of Secretary General: Helen Clark. Clark, from the New Zealand Labour Party, has been roundly endorsed by the New Zealand government, even to the point where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is tweeting about what a top job she will do, she even has her own hashtags:

MFAT tweet

Could Kevin Rudd get the same support from DFAT? We struggle to see it happening.

Kiwi Prime Minister John Key has said that Rudd’s inclusion in the race is unlikely to affect Clark’s campaign, telling media in Jakarta that he understands the difficult political situation in Australia:

“If a country has a former prime minister that goes to the government and asks the government to support them for a particular position, then that’s a very difficult thing for the particular government in question, or it can be a difficult position because in the end, most people want to see their own nationals do well.”

“Most people” often doesn’t apply to Australian politics.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey