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Game on

June 26th, 2013

With the return of Kevin Rudd to the Labor leadership and presumably the Prime Ministership, Australian politics is worth talking about once again. A couple of observations

* It’s worth watching Rudd’s press conference today, and his last couple. More policy substance in a few minutes than Gillard and Abbott between them have provided in three years

* I saw the Libs YouTube ad with Labor figures attacking Rudd – the list included Richardson (the single person most responsible for corruption in the Labor party), Conroy, Latham, Swan and of course Gillard herself. It’s hard to see that being attacked by this crew can be regarded as a bad thing.

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  1. June 26th, 2013 at 21:35 | #1

    When Rudd was elected in 2007, I really liked him. But just as it became obvious to the ALP that the government was rudderless, so it did to me. When he made an air hostess cry because she failed to produce a hair dryer, I felt uneasy, but didn’t really worry about it. But clearly it was symptomatic of the problems of Rudd’s leadership.

    I sincerely hope that Rudd can change his spots. But given that he has spent most of the last 3 years undermining the government from within, it seems unlikely.

    Anyway, I’m sure Rudd will perform very well over the next few months. And I do hope that Tony Abbott and his rabble don’t end up in government. But I don’t feel like I have any voting choice that I feel enthusiastic about.

  2. Ron E Joggles
    June 26th, 2013 at 21:42 | #2

    Well, I didn’t want this to happen, and I didn’t think it would (though of course as a loyal Labor member I’ll still support the leader), and I hope it will be acknowledged that Julia Gillard has achieved much despite leading a minority govt, an achievement that would have been beyond Kevin Rudd or Tony Abbott – but of course, Prof JQ, you’ve called it correctly and consistently all along, congratulations – and now we get to see if Rudd actually has what it takes to save this sinking ship.

  3. June 26th, 2013 at 21:45 | #3

    Pr Q said:

    * It’s worth watching Rudd’s press conference today, and his last couple. More policy substance in a few minutes than Gillard and Abbott between them have provided in three years

    Carbon & Mining Tax up & running. National Disabilty passed. Gonski on the table. I guess Gillards main fault was that she focused on implementing policy, rather than just talking about it.

    Rudd talks a great game on policy, who can forget the policy fest on offer in the great 20-20 Summit. Oh wait a minute…maybe we should forget that.

    Rudds latest speech aired a lot of windy rhetoric about the Chinese century, can’t remember anything else on policy, apart fom Abbott fear-mongering. NTTIATWWT.

    Rudds greatest feature in the electorate is his greatest bug in the party: he is hated by the ALP machine. As Faulkner never tires of repeating, the ALP machine is poisoning social democracy. The public generally like social democratic policy, but the public hates ALP machine politics.

    The ideal ALP leader would have been a Rudd-Gillard hybrid: Rudd to do the policy jaw-flapping in public, Gillard to do the political arm-twisting in private.

    This is the one and only time I could make a good faith support for transgender agenda.

  4. June 26th, 2013 at 21:53 | #4

    I think over the last few years we really have all learnt that Australia is still too misogynist to tolerate a female leader, that radio is mostly a cesspool of hatred and villainy, that the Murdoch empire is strictly a partisan propaganda service rather than a news service, and that Fairfax/TV aren’t much better. But if this is what it takes to keep Murdoch/Abbott out of government (which was inevitable otherwise) or at least keep a Greens balance of power in the senate then so be it. Maybe given a decade or two we will have a better society, with a reality-based media and some semblance of equality.

    We can only hope. A Murdoch/Abbott government would only cause us to regress further, on both of those issues.

  5. Hermit
    June 26th, 2013 at 21:57 | #5

    That’s great about policy substance shame he reneged on his core promise to reduce carbon pollution. It took someone with cojones to reintroduce it. When Ruddslide II fails to eventuate we will get the likes of Corey Bernardi dictating climate policy. Perhaps Rudd will be remembered for the second time as a spoiler. If Abbott survives til 2016 Rudd supporters will probably have exhausted their slender political capital. I’d urge Gillard to consider a comeback. Meanwhile I’m voting Pirates Party even if I have to write it in on the voting slip.

  6. Mel
    June 26th, 2013 at 22:00 | #6

    Swan to the backbench would be a huge bonus. That guy gives off such seriously negative vibes even when he has good news to deliver.

    Hopefully Rudd can remain composed until S14.

    Anyway, I’m thinking a 54-46 Coalition victory give or take 2 points is the most likely outcome.

  7. Jim Rose
    June 26th, 2013 at 22:08 | #7

    Rudd has to make one mistake for his poll bump to disappear. most likely outcome is he will lose his own seat in the election.

    the problem of labor is not personalities, its their policies.

    none of these leadership changes made major differences to policies. it is those policies and shallowness of character behind them that lost the votes.

  8. June 26th, 2013 at 22:11 | #8

    @Joel
    Well said Joel.

    Its weird watching the ABC reporters being sorry for Julia when they were quite happy to aid her downfall.

  9. June 26th, 2013 at 22:15 | #9

    Jim Rose :
    the problem of labor is not personalities, its their policies.

    The only thing worse than Labor’s policies is those of the LNP, particularly the ones they won’t announce.

  10. June 26th, 2013 at 22:27 | #10

    The ABC’s “coverage” is probably the most pointless thing I have ever seen on TV since the Telly Tubbies.

  11. Sean Cooney
    June 26th, 2013 at 22:34 | #11

    As someone with a very high regard for John Quiggin, who otherwise finds his work extremely helpful and persuasive, I don’t understand the constant belittling of Gillard. Nor the reluctance to accept that intelligent, experienced people have made searing criticisms of Rudd’s time as PM, as well as his subsequent behaviour. Sure, we can dismiss the comments of Conroy, Latham, and Swan, but it is much harded to ignore people like Nicola Roxon (a Supreme Court prize winner and an excellent health minister and AG) or Gillard supporters like Andrew Leigh and Greg Combet. Nor first-hand accounts of Rudd’s managerial style by perceptive and honest writers such as James Button.

    In relation to the claim that Gillard has little policy achievements, people might care to read some of the legislation passed in this and previous years.

    Gillard has fought very determinedly to maintain a viable working majority both within her party and within the parliament. She then graciously resigned when she lost support. I think this is very admirable, even though I don’t agree with several of her policies.

    I hope that Rudd beats Abbott – he is certainly a better mass media communicator than Gillard – but if his supporters don’t help him change some of his behaviours tonight may be a Pyrrhic victory.

  12. steve from brisbane
    June 26th, 2013 at 22:39 | #12

    I thought Gillard gave a gracious speech and a good and convincing list of her government’s accomplishments. I find it truly puzzling how Prof Q thinks inspiring policy shines out of Kevin. He has always struck me as shallow and populist, and winged it in terms of implementation with poor results, even allowing that he was on the right side of climate change. (Although even then, I thought what we got under Gillard was considered better by many than the Rudd version. )

  13. steve from brisbane
    June 26th, 2013 at 22:42 | #13

    What Sean said…..

  14. Alan
    June 26th, 2013 at 22:52 | #14

    I’m pretty sad, although I’ve frequently called on these pages for this to happen.

    When Gillard became prime minister I was delighted. She lost me in a matter of days by a string of shallow populist policies on refugees, climate change and marriage equality. Later, my feelings grew stronger as I learnt more about the actual circumstances in which Rudd abandoned the ETS and who pressed that abandonment.

    Gillard made a gracious and engaging speech tonight, I wish she had communicated as well as that in the last 3 years and 2 days and I wish her government had not been so shallow, so populist, so conservative. Watching her tonight I was reminded how I felt when she took the job, and how few of my expectations were ever met.

  15. Hermit
    June 26th, 2013 at 22:52 | #15

    I agree that a period in the wilderness could be cathartic for the ALP and it will give Joe Public a chance to see what actually works e.g. turning back the boats and Direct Action. That in turn reflects on the vacuity of the publicly funded ABC by not doing their job of hounding Abbott with tough questions. Strangely they seemed to be in sync with the Murdoch press.

    If x% of voters disdain if not detest both Rudd and Abbott but the system says we will get a Laberal government regardless then respect for politics must decline. With the departure of independents who were true gentlemen we will now most likely get a wave of hacks and ignoramuses.

  16. Michael
    June 26th, 2013 at 23:04 | #16

    The point most of the comments miss is that politics these days is not driven by policy or even good management. Abbott has no policies of substance on the table and no one is interested in seriously evaluating whatever thought bubbles pass coalition policy either. The contest is all about who can command an air of authority and set the agenda in the media. Rudd can do that, and for some reason Gillard hasn’t managed to.
    From all reports Gillard is an effective manager and a skilled negotiator and her record seems to suggest that. Until she learns the other sadly more critical skills she can’t win an election in Australia. History will probably treat her better and she made a cracker of a speech, but she has lost the fight this time.

  17. steve from brisbane
    June 26th, 2013 at 23:32 | #17

    Michael, I have no problem with admitting Gillard (and Swan) have not been great at playing the PR game of politics. (I think Garrett has been a salesman failure too.) But that doesn’t address our puzzlement as to what Prof Q sees in K Rudd, and his obvious animosity towards Gillard who got pretty good policy outcomes in a difficult parliament.

  18. Michael
    June 26th, 2013 at 23:43 | #18

    I support Rudd’s return on the basis of two things. He has a chance of averting a landslide, and second, I would say don’t believe the hype around Rudd’s supposedly devastating character flaws. I’m sure there is a grain of truth in it, and all effective propaganda has a grain of truth, but it was exaggerated. The problem that has dogged the ALP is that they were never able to come up with a convincing story for removing Rudd in the first place because the reasons were mostly internal. Also Rudd will not be implementing policies single handedly, but somewhere you need a salesperson and I don’t see any other, and if there was one lurking on the front bench they would have emerged by now.

  19. June 26th, 2013 at 23:46 | #19

    For a very brief moment tonight I thought this country might make a change in direction.

    That lasted for about the first few minutes of Rudd’s “victory” speech.

    What did “New Improved Rudd” offer?

    Refugees? Nothing.

    Neo-Liberalism? Nothing.

    Climate Change? Nothing.

    Aborigines? Nothing.

    Fracking? “We’ll be cooking with gas”.

    Wow! Rudd could’ve easily made the biggest comeback in history but in his first 5 minutes he made certain that anyone who cares about any one of the above is sidelined.

    Bye, bye ALP! You are doomed to obliteration federally for the same reasons you got obliterated in NSW and Qld. And our “media” will continue to play the puzzled expert who just doesn’t understand why this is so and why the public are so stupid.

    The ALP deserves to be voted out of every single electorate in Australia.

  20. Mel
    June 26th, 2013 at 23:53 | #20

    SfB,

    I initially had high hopes of Gillard but right from the beginning of her leadership she showed herself to be out of her depth. Remember, for example, Cash for Clunkers, a policy that any year 9 environmental studies student could tell you made no sense given the embodied energy in cars.

    Then there was the absurd idea of a People’s Summit on climate change.

    And it just went on and on and on- including the excruciating and bizarre support for Slippery Pete and Craig Thomson until the last conceivable second.

    As Richo- who initially supported the leadership change to Gillard- said on Q&A, you could easily count 20 unforced errors each of which by themselves wasn’t a hanging offence by cumulatively demonstrated Gillard had to go.

  21. steve from brisbane
    June 27th, 2013 at 00:21 | #21

    Mel, I too was disappointed with the ad hoc nature of some of her campaign promises: but what they reminded me of most was some of Rudd’s impetuous policy ideas which quickly fell by the wayside.

    But when she formed government, we got less of that and (generally) decent policy progress nutted out with more care than what was seen coming out of Rudd’s office.

    And let’s face it, she has been one of the unluckiest PM’s of history: no one saw the courts stuffing up the Malaysian plan; Slipper might have always been sus on travel allowances, but no one would guessed how sleazy his texts and emails to his male staffer would sound; in a minority parliament she had no choice but to take the innocent til proven guilty line on Thompson (Abbott would done exactly the same if the tables were reversed); and the Australian dollar stayed persistently high and caused economic trouble which the public were silly enough to blame on the carbon tax. Not to mention a couple of summers of extraordinarily widespread natural disasters, costing a lot in repairs.

    She did well in extremely difficult circumstances, and as I have complained before, I feel Labor sympathetic economists did not do enough to help sway the public that they were assigning blame to her government for some things not really in her control.

  22. June 27th, 2013 at 00:36 | #22

    As I’ve wrote in other places, Gillard’s manage of ascension was always going to taint her and that perception never perceptibly left (pardon the tautology). Her obstinate inaction in a declining economy also hangs heavily over her in my opinion. This is nothing more than a restoration.

    Her other achievements are not in question.

    I saw the same ad that Prof Quiggin refers to and it didn’t trigger any alarms in me, other than a restatement of history. However, as someone that does prefer Rudd to Gillard, but not necessarily the Labor party (let me make that clear) and the ineffectiveness of the ad may just be euphoria of Rudd’s return. I’ll see in a couple of weeks, at least if it continues to play in my electorate.

    Personally I’d like to see something done about our rising unemployment rate that’s contributing to our stagnating economy. Whether it is rising or falling is a better bellwether than GDP measurement. Yes, we’re doing well compared to the rest of the world but we are failing compared to ourselves. We can do better.

  23. June 27th, 2013 at 00:47 | #23

    Rudd’s “Victory” speech 2013 (Re-Mixed):

    “I am humbled to have been once again selected by the Australian Labor Party to be their Prime Minister.

    Of course, the Prime Minister of Australia is not, actually, the Prime Minister of their political party. Australia’s Prime Minister is supposed to be above petty interests and, most particularly, is supposed to act in the best interests of Australians as a whole.

    When tens of millions of people came out onto the streets of the major capital cities of the world to protest against the invasion of Iraq – before it had happened – it really should have prevented that disastrous folly. If politicians had listened to the people of the world in 2003 there would not be a million atrociously slaughtered Iraqis on our conscience today.

    There would not be many thousand or even millions of people seeking asylum in countries like ours.

    But our politicians did not listen, and those millions have died horrible deaths as a result of our inaction.

    Tonight, as Australia’s Prime Minister, I pledge that I will never again allow such an obvious failure of democracy.

    Now, I must turn to our economic system. After all, almost all of the world’s problems can be directly sheeted back to the USA and those who really dictate the policies which, until today, have been unquestioningly adopted by Australian governments of both stripes.

    I stand by my position from 2009, when I wrote (in “The Monthly”):

    Not for the first time in history, the international challenge for social democrats is to save capitalism from itself: to recognise the great strengths of open, competitive markets while rejecting the extreme capitalism and unrestrained greed that have perverted so much of the global financial system in recent times.

    However, we are now at the point that the extreme capitalism and greed I warned of – as manifested particularly in its influence over our democratic and political processes – has utterly destroyed any concept of a functioning democracy in Australia, and probably the USA and the UK.

    Unfortunately, it does not go without saying that I will order the immediate release of all children from detention – but I have made that order. We will not detain or subject to cruel treatment people who come to us for asylum. It is arrogant and un-Australian in the extreme to drive away people who have been driven away from their own countries by policies we have supported, whether they be military or economic policies.

    As Australians we take responsibility for the consequences of our decisions. We’ve made some very destructive decisions and we must accept responsibility for the consequences that have flowed from them.

    We will never turn away the victims of our own mistakes.

    Of course, if we want to regain any semblance of democracy in Australia we will need to take back control of our foreign owned and controlled mass media.

    This will be very difficult, especially because our entire political and democratic system has been taken over by News Ltd and a cabal of Right-Wing extremists at the ABC. But it is not impossible to fix.

    I will immediately ensure that the ABC returns to its charter so that it is no longer an echo of News Ltd. I will ask the ATO to conduct a complete audit of all News Ltd’s Australian operations to ensure that they are paying appropriate tax. There is no reason that a foreign owned business which has such power should avoid paying tax.

    Finally, I would like to thank all the people who bothered to comment on blogs and elsewhere rather than accept the idea that neo-con world was inevitable.”

    ENDS

  24. Mel
    June 27th, 2013 at 01:41 | #24

    That sounds like a Christine Milne speech, Megan. I don’t think we need two Greens Parties.

    And yes, SfB, Rudd had some frivolous and silly ideas as well such as Fuel Watch and Grocery Watch.

    Hopefully Rudd Mk II will be more sensible and better able to get along with his colleagues.

  25. John Quiggin
    June 27th, 2013 at 05:55 | #25

    It’s not a major issue, but the pressure of which Fuel Watch was part does seem to have broken down the weekly fuel discounting/premium pricing cycle (essentially a price discrimination device) to a large extent. From my limited observation, the amplitude of price variation has fallen, and the pattern has changed from a co-ordinated cycle to the kind of irregular variation that would arise from genuine competition.

  26. Chris Grealy
    June 27th, 2013 at 05:57 | #26

    Or….game over. Labor panicked and lost it. Complete lack of moral fibre there. Well, I was voting Green anyhow. After Labor excised me from Australia, that was the end for me.

  27. Ikonoclast
    June 27th, 2013 at 08:01 | #27

    Labor has finally corrected the egregious mistake it made in ousting Rudd in the first place. If Labor has not made this mistake it had a near certain 3 terms in majority government.

    Rudd was popular with the public, a vision man and difficult to manage in-house in caucus and cabinet. Sounds a bit like Bob Hawke (I said a “bit”). The fact that the caucus and cabinet could not manage Rudd in-house for the interests of the party and the people was their own fault. Complaining that the leader is too tough in the cut-throat business of politics… my goodness what a bunch of sooks! Surely, they knew what they had signed up for.

    Gillard betrayed her leader when sent on a dimplomatic misson to the mining plutocrats. She conspired with the mining plutocrats and right wing elements of the mining labour unions to depose the very populare Prime Minisiter of the day. This was treachery to the party and treachery to the interests of working Australians. She wrecked a three term majority government prospect purely for vain personal gain and ambition. Julia Gillard stood for nothing except her own opportunistic self-interest.

    It’s clear, if you have followed Gillard’s career and pronouncements that she stands for nothing substantial and has always changed her tune to suit her own advancement agenda. No doubt, she is like most politicians in this regard but she is a particularly egregious example.

    The females in my family are both strong feminists and don’t always agree with me on politics. Like me, they were disgusted by the misogynist attacks on Gillard from Abbott, the Libs, their supporters and types like Alan Jones. At the same time, their judgement of Gillard politically is that she was an opportunist who wrecked many of Labor’s prospects in this government cycle. So let’s not hear any more of that nonsense that being anti-Gillard is being misogynist or being anti women’s rights. By that logic at its extreme, one would never be permitted to disagree with the views and performance of any female politician.

  28. kevin1
    June 27th, 2013 at 08:05 | #28

    Towards the end of Rudd’s post-ballot speech he made an appeal for young people to re-engage with politics which they see as a “huge national turnoff….(We) need you, your energy, your ideas, your enthusiasm … to overcome the challenges.” He may have been thinking of last week’s Lowy Institute poll showing only 48% of Gen Y favour “democracy” over other forms of government. While Rudd’s ideas of how to renovate governance institutions will be very limited, and the issue won’t make the cut short term, the opening up of discussion about modern forms by a populist democrat like Rudd is a tentative start.

    AFAIK, Gillard has said nothing about the party’s flaws – the domination of political professionals, the branch-stacking and rotten participation structures, the absence of debate and alignments on strategic principles, the heavy union influence despite membership decline, the longterm decline in mass support, the influence of special interests and straight-out corruption eg. NSW. Maybe this explains why people seem to like the technocratic social democracy – to Gonski, NDIS, Keynesian economics – but with little connection or trust with those driving it. Not being captured by the conservative pillars of Labor, Rudd is more likely to move against them, and be the harbinger of the next epoch of Labor, if it can survive.

    At her office’s instigation (according to The Conversation’s M Grattan “Labor Sizzle or Fizzle – we’ll know soon”), Gillard doing a photo shoot for Womens Weekly – a wind machine, 400 shots taken, knitting a kangaroo for the royal baby (!!) – creates another discordant and faux note about what she stands for.

  29. Ikonoclast
    June 27th, 2013 at 08:07 | #29

    I ought to add that sending a diplomatic mission to the mining magnates was a Rudd mistake and not the only one. Rudd should never have parlayed with the plutocrats. Indeed, he should have said, “Make any more noise I will nationalise you.” Then as soon as they made more noise which they would have done, he could have nationalised them and sent them off without a penny. That’s would should be done immediately to all plutocrats.

  30. June 27th, 2013 at 08:58 | #30

    Rudd should never have parlayed with the plutocrats. Indeed, he should have said, “Make any more noise I will nationalise you.” Then as soon as they made more noise which they would have done, he could have nationalised them and sent them off without a penny.

    Well that bizarre suggestion means certainly puts your previous analysis into perspective!

  31. June 27th, 2013 at 09:18 | #31

    On the up side for Labor, I would add that it is clear that Julia was by no means solely responsible for the failure to sell policies. It would be good to know who decided to keep to the “there will be a budget surplus” promise for at least 3 months longer than they should have, but in any event, its been clear for a long time that Wayne Swan lacks the sort of charisma that Treasurers in particular seem to need to be able to sell a government’s story on the economy. Peter Garrett is pretty obviously intelligent, but again (as with his performance on 7.30 this week) I don’t think he does interviews well. The worst impression of all, however, was pretty routinely given by Stephen Conroy. (I also have no idea what Craig was thinking when he did his courtyard song, but at least I find him likeable.)

    So a big broom through some of these poor salespeople is at least something good for Labor as a result of this.

  32. kevin1
    June 27th, 2013 at 09:29 | #32

    @steve from brisbane
    And yet from thedrum.com article “blame game erupts over gillards knitting pic stitch up” her office is populated by these sort of ‘advisers’:

    “The PM has decided to knit a toy kangaroo for Kate Middleton — it’s super cute!” a leaked email from a Prime Ministerial staffer said. Women’s Weekly associate editor Caroline Overington said McTernan‘s claim that the magazine bore responsibility for the pose was “absolutely false.” A further leaked email from the PM‘s office said: “As I mentioned the PM is putting together a knitting care package for Kate Middleton, who is due in mid-July, and I was thinking this would make a great story for the magazine.” It added: “I’m picturing a story that includes the patterns for the items the PM will knit so your readers can knit their own royal blanket or something similar.” Overington said: “It was absolutely their idea and she had a team of advisers and stylists with her,” “There was one moment where a shadow of concern crossed her face and she said, ‘This seems slightly absurd’.” Overington said Gillard brought her own make-up artist, stylist and three suitcases of clothing to the shoot.

    This is campaigning?

  33. June 27th, 2013 at 09:36 | #33

    I really couldn’t care less about the storm in a teacup reaction to the photo shoot, Kevin.

  34. Hermit
    June 27th, 2013 at 09:36 | #34

    On Monday carbon tax is suppose to increase from $23 to $24.15. If that is set by regulation I guess that increase will slip by.

  35. kevin1
    June 27th, 2013 at 09:38 | #35

    @steve from brisbane
    Fiddling while Rome burns.

  36. Donald Oats
    June 27th, 2013 at 09:53 | #36

    Kevin Rudd needs to appreciate that although he might think working around the clock is great for him, it is an entirely unrealistic assumption to make about his staff—and their staff. I used to cringe, whenever he got up and advocated working even harder at something his staff were already working 24/7 on. People need work/life balance, even in politics. If he can get that through his head, he just might retain good staff for longer.

    As for the original toppling of Rudd, that was a big mistake in both intent and execution; Julia Gillard was never going to shake that one off. When Rudd was in all likelihood going to challenge Gillard the first time, the Gillard camp’s strategy for fending Rudd off was to poison the well: the big Gillard supporters went on national TV and savaged Rudd personally and professionally, hoping to mortally wound him. Instead, they merely delayed the inevitable, while providing the Liberals with an endless supply of juicy quotes for their election campaign ads. Who was the Brainiac who thought up that strategy for seeing off Rudd’s return?

  37. June 27th, 2013 at 10:16 | #37

    It would at least provide some wry amusement for those of us who have always seen a high degree of cringeworthy fakery in Rudd’s public persona to see him win the election but again lose the leadership if his fragile personality re-asserts itself.

    It was said by Annabel Crabb during the first Rudd term, I think, but I had thought it too before the column: Rudd is the reverse of most politicians, in that most people will say a politician is nicer when you meet them and spend time with time. The closer people are to Rudd, however, the more likely it has long been that they will report he is an awful bloke to work with or be around.

    (On the other hand, he obviously has high family loyalty – in fact I find it odd the way his daughter hangs around him – so he is, at best, a very mixed bag.)

  38. Michael
    June 27th, 2013 at 10:34 | #38

    steve from brisbane :
    It would at least provide some wry amusement for those of us who have always seen a high degree of cringeworthy fakery in Rudd’s public persona to see him win the election but again lose the leadership if his fragile personality re-asserts itself.
    It was said by Annabel Crabb during the first Rudd term, I think, but I had thought it too before the column: Rudd is the reverse of most politicians, in that most people will say a politician is nicer when you meet them and spend time with time. The closer people are to Rudd, however, the more likely it has long been that they will report he is an awful bloke to work with or be around.

    Same thing crossed my mind.

  39. BilB
    June 27th, 2013 at 10:45 | #39

    What you really mean to say is GAME OVER.

    Rudd might flood out a blah of ideas but with no follow thorughit is all just feel good stuff of very short duration.

    Gillard is the delivery machine. The failure here is in the disconnect between the ideas and the delivery. Every great business gets this right. Our politicians seem to be hooked up on the ego of the position of leadership loosing sight of their real purpose, management.

    We have to be gratefull, though, that in this country our elected leaders are not there long enough to to develop the notion of ownership as they do in african and middle eastern nations.

  40. J-D
    June 27th, 2013 at 10:51 | #40

    @John Brookes
    In my whole life, voting has never been something I’ve done with enthusiasm. I don’t see why enthusiasm would be required, expected, or desired. I vote for instrumental reasons, not emotional ones.

    The only way you can ever suffer disillusion is if you had illusions in the first place.

  41. Tim Macknay
    June 27th, 2013 at 10:57 | #41

    @Hermit
    On Monday carbon tax is suppose to increase from $23 to $24.15. If that is set by regulation I guess that increase will slip by.

    All the increases up to 2015 are fixed by the Act. So it’s definitely going up.

  42. Tim Macknay
    June 27th, 2013 at 10:57 | #42

    Oops – blockquotes in the wrong place. D’oh!

  43. John Quiggin
    June 27th, 2013 at 10:59 | #43

    I’ll be closing comments on this thread fairly soon. I gave up arguing about the leadership a while ago, and now that the issue has been settled as conclusively as it can be, I want to put it behind us. I’m sure those who want to carry on can find another venue.

  44. m0nty
    June 27th, 2013 at 11:19 | #44

    I think Prof Q is being too charitable to Rudd’s policy chops. I wouldn’t be drawing any conclusions until we see what he does to the carbon price and many other reforms cemented under Gillard. His populist instinct may be to reverse course on some of these reforms.

  45. m0nty
    June 27th, 2013 at 11:21 | #45

    Perhaps, rather than discussing leadership per se, Prof Q could lay out his wishlist of changes he would like to see Rudd make to policy to make the ALP electable?

  46. m0nty
    June 27th, 2013 at 11:27 | #46

    Oh, I see he did already. Carry on! 🙂

  47. J-D
    June 27th, 2013 at 11:40 | #47

    @Hermit
    It’s possible that a period in the wilderness will be ‘cathartic’ (whatever that means) for the ALP, but what the government does to the country is more important than the (metaphorical) psychological state of the ALP (or the Liberals). If you belong to or support a party, it’s natural to look for the silver lining in the cloud for the party of the inevitable periodic defeats, but it’s not the implications for the parties themselves that are the really important consequences of election results.

  48. Hermit
    June 27th, 2013 at 12:49 | #48

    @J-D
    Another analogy is King Canute who couldn’t turn back the tide. What if Abbott can’t turn back the boats? Not without some mid ocean dramas with children overboard or whatever. Since climate change is real and relentless the first Abbott term will see some disturbing climate events. Note as we speak fellow wheat grower Argentina is having major problems. When Abbott says he has modified his position surely even the Murdoch press will point out his previous name calling against Gillard.

    I therefore speculate that climate change, the China slowdown and hypocrisy will undo the first Abbott government. Many current MPs on both sides will disappear into history.

  49. BilB
    June 27th, 2013 at 13:21 | #49

    The positive here is that Chris Bowen is the new treasurer going into an election. Wayne Swan never carried the Executive aura and suffered for his high snore factor delivery technique.

    If Rudd is able to pull off a victory then the irony for Abbott will be intense, having used every possible technique from his pschotic mind to force her from office. Unable to win in a man to woman contest, then to lose again in a man to man battle brought on by his own actions. Here’s hoping.

  50. Jim Rose
    June 27th, 2013 at 17:26 | #50

    @John Brookes thanks for explaining why Rudd will lose including his own seat.

    governments do not win by saying the other side is even worse. they win with a positive case. labor fails to make that.

    when was the last time labor had a good week?

  51. derrida derider
    June 27th, 2013 at 19:07 | #51

    On the Lib ads, they’ll be pretty ineffective because the only people in them will be either backbenchers or not even in Parliament – ie not part of the “Rudd Team” (a bit of an oxymoron if it’s anything like last time 🙂 ). Which should have been foreseen when the ads were prepared – they needed to select quotes from people who were likely to still be in the ministry in the event of Rudd getting up.

    I think the caucus got it wrong again – the man’s a “me first” wrecker. He won’t win the election, and his legacy will be an utterly divided and demoralised opposition. A possibly smaller but definitely more cohesive opposition would have more chance of making Abbott a one term PM.

  52. Ikonoclast
    June 27th, 2013 at 19:23 | #52

    @steve from brisbane

    Why is it bizarre to suggest that plutocratic capitalists should have their holdings in mining (and other) corporations nationalised? It is not in the least bizarre. What is bizarre is tolerating enormous wealth in just a few hands and giving these few people the power to control the totality of many other people’s entire working lives. Now that is truly bizarre! Why stop there? Why not bring back slavery? Indeed, Gina Rinehart wants to bring back $2 a day slavery. Of course, being brought up in this system and having succumbed totally to its indoctrination, you think this set up is normal, equitable and reasonable.

  53. derrida derider
    June 27th, 2013 at 19:46 | #53

    @steve from brisbane
    The point about Rudd being seen as nicer from a distance was made years ago by Mark Latham, when they were both just backbenchers. The conversation is supposed to have gone:
    “I’ll go a long way Mark, because people like me”
    “They do, Kevin, but only those who don’t know you”.

    It’s my experience that senior politicians of whatever ilk usually have considerable powers of personal charm, which is something that’s rarely possible on a consistent basis unless they actually are decent people. So what democratic politics mostly consists of is decent people given incentives to act indecently – and for that you should blame an ignorant and disengaged electorate that creates those incentives. If you’ll only listen to pleasant lies then pleasant lies is what you’ll be told. Though of course Winston Churchill’s comment about democracy applies here.

  54. J-D
    June 29th, 2013 at 08:56 | #54

    @Hermit
    Both government failure and the perception of government failure are common enough events. It’s quite likely that an Abbott government will perform badly and will fall in the estimation of people who are Abbott supporters now (not all of them, but a significant number). Those who would prefer not to see an Abbott government may derive some consolation from such developments. But they won’t in any way moderate the concrete effects of an Abbott government on the country. My point is the same as before: you’re foreseeing, possibly correctly, developments which will have a redeeming effect on the story, but the story is not as important as the reality of people’s lives.

  55. Fran Barlow
    June 29th, 2013 at 09:51 | #55

    @derrida derider

    It’s hard to disagree with this assessment. The bargain is Faustian, but without a significant initial upside — merely the presentiment of one.

  56. kevin1
    June 29th, 2013 at 16:21 | #56

    @derrida derider
    I don’t really understand this or Fran’s comment, but I just heard on TV there’s 26 million unemployed in the EU. Can either of you apply your insight to this reality? What are the incentives created by the ignorant and disengaged masses for this to happen?

  57. Jim Rose
    June 29th, 2013 at 20:59 | #57

    @kevin1 spain has 25% UNEMPLOYMENT BECAUSE THEIR labour laws make it unprofitable to hire new workers.

    Union represent the interests on insiders with jobs so they opposed the recent reforms

  58. paul walter
    June 29th, 2013 at 23:08 | #58

    Probably more to do with massive tax dodging by the oligarch elites.

  59. Fran Barlow
    June 30th, 2013 at 00:54 | #59

    @kevin1

    What are the incentives created by the ignorant and disengaged masses for this to happen?

    The ignorant and disengaged don’t need or get ‘incentives’. They can be ignored or conned as the moment demands.

  60. Jim Rose
    June 30th, 2013 at 18:45 | #60

    Was it wise for rudd 2.0 to back down on the carbon tax in favour of carbon trading?

    Concedes that the cost is too high.

  61. kevin1
    June 30th, 2013 at 22:03 | #61

    @Jim Rose
    As if governments and employers are disinterested representatives of “the general interest” and unions should therefore give way. The Spanish labour law was changed in Feb 2012 but unemployment continues to increase. How absurd to think that unions are happy with 27% unemployment.

  62. rog
    June 30th, 2013 at 22:27 | #62

    Moving from a carbon tax to carbon trading has long been Gillard policy.

  63. July 3rd, 2013 at 10:03 | #63

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