Home > Oz Politics > Rudd + Gillard = Rudd*

Rudd + Gillard = Rudd*

February 23rd, 2012

A couple of points that have emerged in the debate over the Labor leadership need a response

First, there’s the claim that there are no policy differences between Rudd and Gillard. This is often presented as if the two had independently arrived at the same position. In fact, as the equation in the post title implies, it’s because Gillard is a policy-free zone. Her independent ventures into policy making amount to a disastrous set of pre-election moves on carbon policy (no tax promise, consultative assembly, cash for clunkers) and a series of failed attempts to resolve the asylum seeker problem. Now that the Rudd agenda has mostly been passed or abandoned, Gillard has no policies whatsoever, a point I made some time ago. Her abandonment of the Gonski report, which she used as an excuse for doing nothing when she was Education Minister, is typical.

Second, and with somewhat more justification, there’s the fact that Gillard has been successful in getting policy passed where Rudd failed. The unusual circumstance of a House of Reps minority has led most people to overstate the relative difficulty of Gillard’s task. She has needed the Greens and three of five independents, normally being Wilkie, Oakeshott and Windsor. Rudd needed the Greens, Xenophon and Fielding, which was obviously harder. It’s true that Rudd made the mistaken choice of freezing out the Greens and trying to negotiate with the Liberals, which made no sense given that the Greens were bound to hold the balance of power sooner or later. A more comparable test is that of asylum seekers, where Gillard has done no better than Rudd, arguably worse.

*This equation was allegedly written by a notable, but somewhat obscure economist with his own name in the place of Rudd, and that of a better-known researcher in the same filed in the place of Gillard

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  1. aidan
    February 23rd, 2012 at 10:42 | #1

    Does it matter? It appears now that Rudd has a poisonous relationship with most of the current cabinet. Even if he did win a leadership ballot, what talent would be left on the front-bench? Nope, it is now anyone but Rudd.

    Rudd = Romney

  2. Hermit
    February 23rd, 2012 at 10:56 | #2

    Consider this scenario. In 2013 the choice is Abbott vs. Rudd. Abbott gets up but there is a massive Green vote rendering the country ungovernable. For example PM Abbott tries to repeal carbon tax but is punished at every step because of a slim majority. Let sleeping dogs lie.

  3. Rob
    February 23rd, 2012 at 11:30 | #3

    I came here to say what aidan said. Whatever his policy merits, I just don’t see how the ALP can govern with Rudd as leader given how much is he despised by most of those qualified to serve as ministers.

  4. Alan
    February 23rd, 2012 at 11:34 | #4

    Consider this scenario. In 2013 the choice is Abbot v Gillard. Abbot gets up with a massive landslide on the pattern of the NSW result and repeals the carbon tax as his first bill. The dogs can go on sleeping but I know which scenario I prefer.

  5. Dan
    February 23rd, 2012 at 11:38 | #5


    That’s really hard to do, as it means taking money back from low-income families.

  6. socrates
    February 23rd, 2012 at 11:41 | #6

    I don’t buy the arguments that personality difference is the reason they got rid of Rudd. I DO think Rudd was a control freak, and was known as one from way back when he ran the Qld Office of Cabinet under Goss. But everyone in Labor knew that before he became PM. So why raise it three years later? It was the excuse, not the reason, for the change.

    It all got messy when Arbib, Bitar and Shorten started to muscle their way into power once Labor was elected. Rudd’s biggest error (CPRS delay) was made after listening to their advice.

    John Howard was also a control freak, under whom the PM’s Department virtually ran Canberra. Yet the rest of the MPs didn’t care as long as they won elections.

    Gillard has one area where she has genuine policy views – IR – because of her personal background. But after that, I agree, it is pretty light.

  7. Michael
    February 23rd, 2012 at 11:43 | #7

    It’s a pity the two of them can’t work as a team and accept their strengths and weaknesses. Let Rudd be the big picture guy but make him pass everything through to Gillard to manage, implement and delegatie. It appears as though she has done a creditable job getting things done even if she has no vision of her own apart from pandering to the coalition’s small minded agenda.

  8. Hermit
    February 23rd, 2012 at 11:43 | #8

    The irony being that if it wasn’t for Gillard we wouldn’t have a carbon tax to repeal.

  9. socrates
    February 23rd, 2012 at 11:44 | #9


    The one comfort I take in this mess is that, regardless of who wins the Labor leadership, and regardless of who wins between Abbott and the Labor leader, the Greens are still very likely to hold the balance of power after 2013. Their recently elected senators are not up for re-election, and Fielding is gone.

  10. Dan
    February 23rd, 2012 at 11:58 | #10
  11. aidan
    February 23rd, 2012 at 12:14 | #11

    socrates :
    I don’t buy the arguments that personality difference is the reason they got rid of Rudd. I DO think Rudd was a control freak, and was known as one from way back when he ran the Qld Office of Cabinet under Goss. But everyone in Labor knew that before he became PM. So why raise it three years later? It was the excuse, not the reason, for the change.

    Howard was a control freak who could hold it together. Kevin just got weird, stopped sleeping and became incredibly paranoid by some accounts. I just don’t think he has what it takes for that position. Is there a single cabinet minister from that time who has come out to support him? (Including any who are no longer in cabinet, and not bound to solidarity)

  12. Kate
    February 23rd, 2012 at 13:07 | #12

    I find Julia’s comments about Rudd’s disorganisation amusing. I constantly feel the same way about my boss. Does that make me feel qualified for his job? Yes. Do I want it? Hell no.

  13. Jason
    February 23rd, 2012 at 13:16 | #13

    I think it also needs to be said that Gillard has butchered some of Rudd’s very good policies. The mining tax is a case in point. The original design of that tax (the RSPT) was of a ‘rent tax’ which would not have distorted incentive to invest in new mines (sovereign risk aside). Ironically, the re-named Minerals Resource Rent Tax (MRRT) is not a rent tax at all and will distort/delay investments at the margin, as do the royalties it replaces.

  14. Alan
    February 23rd, 2012 at 13:32 | #14


    The irony being that if it wasn’t for Gillard we would probably have had a carbon tax to repeal in 2009.

  15. Sam
    February 23rd, 2012 at 13:46 | #15

    Yes, the mining tax was half as good as Rudd’s original proposal. On the other hand, the carbon tax was twice as good (the probable price of the original ETS was about $10). Taking both policies as a whole, I’d call it a draw.

    I’ll just reiterate my previous statement too; some of Rudd’s “Big Ideas” are also disastrous ones. Gillard’s policy-free zone is much preferable to the Big Australia.

  16. Sam
    February 23rd, 2012 at 14:02 | #16

    Plus, remember the Orwellian “clean feed” proposal? Another Rudd policy big idea that also happens to be terrible. Gillard killed it. Never trust a christian with the internet!

  17. senexx
    February 23rd, 2012 at 14:20 | #17

    If rudd =romney his victory is assured and i m not so sure about that.
    i do agree with quiggin on the above

  18. Jason
    February 23rd, 2012 at 14:26 | #18

    I agree with you that the CPRS price would likely have been too low to drive immediate change, but in the long run the ETS’s price floor is a bad idea, particularly if we do have a depression in economic activity. Also, and this view won’t be popular on this blog, you are ignoring the billions that will be wasted on funding poorly chosen renewable energy projects. These wasted billions should be recorded as the ‘price’ of negotiating with the Greens.

    In the end, Gillard’s pitch to the nation is that she is a good administrator not a visionary. At best this is the pitch of a good deputy, but in reality I think Gillard will throw the baby out with the bath water in order to notch up a political victory.

  19. Sam
    February 23rd, 2012 at 14:56 | #19

    It’s debatable just how bad a price floor is here, especially since the “real” price of carbon is at least $50/t. I also don’t know whether the renewable energy projects were that poorly chosen. I’m not saying they’re not, just that I haven’t any evidence that they are. What makes you think this?

  20. Ram
    February 23rd, 2012 at 15:02 | #20

    So who’s the Santorum of Australian politics?

  21. Sam
    February 23rd, 2012 at 15:06 | #21

    Abbot, surely?

  22. Troy Prideaux
    February 23rd, 2012 at 15:13 | #22


  23. February 23rd, 2012 at 15:30 | #23

    Pr Q said:

    First, there’s the claim that there are no policy differences between Rudd and Gillard. This is often presented as if the two had independently arrived at the same position. In fact, as the equation in the post title implies, it’s because Gillard is a policy-free zone.

    So Hawke + Keating = Hawke? R-i-i-i-ght.

    Westminster government is supposed to be a team, not a one-man show. It is false to seperate Rudd from Gillard in the business of policy formation during ALP (v.1), giving star billing to the former whilst air-brushing out of history the latter.

    The notion of a “Rudd agenda” putting Rudd on the same pedestal as Whitlam is risible. It would probably be more accurate to call the ALP (v.1) government as being driven by the “Ken Henry agenda”.

    This government was run by a Kitchen Cabinet of Rudd, Gillard, Swan & Tanner, the so-called Strategic Priorities and Budget Committee (SPBC). All major policies strategies and political tactics were signed off by this group.

    Of course SPBC policy decisions were supposed to rely on detailed technical analysis by departmental officials before being given the green light as Major Reforms (MR). But, according to this report, this process fell victim to Rudd’s micro-managerial analysis paralysis and temper tantrums.

    Does the phrase “dysfunctional decision making style” ring any bells?

    No wonder marginal seated ALP members would prefer to go down with the ship rather than be skippered by this guy again.

  24. ralph
    February 23rd, 2012 at 16:04 | #24

    Gillard wins – but fails to increase support by the end of the year and the third candidate (not Rudd – perhaps Shorten, Combet or even Crean) takes the PMship in the traditional killing season. New PM has summer recess to consolidate/develop new policy agenda and then 6-9 months to sell it and demonstrate ability.

  25. Hermit
    February 23rd, 2012 at 16:24 | #25

    My gut feeling is that 40% of the population would blanch at voting for either Abbott or Rudd. That leaves the option of voting informal or for ‘way out’ candidates like the Shooters Party. In all likelihood it could mean a record lower house vote for the Greens.

    If you think Federal politics won’t get any more bizarre Tasmania provides a foretaste. An overseas parliamentary delegation is trying to drum up timber export business. Later a Greens delegation including a State minister will tell customers why they should stop buying timber. We can look forward to a hamstrung Abbott government running along similar lines.

  26. Sam
    February 23rd, 2012 at 18:17 | #26

    Kim Carr and Martin Ferguson both in the Rudd camp, both carbon price skeptics, both with strong anti-environment credentials. There was some talk yesterday of business leaders calling for a Rudd government to reduce the carbon price to $10.

  27. Chris Warren
    February 23rd, 2012 at 18:21 | #27

    Gillard + Rudd = Abbott

    If Rudd takes over, Windsor and Oakeshott may walk. This could lead to an early election and to an uncontrollable destruction of the ALP at the ballot box. I can see the Liberal electoral adds now, painting the ALP as little more than knives, blood, chaos and catfights. This will sweep up huge swathes of swinging voters.

    With luck, Rudd gets the Christian vote + Doug Cameron + Martin Ferguson and little more.

  28. February 23rd, 2012 at 18:48 | #28

    Odd how it’s Labor academics (and a couple of parliamentary former unionists) who actually want a workplace to be run by a former bastard of boss.

    I don’t think there is any evidence of Rudd changing at all: journalists and MPs know he was a running a “stealth campaign” – he was briefing journalists in his office, according to Barrie Cassidy last week, for God’s sake, and then he turns up on TV denying it, and today suggesting those who are criticising him are “unAustralian”. He’s still a devious faker in my books.

    I always said Rudd got the Prime Ministership by his earnest, gee willickers, Milky Bar kid persona on Sunrise; that combined with an “it’s Time” factor about John Howard who unwisely hung on for too long. It is obvious Rudd is playing up to that old image with the public again today and I find it all kind of creepy how effectively it seems to work. (The other odd thing about him is how he doesn’t seem to have traumatised his kids, despite appearing to have traumatised hundreds of co-workers in his career. People are strange.)

  29. Tom
    February 23rd, 2012 at 19:15 | #29


    It should be obvious to Gillard supporters that given the way in which Rudd was removed, any complaints about his “stealth campaign” are likely to backfire.

    Rudd was removed in a covert, swift and undemocratic way in which the caucus was effectively denied proper deliberation, for reasons that seem to have been more to do with personality clashes than delivering the ALP’s legislative agenda.

    In the aftermath, the ALP under Gillard performed extremely poorly at a federal election, which has led to the foundering of its agenda in office in minority government, and the seeming inevitability of Tony Abbott’s election.

    I say, screw the bastards who made that happen and abandoned the people of Australia to a self-serving unprincipled bigot who’ll do huge damage to the nation.

  30. Sam
    February 23rd, 2012 at 19:55 | #30

    I don’t see what was covert about it. That it was swift was entirely Rudd’s decision. Julia approached him about a challenge, Rudd called for a spill the next morning, then failed to challenge when he realised he didn’t have the numbers. Furthermore, Gillard hadn’t undermined him in the media for the year leading up to it all.

  31. Tom
    February 23rd, 2012 at 20:40 | #31

    @steve Covert? Mark Bahnisch summed it up well at LP:


    “… Ministers such as Lindsay Tanner have gone on the record saying that they knew nothing of what was occurring until it was effectively over”

    Perhaps more importantly, the public had no idea what has happening until it was effectively over either. The people that brokered the deal wanted to present it as a fait accompli because they knew if they conducted their plan in the open, it would be far more difficult to push it through.

    Now they’re in the difficult position of knowing that after they defend Gillard from Rudd, they’ll probably have to start grooming her replacement.

  32. Michael
    February 23rd, 2012 at 20:57 | #32

    Gillard may or may not have been part of a covert campaign of leaks against Rudd, but that doesn’t mean one didn’t occur. How quickly and selectively history is forgotten.
    I’m not sure who I want to win, but I am surprised by the vehemence of the attacks against Rudd which just reflect badly on the whole government. They wouldn’t risk making fools of themselves like Swan and Crean have unless Rudd posed a real threat. It must be a hell of a lot closer than anyone is letting on. Before they started putting the boot in for real I didn’t think Rudd was anywhere near having enough numbers to pose a serious challenge.

  33. Xevram
    February 23rd, 2012 at 21:09 | #33

    Actually speaking for myself, last time I voted it was for my local member, the party he represented, and most importantly the policies that that party promoted, that was the labor party. Incidentally the leader at that time was Mr Rudd, senior labor party members and ministers decided he was unsuitable and we now have PM Gillard. So was the Labor party leader endorsed by me and my vote, yep sure was, my vote amongst others gave the Labor party the authority to decide on the best leader, that is what they did, in a democratic process of voting I believe.

    @Steve from Brisbane “I don’t think there is any evidence of Rudd changing at all: journalists and MPs know he was a running a “stealth campaign” – he was briefing journalists in his office, according to Barrie Cassidy last week, for God’s sake, and then he turns up on TV denying it, and today suggesting those who are criticising him are “unAustralian”. He’s still a devious faker in my books. ”
    There is just zero evidence for this, ‘he said’, ‘I was told’, ‘according to’; this is not evidence or even flimsy proof, it is simply heresay, taken as fact.

    Sorry but I believe we have all been very very ill served by a lot of the mainstream media journalists. How many of you remember this………… http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3813404.html “You couldn’t get a better example of the way news values are being eroded across the media.”

  34. February 23rd, 2012 at 21:37 | #34

    Pr Q said:

    Second, and with somewhat more justification, there’s the fact that Gillard has been successful in getting policy passed where Rudd failed. The unusual circumstance of a House of Reps minority has led most people to overstate the relative difficulty of Gillard’s task…Gillard is a policy-free zone…A more comparable test is that of asylum seekers, where Gillard has done no better than Rudd, arguably worse.

    Umm…aren’t you forgetting something?

    Rudd had the support of the leader of the opposition (Turnbull) to pass his signature piece of legislation. He failed.

    Gillard had the enmity of the leader of the opposition (Abbott) who is willing to sell his own mother in order to stymie the government. She succeeded.

    Rudd had it politically easier and did less. Gillard had it politically harder and did more. Its that simple.

    I would concede that Gillard’s political ear has been as tinny as an old transistor. She has negotiated some solid achievements but has struggled to convert them into political capital:

    Ms Gillard said after just one year of a three year term, her government had passed 237 pieces of legislation.

    The carbon price had passed into law, the roll-out of the National Broadband Network was underway, paid parental was leave delivered, and the mining tax was set to pass, she said.

    There are plenty of lower-order policies that she can take some credit for: kicking Disability Insurance down the road, restructuring federal-state relations in the health and education sectors and championing Community Service pay claims. Sure, not exactly the thing to set the pulse racing, but better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

    As far as Gillard being a “policy-free zone”, her major “independent ventures into policy” have focused on rectifying Rudd’s monumental stuff-ups: the scuttling of Pacific Solution and “Big Australia”. Those are the areas where Rudd got the support of the GREENs and characteristically it ended in tears.

  35. rog
    February 23rd, 2012 at 21:44 | #35

    All the evidence to date points to Rudd being a bit psycho and not fit for government.

  36. Dan
    February 23rd, 2012 at 21:44 | #36

    @Jack Strocchi

    Umm…aren’t you forgetting something?

    The corpse of Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership is in pieces, bagged separately, in the Liberal Party HQ deep freeze, because he tried to deal with Rudd on the ETS.

    As for the Pacific Solution, have you got any evidence whatsoever that Australian asylum seeker policy (anything on or near the table, anyway) has any effect on the volume of arrivals?

    Possum from Crikey demonstrated that there was nix.

  37. February 23rd, 2012 at 21:52 | #37

    Graham Richardson in 2010:

    No one moved against Rudd merely because he treated colleagues with total disdain. But it ensured that when the challenge came, success could be achieved at record pace. The margin, had a ballot occurred, would have been embarrassingly large. Faction leaders didn’t make caucus members hate Rudd; no, that was all Kevin’s own work.

    Hate, by the way, was the right description. From lowly backbenchers to cabinet ministers, I have never come across such loathing towards a leader before, let alone a leader who achieved the biggest swing to Labor since World War II at the 2007 election.


    On a lighter note, Annabel Crabb today:

    Mr Rudd rejects the criticism levelled at him and is, he says, hurt and confused by the attacks from colleagues who label him psychotic, or chaotic, or chronically indecisive. But he is exhibiting, it must be said, some fairly recognisable Ruddly behavioural patterns, viz:

    Holding press conferences in the middle of the night.
    Holding press conferences to announce that he will be holding another press conference in the near future.
    Fan-stalking Hillary Clinton.
    Commissioning what sounds like a small-scale White Paper into the question of whether he should run for the leadership.
    Hoping that people power alone will win his colleagues over.


  38. Michael
    February 23rd, 2012 at 22:24 | #38

    Since the struggle has now gone nuclear it looks like neither Rudd or Gillard will be able to unite the party, a third candidate needs to be found in a hurry. My vote goes to Combet.

    It’s also time for a front bench cleanout. They can’t possibly trash the Labor brand any worse than they have already so they might as well gets some fresh faces in to get some experience before a term in opposition, while the public remembers what the liberals where like.

  39. sjk
    February 23rd, 2012 at 22:25 | #39

    John, are you saying Rudd will push for the Gonski report? Or anything else?

    It is interesting that not even Rudd is making the argument for his ideas, but for his popularity.

    This is about popularity versus competence. It’s depressing, because we need both.

  40. Alan
    February 24th, 2012 at 02:02 | #40


    We have hearsay, not evidence, that Rudd is psycho sic. (Whether ‘psycho’ is an acceptable way to describe someone is another issue)

    We have the evidence of our own eyes and ears to observe Gillard orchestrating a torrent of attacks on Rudd, before and after his resignation, that reads like the records of a show trial in the 1930s. ‘traitor’, ‘psychopath’, etc etc.

    Moreover. apparently Gillard’s various campaign bungles are now exclusively the fault of Rudd.

  41. rog
    February 24th, 2012 at 05:33 | #41

    You have most of the cabinet coming out against Rudd, citing instances of dysfunction. You have an intense media campaign from last Xmas (either all the media is conspiring or Rudd was advising) and you have the damaging leaks during the 2010 election. Not the actions of someone with the national interest at heart.

  42. Adam (ak)
    February 24th, 2012 at 06:27 | #42

    I am not a supporter of ALP but I do dislike Tony Abbott much more than anyone else so what is going on doesn’t make me happy. The ALP party is imploding now, it is not that Kevin Rudd is a psychopath, the whole ALP leadership is a bunch of psychopaths bent on self-destruction of their organisation. The current round of public mud-slinging makes all of them 100% unelectable. These people have lost their sense of public service long time ago now they have turned their knifes on themselves, on their own organisation. They stand for nothing except for self-promotion, telling people tall lies and running dodgy business deals at a local level.

    People will not vote for ALP just because the Government has returned the budget to surplus, burning and slashing everything. People will not vote for ALP because the refugees are left to drown in the sea due to legal and humanitarian concerns rather than end locked up. These people who want austerity, a smaller state and impenetrable border control will vote for the Coalition anyway.

    In my opinion the best possible outcome would be to disband ALP and form a new progressive party which could win the next elections together with the Greens. I know that this is not going to happen and we will have to endure many years of Tony Abbott. His ascent is now inevitable.

    The second best outcome would be for Kevin Rudd to leave the ALP but do not resign from the Parliament thus triggering immediate elections. The farce has to end now – the sooner the better – for the sake of democratic legitimacy of the government and our political system. It is probably better to have Abbott doing silly things with the people’s mandate than lame duck Julia Gillard with no democratic legitimacy doing nothing better.

  43. Alan
    February 24th, 2012 at 07:41 | #43


    So far you have equal numbers of ministers supporting Rudd and Gillard. That is not ‘most of the cabinet’. You have significant figures like Smith and Plibersek refusing to join the Two Minutes’ Hate prescribed by Gillard. And the more than faintly nutty allegations some Gillard supporters are making is not evidence of anything beyond their own folly.

  44. Chris Warren
    February 24th, 2012 at 08:08 | #44

    A jet-lagged Rudd now poses as a policy know-it-all, as if he will solve the hospital crisis, the education crisis and only he has the interestes of Australians at heart.

    Michael Gawenda [ Here ]has exposed the inherent duplicity in the Rudd subversion – backgrounding journalists about a future challenge, but then denying this fact in public.

    Maybe there is some manipulation within the Right particularly the Austtralian Workers Union as a consequence of the mining tax? The AWU can be easily manipulated by mining interests. If Rudd wants to run a policy-based campaign, then why has he omitted the mining tax?

    Rudd is now ranting about how some are supposedly calling him the anti-Christ and son-of-satan, but without providing any evidence. This is all in his head and being spread as part of his maniac campaign.

    Toss him.

  45. February 24th, 2012 at 08:28 | #45


    You seem to never have read some of the anonymously sourced stories put together by a gaggle of journalists about the dysfunctional Rudd and Rudd office after he was deposed. Of course Ministers felt constrained about being too open about it at the time (they were trying to be nice – and taking a gamble that silence would work better than the blood letting,) but stories still came out:


  46. Troy Prideaux
    February 24th, 2012 at 08:43 | #46

    Alan, I need updating. The Cabinet numbers I have:
    Wayne Swan – Gillard
    Chris Evans – Unknown
    Stephen Conroy- Gillard
    Simon Crean- Gillard
    Craig Emerson- Gillard
    Stephen Smith – Unknown
    Chris Bowen – Likely Rudd
    Anthony Albanese – Unknown
    Nicola Roxon- Gillard
    Jenny Macklin – Unknown
    Robert McClelland – Rudd
    Tony Burke – Gillard
    Penny Wong – Gillard
    Peter Garrett – Gillard? I think
    Bill Shorten – Gillard I think
    Joe Ludwig – Unknown
    Martin Ferguson – Rudd
    Greg Combet – Unknown
    Tanya Plibersek – Unknown
    Mark Butler – Unknown

    Kate Ellis – Unknown
    Brendan O’Connor – Unknown
    Warren Snowdon – Unknown
    Mark Arbib – Gillard
    Gary Gray – Unknown
    Jason Clare – Unknown
    Julie Collins – Unknown

  47. February 24th, 2012 at 08:55 | #47

    Based on their recent statements, surely Combet, Plibersek, Macklin and Smith all belong in the “Gillard I think” camp?

  48. Adam (ak)
    February 24th, 2012 at 08:58 | #48

    There is a fundamental misunderstanding what the dispute is about. Julia Gillard and her supporters think that it is about the leadership of the ALP because the broad interpretation of the Westminster system is taken for given. Whoever is the leader of ALP gets the mandate to rule the country. For the people who are not supporters of ALP this is absolutely irrelevant. Do I care who is the chairman of the golf club? No because I don’t play golf. What matters to me is who and how leads the country and what these people stand for. If it is a “budget surplus” and “reforms” I don’t need the ALP for that. In the end it is my vote what counts, not the votes of the members of an obsolete trade union. The contempt shown by the faceless ALP apparatchiks to the elected representatives of the Australian people was also the contempt to the Australian people. We voted for Kevin Rudd not for the apparatchiks in 2007. The current show of disrespect ensures that the ALP party at the federal level will share the well-deserved fate of its NSW branch – no matter what Julia does, what deep “reforms” she undertakes, what she promises or who replaces her 3 weeks before the next elections. There are means to stop the leakage of preferences in our voting system and people know how to exercise their rights.

    Down with the ALP! They are not a progressive party, they are even not a democratic party. They are a bunch of cronies, a living fossil from the 1970s when they had their 5 minutes of fame, with a “new Left” neoliberal face-lift applied by Paul Keating in the 1980s. The PM and her supporters wasted a golden opportunity to shut up yesterday. Today it might be too late.

  49. Troy Prideaux
    February 24th, 2012 at 09:07 | #49

    @steve from brisbane
    Steve, yes, certainly Combet and Plibersek and I’ll take your word for Macklin and Smith.

  50. Chris Warren
    February 24th, 2012 at 09:15 | #50

    Kim Carr appears to be supporting Rudd. With Doug Cameron, and Ferguson, is this

    narcissistic individuals in the Left supporting narcissistic drivers in wider politics.

  51. Troy Prideaux
    February 24th, 2012 at 09:23 | #51

    @Chris Warren
    Opps, yes,

    Ministry omissions:
    Carr – Rudd
    Julie Collins – Unknown

  52. Ken_L
    February 24th, 2012 at 09:46 | #52

    #48 sums it up nicely. I would only add that if we evaluate what Rudd is DOING, as opposed to what everyone concerned is SAYING, he may well concur and be in the vanguard of the change. He is not a stupid man and must know his actions will split the Party, not lead to a triumphant return to The Lodge.

  53. Ken_L
    February 24th, 2012 at 09:48 | #53

    Sorry I meant #42 more than #48.

  54. February 24th, 2012 at 11:02 | #54

    Nicola Roxan giving more detail of haphazard way Kevin’s “vision” evolved:

    Ms Roxon also rejected Mr Rudd’s assertion today that the watered down health reform deal that was eventually struck between Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the states did not go through a proper cabinet process.

    “This is just a complete joke and it’s such a joke because we went through a very detailed health reform process with Kevin as prime minister and we were able to progress an enormous amount of things that he should be proud of and I am proud of as well,” Ms Roxon said.

    “But many of those things, including the biggest proposals that Kevin wanted to act on, he wanted with four days notice on one occasion that I can recollect, to take over the entire health system, didn’t have any materials for cabinet, didn’t have legal advice.”

    Ms Roxon said that was a “ludicrous” way to run a government.

    “We didn’t do that, because we were able to talk Kevin into some sense.”

    With the increasing detail of the haphazard style of leadership and management, it amazes me that they are any supporters of Rudd at all in the government. To push for him is a push for mere (ill founded) populism over substance.

  55. Alan
    February 24th, 2012 at 11:03 | #55

    @steve from brisbane

    I know Smith and Plibersek support Gillard. What they refused to support last night on Lateline was the ‘Comrade Rudd is a counterrevolutionary’ crap coming from Gillard, Swann and others and eagerly adopted by some commenters on this blog.

  56. Mike
    February 24th, 2012 at 11:37 | #56

    Let’s get real and grow up.

    The idea that Rudd could form a credible government with Gillard, Swan, Burke, Crean, Roxon, Conroy and other former ministers sitting on the backbenches is absurd.

    Whatever Rudd’s positive qualities, which are no doubt boundless in his own mind, his becoming leader would be a disaster.

    He will almost certainly lose on Monday. The challenge for the ALP and the caucus is how to neutralise his poisonous presence on the backbenches. That will require some very sharp discussions with his supporters about their future conduct and their long-term futures as elected representatives.

    Rudd needs to be removed from parliament as soon as possible. Difficult but essential.

  57. Ken_L
    February 24th, 2012 at 11:46 | #57

    Mike it will be equally difficult for Ferguson, Carr, McClelland and perhaps Bowen to continue to serve as ministers in a Gillard Government, thus my comment #2.

  58. Koala
    February 24th, 2012 at 11:57 | #58


    So where is there evidence for “Comrade rudd is a counter-revolutionary” from Gillard, Swan and others.

  59. Troy Prideaux
    February 24th, 2012 at 12:11 | #59

    Further, if Rudd gets more than 35 votes (looking unlikely), these issues/problems will persist.

  60. Mike
    February 24th, 2012 at 12:20 | #60

    Troy – the best result would be a vote of less than 30. The less the better. The resulting humiliation may force Rudd, even with his monumental political ego, to conclude that there is little point in remaining in parliament.

    Perhaps Gillard could then offer him a suitable diplomatic post – in Syria? Iraq?

  61. may
    February 24th, 2012 at 12:24 | #61

    all gossip and surmise to one side the part played by the “news” broadcasters in all this is what has caught my attention.

    the spotlight is about to be trained on media ownership.
    the absolute paucity of info on what is happening to the murdoch empire in UK&USA.
    except to say the Oz arm has done a thorough search of local systems and has found no.repeat.no.incriminating emails.
    you betcha.
    the austar and fox merger in limbo at the mo.
    the trickle of info about somthing to do with the ABC and fox.
    Rudds preference (vaguely remembered)before being relieved of the PM possie for something to do with a contract for fox.

    what a small suspicious mind .

  62. Charles
    February 24th, 2012 at 17:39 | #62

    What can one say John, as the revelations come one one after the other, it is clear your on the wrong side of the track.

  63. rog
    February 24th, 2012 at 18:16 | #63

    The Rudd thing is a bit of a paradox, one the one hand he has the intelligence to generate good policy and he does have legitimacy to the throne ie he led the party to an election win and he chose the members and cabinet, in defiance of the collective. But is unable to delegate authority and is a poor manager and a poor leader.

    On the other hand a significant if not major proportion of the electorate believe that whatever Rudds failings they elected him, it was their choice and to have their choice overridden by some secret society is not on.

    And that is where it lies, deomcracy should prevail and in doing so it could destroy the alp.

  64. Alan
    February 24th, 2012 at 18:44 | #64

    It is interesting see people get so heated about who and how the ALP will select as next leader of the opposition.

  65. David C
    February 24th, 2012 at 19:47 | #65

    The reason why any of this is going on is because of the polls. It wouldn’t matter if Rudd or Gillard were leader. Tony Abbot has done a sterling job in convincing the Labor working class voters that the carbon tax will make them worse off. Its also a message that the working class are getting from their employers.

  66. Hermit
    February 25th, 2012 at 06:21 | #66

    The senior journalists for the Murdoch press are no doubt working on the story lines for Monday. ‘Dark Days for Democracy’. ‘Abbott handed victory on a plate’. ‘We’re stuck with the worst prime minister in a century’.

    It’s as if our national news network was run by twelve year olds.

  67. February 25th, 2012 at 06:48 | #67

    I’m seeing lots of parallels between this and other upcoming elections elsewhere (Obama in the States, Sarkozy in France, Putin in Russia to name a few). In each case, it’s the “lesser of two evils” line that’s being repeated by many.

    I’ve never met Rudd or Gillard. However, let’s assume that the MSM has actually reported some facts. Example: Rudd is a poor manager and extremely short-tempered(yes, I’m being polite). Assuming that’s true, in this stressful economy, would YOU want to work for someone like that? Even if the salary grade is higher than in the private sector, is it worth the stress?

    Gillard has no policies and is presenting a bad image to other countries. Is that totally based on facts, sexism or both?

    To those who say Abbot would be better, I disagree. On this, I agree with Rudd. Consistently in his comments and recent on-the-job actions, he’s behind the times. Then, to somehow laugh it off with a who cares attitude isn’t good enough (IMO).

    If Rudd loses the vote on Monday, would he quit Parliament and just be another pundit? I seriously doubt it. One reason is because at least he admits the truth that global warming is real. He may not be the perfect politician. Then again, how many other world leaders are admitting the truth and realizing that somebody has to pay for it?

  68. Troy Prideaux
    February 25th, 2012 at 09:46 | #68

    Whilst this has been a particularly nasty, ugly week from cabinet, I’ve actually been reasonably impressed with both Gillard’s and Rudd’s performances with their public deliveries.

  69. Troy Prideaux
    February 25th, 2012 at 09:51 | #69

    Tom :
    If Rudd loses the vote on Monday, would he quit Parliament and just be another pundit? I seriously doubt it. One reason is because at least he admits the truth that global warming is real. He may not be the perfect politician. Then again, how many other world leaders are admitting the truth and realizing that somebody has to pay for it?

    If he really spits that infamous dummy (again) and resigns politics, that would likely royally screw everything up for everyone other than Abbott.

  70. Ikonoclast
    February 25th, 2012 at 10:08 | #70

    I am amused at the way a number of former cabinet colleagues are saying Kevin Rudd is a big, bad bully and if they have to work with him again they will cry. I mean to say, these are all adult, hard bitten, Labor politicians and apparatchiks who came up through the streetfighting, infighting and backstabbing of the ALP (and unions) and not only survived, but prospered. These people are not shrinking violets nor are they pansies – to use a few flowery metaphors. The claim that they cannot cope with working with Rudd is a big furphy, a big meat pie, a lie.

    A lie of equal proportions (being pushed by Julia Gillard) is that Kevin Rudd is some kind of unstable sociopath (I mean more so than most politicians are anyway). Well hello! Julia made him Foreign Minister. What must that say about her judgement if it is true?

    The facts of the matter are that;

    (1) Everyone is lying out of reputation-covering, self-interest and ambition. (This includes Kevvy too.)
    (2) The mining corporates have already told the ALP who must be PM (or the donations will stop).

  71. Dan
    February 25th, 2012 at 11:00 | #71

    This is quite a good article by someone reasonably close to Rudd that bears out what I was saying – that the guy is a walking disaster zone.


  72. Ikonoclast
    February 25th, 2012 at 12:09 | #72

    In summary, James Button says “Look, I don’t know either of them at all but Kevvie is horrible and Julia is wonderful. Can anyone else spot the glaring error in his reasoning?

    Can anyone recall that ABC show about Julia Gillard? I don’t even recall the title or show as I caught it after the opening credits. However, it took a low key, plain documentary style just showing Julia speaking over the years as she made her way through politics. There was no editorialising and the excerpts of Julie were long enough to give context and were thus clearly not taken out of context. The juxtaposition of her statements over the years revealed a person who occupied no real position and changed her position at will every time (often to the dimetric opposite) for pure political expediency.

  73. Mel
    February 25th, 2012 at 12:48 | #73

    Ikonoclast @20:

    “(2) The mining corporates have already told the ALP who must be PM (or the donations will stop).”

    If you make claims like this you really do need to provide the evidence. If you can’t furnish evidence don’t clog up the thread with childish crap.

  74. Sam
    February 25th, 2012 at 13:10 | #74

    The other point I wanted to make is that Rudd’s “big ideas” John talks about are actually from things like the Henry review, and think tank reports. Gillard can read these reports as well as anyone, and actually implement them.

  75. Adam (ak)
    February 25th, 2012 at 13:47 | #75


    Please google for “Mining industry dug deep to shaft Rudd over tax” by Mark Davis, written on February 2, 2011. (The Age)

    “HOW much does it cost to bring down a prime minister? The answer: just a tad over $22 million. That’s how much the mining industry spent in just six weeks last year on its political campaign against Kevin Rudd’s plan for a resource super profit tax.”

    This is actually cheaper than the “revolution” in Georgia which replaced Shevardnadze with Saakashvili. This ultimate act of democracy cost Soros USD42mln (source: Wikipedia).

    Anyway this ALP / Abbott saga is getting more and more boring. We really should outsource our government and legislative to Serco and invite professional comedians like Sasha Baron Cohen to entertain us by running the daily show in Canberra. He has a lot of relevant experience as a statesman and looks really great. Not only the “Coal-ition” but also ALP support privatisation of essential services and market-driven solutions which lead to efficient allocation of resources.

  76. alfred venison
    February 25th, 2012 at 14:06 | #76

    dear Ikonoclast
    i hear you – i’m with you on this one. but i’m not sure big coal has it wrapped up quite as much as they’d like this time, because (1) the machinations are more out in the open, and (2) the caucus is involved from the beginning. this time around its a bit more democratic & from a corporate interventionist’s point of view, more messy & uncertain of outcome.

    i see rudd’s appealing to the populace to contact their alp reps directly as a gambit to outflank the mining corporations & their thanes in the right faction of the alp, and to work more directly on the caucus members & not through their factions, for the obvious reasons that (1) factional resources are denied them, and (2) the factions are white anted by corporate tools.

    if rudd gets back i’ll read it as a setback locally & internationally for corporations in their depredations against nation states. i’d wager alison redford in alberta, confronting big oil over royalties after ed stelmach’s dismissal & facing a provincial election soon, is watching this contest with some interest and would take heart should rudd win.
    yours sincerely
    alfred venison

  77. Donald Oats
    February 25th, 2012 at 14:32 | #77

    I remember the manner in which John Howard became prime minister: it took at least three serious attempts, and some, on occasion, incredibly vicious fights against other Liberal party members (Malcolm Fraser?, Andrew Peacock, Andrew Peacock again, John Hewson, and Alexander Downer), before Howard came out on top. During those fights and periods of sin-binning, John Howard figured out the mechanics of discipline. Whether you admire him or despise him isn’t my point; rather, he evolved over time from a one-time spiteful player to the guy that locked the ALP out of policy making for a decade or so.

    The ALP leadership contention could, possibly, show Rudd evolving along a similar path. One thing is very clear though: if Rudd succeeds at the count, he will have to show much better people management skills than he has to date. His pathological “work-ethic” is one such item he must curtail, for it just leads to burn-out of his staff for no good reason I can fathom.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if Rudd actually manages to muster the numbers, or close to the numbers, by the time of the Caucus meeting. After all, he can threaten to resign outright, ie from government entirely, something that might persuade a few of the nervous Nellies to sway his way.

    Finally, the more I hear about how Rudd is dysfunctional, the more it puts Julia Gillard in stark relief, and not in a good way. Rudd wanted an ETS; she wanted to ban it some time before Rudd tossed it in, leaving Rudd no alternative but to give it away. Then there is the “real” Julia fiasco, an idea that was so boneheadedly daft as to be in a category all of its own. The tent embassy thing. All the things Pr Q has mentioned in this post. And so on. As a deputy PM, Julia was a great asset; as PM, dishwater holds greater lustre.

  78. February 25th, 2012 at 15:07 | #78

    The pursuit of the nuclear strategy, to completely destroy Kevin Rudd has failed, as illustrated by Anthony Alabanese’s support today. In the light of the polling, reinforced by the current results, this was always a deeply flawed, misconstrued approach. I think it is the case now that Julia Gillard cannot sustain her leadership, that electoral defeat is more or less inevitable. Whatever her qualities, especially in the context of a minority government, she should now resign. That would mean that the caucus spill motion would need to be postponed to allow any alternative contenders for the parliamentary leadership of the ALP to step forward.

  79. Donald Oats
    February 25th, 2012 at 16:06 | #79

    The biggest problem for Gillard is that her words, upon taking office from Kevin Rudd, were: “This was a government that had lost its way.”

    Well, how has she ensured that it has found its way, since she uttered those words? If she cannot answer that, then I think she has problems.

    Wonder if a dark horse will put their hand up at the last second? That could split the vote, making the choice of leader even more murky.

  80. Ken_L
    February 25th, 2012 at 16:18 | #80

    At least James Button qualifies as a source of primary evidence, having met Kevin Rudd four times and therefore obviously having access to the innermost circles of the government. So let’s accept his conclusions. Rudd was impossible to work for. Hopeless.

    Nicola Roxon has given an example (see #4). Having a PM interfere in the responsibilities of a minister like that must have been intolerable. No doubt that is why she did the principled thing and res … oh wait, she didn’t. But at least it accounts for all the other resignations by ministers who couldn’t abide this ‘impossible to work with’ management style. Oh hang on, that’s not right either. I don’t remember anyone resigning in protest at this purportedly intolerable management style that was doing so much damage to the government (and therefore to Australia). Remarkable. But they are all honourable men and women so we cannot doubt their motives.

    I don’t know if many people have called Andrew Peacock morally courageous but at least he once resigned his ministry in protest at his his PM’s management style, and told the parliament and the Australian people why. “Not to be endured’ he called it if I recall correctly. Apparently that never occurred to all the ministers who now tell us what a dreadful PM Kevin Rudd was. They endured the unendurable. Not that I want to criticise them because they are all honourable men and women.

    The deputy leader loyally covered the back of her boss even though he was impossible to work with. She never seemed to think she might owe a duty to her party and the electorate to resign in protest six months before the next election, so everyone could get to hear the evidence and make up their own minds. No, she just pretended everything was fine, which seems a bit odd but I do not criticise her because she is an honourable woman. So were they all, all honourable men and women.

    No, nobody seems to have thought of doing anything like resigning, even with this dysfunctional maniac prime minister destroying Australia’s future. They just got on with their work like brave little soldiers until union hacks like Paul Howes told them it was time to change leaders before Rudd won another election and really screwed the factional system, whereupon they did the deed overnight and immediately called an election to stop anyone in the parliamentary party questioning events too closely.

    And to cap it all, they gave one of the most senior and important ministries in the new government to the bloke they all agree is impossible to work with. Why do they hate the poor bloody public servants at DFAT? Even newly-annointed expert insider James Button concedes this was a bit strange. But I am sure there were good reasons not related to self-interest, because they are all honourable men and women.

    This is the narrative they now try to sell us. Rudd was an appalling tyrant who destroyed the government but they declined to do the most obvious thing to correct the situation by resigning in protest. Even if it is true, it reveals them to be a bunch of unprincipled spineless jellyfish who aren’t fit to run a students’ union (which seems to be where most of them learnt their political tactics), let alone a country.

  81. rog
    February 25th, 2012 at 17:57 | #81

    @Donald Oats Taking that a little further, it is now up to Julia to take control of the situation and properly establish her credentials as a leader.

    That is, showing the way.

  82. Alan
    February 25th, 2012 at 19:07 | #82

    Julia has destroyed herself, Rudd and possibly the Labor Party itself. She has not only written Abbot’s campaign themes she has done most of the pre-production for him. All he needs to do is ass the Elecoral Act authorisation at the end.

  83. Jill Rush
    February 25th, 2012 at 19:07 | #83

    What seems most clear is that Kevin Rudd is charming words while Julia Gillard is action. Kevin Rudd will try hard for the numbers but a Labor Party that takes the Survivor approach will be quickly voted off the island. Going with Rudd will be a choice to go down with the Titanic if being voted off the island isn’t enough.

    What is needed at this point is a refusal to go along with madness which is what a Rudd choice would be. Rog is right that she needs to show the same steely reserve that she had in the courtyard last week.

  84. Troy Prideaux
    February 25th, 2012 at 19:42 | #84

    Jill Rush :
    What seems most clear is that Kevin Rudd is charming words while Julia Gillard is action. Kevin Rudd will try hard for the numbers but a Labor Party that takes the Survivor approach will be quickly voted off the island. Going with Rudd will be a choice to go down with the Titanic if being voted off the island isn’t enough.

    To borrow some Pat Flannery phrasing:
    Alas, the Titanic already has a 50ft gouge in its bow with 2 Costa Concordia captains battling for the wheel and the entire Coalition Shadow Cabinet on deck cheering them on. Going down looks somewhat unavoidable.

  85. Alan
    February 25th, 2012 at 19:42 | #85

    How is Gillard action? How is enacting watered-down versions of the Rudd agenda in a a much more favorable legislative environment a credential for action?

  86. Jill Rush
    February 25th, 2012 at 20:30 | #86

    Julia Gillard has managed to get more through the parliament with a hung lower house than Rudd managed in all his time because he refused to work with the Greens. It may be less than desired but the emissions trading plan is better than Rudd’s.
    Rudd has been helped by the Murdoch media which has sold more papers than it would have otherwise but they are supporting Rudd because he has been far more sympathetic to them than the current regime. Rudd would have happily handed over the overseas broadcasts to Sky and he no doubt will water down the current media enquiry if he is selected. Just before he is toppled by Tony Abbott.

  87. Alan
    February 25th, 2012 at 20:52 | #87

    Gillard has a friendly senate. Although she does not have a majority in the house 4 of the independents are well-disposed to her government and programme. Rudd has a amjority in the house but an unfriendly senate.

    Gillard herself was one of those who advocated not dealing with the Greens during the Rudd government and whose personal opposition to the CPRS went well beyond mere cabinet advocacy. What she in fact proposed was co-operating with Tony Abbot in a direct action plan.

    You can see the Gillard plan in action with her idea for the Malaysia Solution where she thinks it better to beseech Abbot for support than to deal with the Greens and make concessions on offshore processing. About the only steely quality is the knife she is willing to sink into her opponents within the ALP.

    The rest is pure rightwing blancmange.

  88. rog
    February 25th, 2012 at 20:55 | #88

    This is getting like the breakup of a marriage, the parents are arguing over the assets and the kids are traumatised.

  89. February 25th, 2012 at 22:28 | #89


    The take-home lesson from the disastrous ALP leadership stoush is the complete and abject failure of ALP insider politics in particular and political elitism in general. The only justification for Machiavellian politics, most notoriously practised by the NSW Right from Graeme Richardson through to Mark Arbib, is political success. But the Arbib-Bitar method has turned a potentially successful ALP government into a circular firing squad.

    The political implosion of Gough’s moralistic politics was shattering to many ALP supporter. So for a long time – roughly from the rise of Hawke through the demise of Carr – I thought that the Machiavellian mode of political activity was acceptable so long as it delivered results.

    Arguably it did, the Hawke-Keating government did much good. Whilst Wran and Carr at least seemed to be reasonably competent and not corrupt – they set the bar low in Sydney! But it stinks of failure now, from the catastrophic degeneration of NSW ALP through to the slow-motion car-wreck of Federal ALP.

    Gillard bought into the Richardson-Arbib method and is now reaping the bitter harvest. Politics as a machine-operated, spin-doctored, spoils-distributing form of post-modernism. With the people looking on with a mixture of bemusement and irritation at the unseemly spectacle.

    So I was wrong to champion Machiavellianism and Pr Q was right to take the high moral ground, in this department at least. Of course there are still cases where Machiaveillianism is justified, but it requires a much higher calibre of political leader (eg De Gaulle) and only as a one-off when the stakes are high (apres the liberation). It doesnt work well as a politics as usual MO, especially in a savvy and cynical electorate.

    What irks me is that I should have tumbled to this earlier since FWIW, my entire critique of post-modern liberalism is based on a rejection of elitism in New Right financial and New Left cultural domains. Machiavellianism is the ultimate form of political elitism I should have applied my own principles to this ghastly practice. Obviously there is a temptation for people to carry on like insiders but the truth is “no one knows anything”.

    More generally, populism is based on the evolutionary principle of subjecting population members to on-going critical selection by the environment, which in this case is the electorate. Elitism is a way of avoiding proper selection processes. It is a form of cheating the test.

    Rudd is taking a populist approach so I would have support him even though I can’t stand the guy’s personality and find his “Big Australia” policy to be fundamentally destructive of social democracy. But at least he is committed to keeping the “faceless men” in line. I trust the people to keep him in line.

  90. Alan
    February 25th, 2012 at 23:56 | #90


    That is actually a faithful image. When one of the parties to a divorce lines up proxies to call the other a ‘psychopath’ they are generally not, despite all the steely and passionate avowals in the world, acting in the best interest of their kids.

  91. February 26th, 2012 at 00:05 | #91

    Anthony Albanese by his own account consulted with people around him, including ALP members and perhaps voters generally. He then reached his own decision. What a novel approach for a democratic representative? He must believe that he gained his seat from the support of the branch members and not the power brokers. Things may be different in the Illawarra, given the prevailing party culture, but the electorate behavior has significantly changed, which should be cause for pause for the representatives of the people, but probably won’t be.

  92. rog
    February 26th, 2012 at 04:45 | #92

    The only consolation is that the lib/nat coalition shares the same characteristics of the labor marriage.

    As JQ has previously noted principles are mandatory for good governance and the alp have woken up to find that they have none. Which puts them on par with the lib/nat coalition, tweedledum and tweedeldee.

  93. Chris Warren
    February 26th, 2012 at 07:38 | #93

    @Jack Strocchi

    Rudd used “faceless men” more than anyone else.

    He deliberately briefed four journalists privately so they would not identify his face to the public, and have not even identified their own ‘faces”.

    So when Rudd rants about the faceless men – this is an act of guilt.

  94. Socrates
    February 26th, 2012 at 08:02 | #94

    I think this article by Maxine McKew is very damaging to the pro-Gillard camp and completely contradicts many of their claims. McKew confirms that Gillard (with Mark Arbib) was the prime instigator of the disastrous ETS backflip; it also demolishes the autocratic excuse for the 2010 coup. McKew says what many here have said – the coup was just about seizing power.

  95. Alan
    February 26th, 2012 at 08:17 | #95

    And ‘shirt-fronting’ is such a great addition to the political dictionary.

  96. February 26th, 2012 at 08:35 | #96

    Chris Warren @ #43 said:

    when Rudd rants about the faceless men – this is an act of guilt.

    Rudd might have gotten his hands dirty but at least he is a populist which means he is always redeemable in the eyes of the public. Not so the back-room boys.

    The phrase “faceless men” is a metaphor for all that is wrong with the so-called Machiavellian elements of the ALP. That is, the insider political culture of machine-operating, focus-grouping, spin-doctoring, spoils-distributing factional heavy-weights. They kid themselves that they are the “hard men” who’ve “got the numbers” to do “whatever it takes” to “put the fix in” and get a “done deal”.

    In reality they are only pseudo-Machiavellians: a life-time ministerial pension is difficult to justify as a good end for the public and the means they choose are obviously not fit for purpose going by the historic drubbing into which they are heading.

    The public are not mugs. Australia has always had one of the savviest electorates in the world, and most voters now have some form of tertiary education. They might cop a swifty now and then, but they won’t wear this constant contempt from their leaders.

    True they are a bit cranky now, possibly a bit of outer-suburban mortgage stress contributing to sales resistance to the carbon tax. But mostly they are pi**ed off with politicians abusing their trust.

    If Rudd’s challenge lances this boil in the party’s butt then at least it will have achieved something, which is vindicate the principle of popular legitimacy. Hopefully he will win, reconnect with the electorate and go on to beat Abbott.

  97. Ikonoclast
    February 26th, 2012 at 08:41 | #97


    Yep, Maxine McKew sums it up perfectly;

    “Many Australians have not forgiven Gillard for cutting down a first-term prime minister and then trying to pretend that it was in the national interest to do so. The struggles she has had since the disastrous election campaign of August 2010 to establish her own authentic brand of leadership can all be traced back to the early months of 2010. In forcing a policy backflip on a cause she advocated in 2007, she has defined herself forever as just another political operator. Her constant mantra of ”getting the job done” earns no credit. The effort is seen as tainted.

    It’s because there was never a plan for what to do next. There was only ever a plan to knock off Rudd.”

  98. Chris Warren
    February 26th, 2012 at 08:42 | #98

    Rudd’s hands are more than dirty – they are blackened with rotton politics as an instigator, not respondent.

    Factions are normal and healthy, and exist in society at large and right through life even into the smallest office where office politics often erupts. Unions, churches, the media, and social movements all have factions. Even families have factions.

    Factions are the only way most rank-and-filers get to have a say.

  99. Chris Warren
    February 26th, 2012 at 08:45 | #99


    Maxine McKew is not a disinterested observer.

  100. Socrates
    February 26th, 2012 at 08:49 | #100


    Most of Gillard’s cabinet are not disinterested either, when they criticise Rudd. The question is whether McKew is being honest. If so, Gillard’s stated reasons for seizing power are self- serving lies.

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