Malpass on Rudd

July 1st, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

writes in the Dom Post:

To understand why Julia Gillard failed so miserably as prime minister, one must understand the shortcomings of Mr Rudd.

When he was elected prime minister in 2007, hubris quickly became apparent.

He considered himself a philosopher king, penning trite essays such as how Protestant theologian and Nazi dissident Dietrich Bonhoeffer would have voted Labor, and a 7000-word tome on how it was his sacred duty to save capitalism from itself.

Only social democrats, he opined, could navigate Australia through the global financial crisis.

Sadly, philosopher kings are often difficult human beings, and so it was with Mr Rudd. It is well documented that members of his own party were waiting for the day when “the public hates Kevin as much as we do”.

He was poll-driven, prone to tantrums, horrendous to work for and with. Last year fellow Labor MP Steve Gibbons called him a “psychopath with a giant ego”, and his own treasurer, Wayne Swan, said he had a “deeply demeaning attitude towards other people including our caucus colleagues”.

In 2010, many were pleased to be rid of him.

However, it’s often overlooked that Mr Rudd was dumped in large part because many of his policies were either poor quality or unpopular and his administration inept.

Rudd is a deeply flawed human being, but as Luke Malpass writes, that is not why the public went off him. They didn’t know about this other stuff.

Climate change topped the list of Rudd policy failures. Despite bloviating that it was “the greatest economic, moral and social challenge of our time”, Mr Rudd quickly abandoned doing anything when it became unpopular.

An ineffective fiscal stimulus was still being spent in school halls years after the global financial crisis had passed, while a home-insulation disaster came complete with house fires, deaths, and a ruined industry.

He presided over an abandoned laptops-in-schools programme. He introduced an unworkable and punitive mining-super-profits tax.

He legislated the Fair Work Act, taking industrial relations back to the 1970s. He dismantled the “Pacific solution” for asylum seekers, helping restart the odious people-smuggling trade, and 100 boat people are now arriving daily.

Arguably, his biggest failure.

For this reason Mr Rudd’s elevation will probably make little difference. The policies are the same, and are still unpopular.

The basic conceit, under which Labor has operated since 2009, is that it is no good at “selling its message” – the notion that people might just not like the policies is never countenanced.

A lesson for more than .

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16 Responses to “Malpass on Rudd”

  1. tvb (4,563 comments) says:

    The ALP government will get a poll boost but for how long?? Rudd will want to capitalise on it when he times the election. But the Government is in turmoil with many Senior Ministers departing politics for good.

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  2. Kimble (3,955 comments) says:

    Rudd can’t form a cabinet. He has no ministers left.

    Simon Crean would have been the core component of a new cabinet but he was burned in the previous coup attempt.

    I have read that Rudd is trying to get Stephen Conroy on board; and he is probably the most dangerous politician Australia has seen in decades. If there was any politician to take Australia towards being a police state, it is Conroy. He is the one who drove the internet filtering and media regulating initiatives.

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  3. Bob R (1,422 comments) says:

    He seems more interested in appeasing the Indonesian leadership than protecting the interests of his own voters.

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  4. Kimble (3,955 comments) says:

    He seems more interested in appeasing the Indonesian leadership…

    Is that why he suggested that Indonesia may attack Australia if Abbott is elected PM?

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  5. hj (7,186 comments) says:

    “The lessons here for New Zealand are simply: policy matters, and good policy makes for good politics. It is also a reminder that corrosive personalities can cripple a government or political party.”
    ………
    this is Mr Relaxed who we here on RadioNZ telling us that house prices are all about land supply and that peak oil isn’t an issue (speaking to Kim Hill on morning Report).

    here’s one issue Malpass agrees with Rudd on:

    “Big Australia is a term used former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to describe an increase in the population of Australia from 22 million in 2010 to 36 million in 2050 along with the policies needed to react to it. A portion of the projected growth involved immigration to Australia, which proved controversial.

    In 2009 Rudd stated that he was in favour of a Big Australia in response to a demographic projection in the government’s Intergenerational Report which showed that the population of Australia would increase from 22 million in 2010 to 35 million in 2050.[1][2] A portion of the growth involved continued high rates of immigration to Australia, which proved controversial. In April 2010 Rudd appointed Tony Burke to the position of Minister for Population and asked him to develop a population policy.[3]

    Julia Gillard, who ousted Rudd from office in June 2010, stated that she did not support Rudd’s position shortly after taking over on the grounds that a “Big Australia” would be unsustainable.[4][5] Gillard’s position was “a sustainable Australia, not a big Australia”.[6] The Government released a “sustainable population strategy” in May 2011 which did not specify a target population.[2] In October 2011 trade minister Craig Emerson released a paper with Gillard’s approval which advocated for continued rapid rates of population growth.[7]”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Australia

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  6. Daigotsu (472 comments) says:

    I seem to remember a certain D.P. Farrar writing some pretty good things about him, too.

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  7. simonway (387 comments) says:

    An ineffective fiscal stimulus

    So ineffective that Australia managed to completely avoid recession.

    years after the global financial crisis had passed

    I think this attitude is pretty typical of the sheltered beltway journalist class. “Financial crisis? That was 2008, wasn’t it?” No idea that there are still unemployed people out there.

    a home-insulation disaster came complete with house fires, deaths, and a ruined industry.

    Mr. Malpass is spreading myths. The Liberals and the media seized on some incidents of insulation fires to trash the government, but never bothered to actually compare the rates of fires before and after the home insulation programme was implemented.

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  8. CHFR (241 comments) says:

    Simonway please don’t link to crikey to support arguments, a more biased site you could not hope to find.

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  9. hj (7,186 comments) says:

    Isn’t the NZ Initiative biased?
    “One would be well advised then to treat the talk about a “climate change consensus” as what it is: not as a scientific consensus about climate change but at most as a political agreement to act and speak as if the major questions surrounding climate change had already been answered. In reality, however, there are very few things on which the majority climate scientists would readily agree.[8]

    While the climate change consensus, with its focus on carbon emis-
    sions reductions, currently serves to block discussion about non-
    rationing alternatives to the Kyoto Protocol, it hampers discussions about
    non-carbon related responses to climate change even more.Yet there are
    such alternatives, and they consist of a variety of adaptive strategies.The
    reasoning behind adaptation is this: it is politically unlikely that far-
    reaching emissions reductions will take place in the near future, and if
    they were to take place they would come at enormous economic costs.


    http://www.oliver-marc-hartwich.com/publications/climate-change—scepticism-and-science-as-drivers-of-progress

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  10. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    So Rudd thinks deeply about political and social issues? How awful.

    No New Zealand politician can string 7 words together in a meaningful sequence, let alone 7000.

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  11. Andronicus (219 comments) says:

    Australia now has an awful choice for PM.

    In one corner is Rudd, who appears to be everything his colleagues have described.

    In the other is Abbott, totally untrustworthy, with an unhealthy attitude towards women and the strong suspicion that boxing without wearing head protection has resulted in brain damage.

    There are times when his behaviour is bizarre, e g staring silently, shaking with anger, at a TV journalist who dared ask an awkward question, or sprinting wildly to try to escape Parliament because he didn’t like another MP casting a vote.

    This man is weird.

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  12. F E Smith (3,309 comments) says:

    In the other is Abbott, totally untrustworthy, with an unhealthy attitude towards women and the strong suspicion that boxing without wearing head protection has resulted in brain damage.

    Well, there is another poor fool who has swallowed the ALP’s propaganda hook, line, and sinker…

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  13. Kimble (3,955 comments) says:

    … with an unhealthy attitude towards women …

    [citation needed]

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  14. KevinH (1,257 comments) says:

    Aussie politics can at times appear tribal with a hint of melodrama and pathos and in this instance with Rudd the burned ALP Gillard supporters are showing their bitterness and resentment in public. Rudd was deposed before the public got a chance to see what he was really like and the Gillard camp only have themselves to blame for their own intransigence and haste.
    Despite what his fellow ALP colleagues think of him, the public especially Queensland love Rudd. On that basis Rudd should request to see resignations on the table, get rid of the rubbish and move forward.

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  15. Dirty Rat (383 comments) says:

    Australia has the same problem as New Zealand, in that there is no oppostion party.

    I mean Tony Abbot ffs

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  16. ChardonnayGuy (1,233 comments) says:

    Kevin, your namesake is an opportunist and the ALP is a byzantine basket case of factions. I welcome what seemed to be his change of heart over marriage equality, but already he’s hedging it, talking about referenda in this context. Why the hell should human rights and civil liberties be put to plebiscite?

    I still suspect that if Abbott turns out to be a liability come September, or beforehand, the Libs will vote to dump him and replace him with Turnbull…

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