Australia decides not to nominate Rudd

July 29th, 2016 at 3:51 pm by David Farrar

Radio NZ reports:

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has confirmed he will not be nominating Kevin Rudd to be the next secretary-general of the United Nations.

Speaking in Sydney today, Mr Turnbull said he had decided the former prime minister was not suitable for the role.

He said the federal government would not be nominating anyone for the role.

“When the Australian government nominates a person for a job, particularly an international job like this, the threshold question is, ‘do we believe the person, the nominee, the would-be nominee is well suited for that position?'” he asked.

“My judgement is that Mr Rudd is not, and I’ve explained to him the reasons why.”

Very unusual for a Government not to support a former Prime Minister, but Rudd’s dysfunctional leadership style was well known and hence less surprising that he wasn’t nominated.

Blair on Rudd as UN Secretary General

July 24th, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Tim Blair looks at what Kevin Rudd could achieve as UN Secretary General:

He’s the man who within just three years turned Labor’s election landslide into a government-shattering civil war. He’s the man who handed Australia’s massive budget surplus to Wayne Swan. He’s the man who tried to counter global warming with a household insulation program that burned down more than 100 houses. He’s the man who attempted to save money with a grocery watch website that ended up costing Australians more than $4 million. He’s the man who introduced humane refugee policies that killed more than 1000 refugees.

In the field of outstanding incompetence, Kevin Rudd is your gold medal winner every single time. Let’s imagine the outcomes if UN secretary-general Kevin takes charge of the world’s current major issues.

South China Sea dispute

Master diplomat Kevin personally conducts negotiations between China and the Philippines over disputed sovereignty claims. The situation is resolved amicably when China agrees to cede ownership of the area in exchange for erasing the Philippines with thermonuclear weapons.


Britain’s exit from the European Union is causing global financial anxiety. This is a job for Super Kevin! After just three days of top-level talks, Britain not only re-affirms its Brexit vote but commences an ambitious military campaign aimed at restoring complete dominion over India, Australia and the US.

North Korea

A bewildered Kim Jong-un wakes to reports that a pale, circle-headed Australian man is standing in the middle of Pyongyang with a hand-written sign reading: “Hey, fat boy! Stop all the missile tests or no more McNuggets for you!” South Korea is subsequently ruled uninhabitable for the next 40 years due to radioactive fallout.

European refugee crisis

The Middle East becomes overrun with German, French, Belgian and Swedish refugees following Rudd’s pan-European “justice and tolerance” pact, co-signed by Syrian and Afghan community leaders in between their various sexual assault trials.

NSW greyhound ban

In Caracas, Rudd refuses to explain how he simultaneously solved the problem of surplus greyhounds in NSW and also Venezuela’s critical meat shortage. “Let’s just say it all worked out for the best,” the secretary-general smirks, gnawing on an elongated tibia bone.

Islamic State

“Please, we beg of you, stop helping,” pleads a Vatican delegation after a fifteen-word text message from Rudd somehow leads to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi being elected Pope.

It is obvious the Australian Government don’t really think Rudd would be a good Secretary-General, but feel obliged to nominate him as a former Australian PM.

The way of out their dilemma is to do what Republicans have done with Trump. Say you’ll vote for him but don’t endorse him!

UPDATE: According to Trans-Tasman this is what Australia will do. Julie Bishop is going to nominate him but not endorse him!

What will Australia do?

July 19th, 2016 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Support may be building for Helen Clark’s bid to head the United Nations as John Key talks up her prospects of emerging the compromise candidate.

Clark has long been considered a frontrunner for the job based on her credentials, and shored up that position after being widely rated the winner of a debate with other contenders last week.

To win Clark has to overcome three critical hurdles – a prevailing view that it’s Eastern Europe’s “turn” to lead the UN; winning the backing of all five permanent members of the UN Security Council (the P5), any of which can veto a candidate in order to promote their own pick and, finally, the winning candidate won’t necessarily be chosen on merit, but on the basis of horse-trading between the so-called P5.

It is hard to see why Russia would support a candidate not from Eastern Europe, and it has a veto. Clark’s chances are based on that no Eastern European candidate is acceptable.

At present she is second with the bookies, with Bokova still deemed most likely.

But Clark now faces another potential obstacle — former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has finally been forced into the open as a potential contender, after denying for months that he wanted the job.

The country’s foreign minister, Julie Bishop, confirmed on Monday the new Australian Cabinet would consider whether to nominate Rudd this week.

Rudd also believes he can be the compromise candidate, and is said to have been on the international circuit for months lobbying governments for their backing on that basis.

Australia would have to renege on a previous deal to back Clark if it nominates Rudd – former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott promised his support for Clark’s candidacy and even gave Key a letter promising her Australia’s backing.

But that’s not Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s biggest headache – Rudd is widely disliked in Australian politics, with fellow politicians, and media, lining up to lambast his bid.

One Australian politician labelled him “dysfunctional”, “vengeful”, “unstable” and “megalomaniac”, while another made the comment “Kevin’s ego makes Donald Trump’s look like a rounding error”.

Even the fiercely parochial Australian media are urging Turnbull to back Clark over Rudd.

Normally a country would automatically back one of their own, and especially a former PM, for any international role. But it speaks volumes about Rudd that so many are hesitant.

Will Australia support Rudd

July 18th, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Elizabeth Farrelly writes in the SMH:

We really need to talk about Kevin. Our choice is between a wildly inexperienced but bumptious male and a wise, experienced female, respected, accomplished, fit-for-purpose. But really, is this even a contest?

I’m not talking Trump v Clinton (although if the cap fits, right?) I’m talking Kevin Rudd v Helen Clark, vying for UN Secretary-General. …

If Malcolm had just one act left, one wave-of-the-wand to restore Australia’s tattered image as a grown-up nation, it should be this. Transcend national rivalry. Forget the Bledisloe Cup, won by NZ 43 times of 55. Be big. Support Helen Clark for Secretary-General. 

There is significant opposition to a nomination for Rudd in Australia. The SMH reports:

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said in April that Mr Rudd was behaving like a pest, and should take up a more normal retirement hobby “and play golf or buy a caravan“.

“Kevin was never happy just running Australia. He believed he was always destined to run the world,” Mr Dutton said. “Kevin’s ego makes Donald Trump’s look like a rounding error.”

Quote of the week.

Aussies support Clark over Rudd

April 29th, 2016 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Twice as many Australians support Helen Clark to lead the United Nations than Kevin Rudd.

And even Labor voters prefer the former Kiwi prime minister to Rudd, a poll has found.

The Essential poll, released on Wednesday, indicates that Australia’s two-time former prime minister would no longer muster the widespread public support that characterised the “Kevin 07” election campaign and kept his leadership ambitions alive against Julia Gillard after being dumped by his party in 2010. …

The Essential poll found 45 per cent of 1020 people surveyed thought Clark would be a better leader for the UN, with just 21 per cent opting for Rudd.

Wow, that will hurt Rudd. His own country prefers Clark to him y a massive margin.

A good result for Team Helen.

Young on Clark vs Rudd

February 22nd, 2016 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Audrey Young writes:

Key told reporters at the post-Cabinet press conference this week that he expected he and Turnbull would discuss the issue during Key’s current visit to Sydney although it was not on the formal agenda.

It is a safe bet that if Rudd declared his candidacy, Australia would publicly support him.

But it is hard to see there would be any enthusiasm for a vigorous campaign on his behalf in the way Key is promising to lead for Helen Clark, in the event she declares.

Key’s latest line this week was to say he would lobby every leader of every country he knew to help her, that New Zealand would do all it could to support her and finance her campaign.

I can’t imagine a Labour PM doing this for a former National PM.

Despite his record, Australian media regularly suggest Rudd has an outside chance of getting the job. In reality, he has no chance. Clark has an outside chance.

In comparison to Clark’s record, his is pitiful. Her record was of uniting a highly factionalised Labour Party and leading it into Government for three successive terms.

He was dumped as a sitting Prime Minister two and a half years into his term by former colleagues who called his management style chaotic and dysfunctional.

I can’t imagine any leader who has met Rudd actually voting for him!

The frontrunner of those who have declared is considered by insiders to be Irina Bokova, director-general of Unesco since 2009 – and from Eastern Europe (Bulgaria), which has never had a Secretary-General.

She was formally nominated last week and has an extensive CV with experience in politics and diplomacy.

The question is whether Bokova will get US support. UNESCO is historically see as very anti-US. The other Bulgarian candidate is a Vice-President of the EU but that may get blocked by Russia. So if they both get blocked, then the road may open up for Clark.

Clark would get supported by the UK and China as of right. Key could probably get Obama and the US on side to support her. France and Russia would be the unknowns.

Clark vs Rudd

February 2nd, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Malcolm Turnbull’s Australian cabinet may overturn a commitment given by former Prime Minister Tony Abbott to back Helen Clark for Secretary General of the United Nations if she becomes a candidate, according to The Australian newspaper.

The paper revealed that Mr Abbott and Prime Minister John Key committed in letters to conduct a joint strategy to promote Ms Clark as the successor to Ban Ki-Moon whose term ends at the end of this year.

But that commitment looks set to be compromised by two factors: Mr Abbott did not consult his Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, before giving the undertaking to Mr Key.

And former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has made it known he is interested in the job.

Ms Clark has not publicly expressed her interest in the job but it is an open secret she would like it and Mr Key would not have been seeking Australia’s help without her consent and private ambition for the post.

Mr Key has publicly expressed strong backing for her, should she put up her hand.

I think it is good that the NZ Government will back Clark for the job. I do wonder though whether a Labour-led Government would be so supportive of a former National PM. I suspect not.

According to The Australian, the letter Abbott wrote to Mr Key said Ms Clark would prove “a strong voice at the top of the United Nations” and that she had “the leadership, management skills and purpose to drive the United Nations forward for the benefit of the entire international community.”

If Mr Rudd sought the post, Australia would be obliged to support him.


Kevin Rudd was sacked by his own caucus and colleagues because he was impossible to work with. Why on Earth would the Australian Government think he could be Secretary-General of the UN – a job where good relationships are critical.

Key endorses Clark, not Rudd

October 2nd, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

At a meeting with Key in New York on Thursday (NZT), Clark said she would “neither confirm nor deny” she would be seeking the top job – “as was said about nuclear weapons for many years”.

But Key is offering his wholehearted backing should she decide to throw her hat in the ring, saying Clark would be the best person for the job. 

“I’m doing everything I can and will do if she becomes the genuine runner for secretary general … I genuinely think she will be a great leader of he UN and hope she gets there.”

That included having a word in the ear of other world leaders including “one or two I play golf or hang with”, Key said – a reference to US President Barack Obama, who he has joined on the golf course previously.

Key said it would be huge for New Zealand if Clark won the job and the fact they were once rivals “wouldn’t stop me having a lot of pride in her” if she succeeded.

I think it will be someone from Eastern Europe, but if the regional rotation system breaks down, then of course we should back Clark. Regardless of your views of her as PM, having a NZer achieve the top UN job would be huge.

A rival challenger could be Australia’s Kevin Rudd, whose move to the US has fuelled speculation that he intends throwing his hat in the ring.

Key said he had heard the speculation but had not spoken to Rudd about it.

Asked if he would support Rudd’s bid Key said: “If he stood and no one else did we’d back him.”

Oh that is hilarious – we’d back Rudd if no one else stands. Laughing out loud. Talk about damning with faint praise.

Rudd wants to be UN Secretary General

April 29th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The BBC’s United Nations correspondent Nick Bryant says head winds face former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd if he wants the top UN job  in 2017.

He says the UN will adhere to ”geopolitical correctness”, meaning it is an Eastern European’s turn. Speculation centres on former Slovenian president Danilo Turk and Slovak diplomat Jan Kubis. Former prime minister Helen Clark is also eyeing the job –  perhaps hoping regional ”turns” are over.

I made this point a few months ago – regional rotation is very very important in UN roles such as the Secretary-General. That’s why I think it is unlikely Helen Clark will be in the running.

I will say this though. Given a choice between Helen Clark and Kevin Rudd – I’d be supporting Helen all the way!

SMH on Rudd

November 16th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

I think the Sydney Morning Herald editorial on Kevin Rudd is spot on:

But Rudd’s exit provides a timely warning to the public for when it is next wooed by an everyman politician who seems too good to be true. As always in public life, all is not what it seems. …

Having starred in a stunning election victory, Rudd soon revealed himself, to colleagues then the public, as something less than he promised. In various guises he was the indecisive and revengeful anti-hero Hamlet, the egomaniac Coriolanus, the ambitious Macbeth, the gullible and jealous Othello, the rash Romeo and megalomaniac Julius Caesar.

We saw him refuse to accept advice, unable to manage people, often weak on delivery and, worst of all, lacking the courage of his convictions. The public, quite rightly, began to see through Rudd. When he backed down on strong action to tackle climate change, they wondered where he drew the line on principles versus politics.

Sensing weakness, his colleagues, themselves flawed by ambition, conspired with the evil Labor Party structure to force him from office.

As victim, the revengeful Rudd vented through sabotage and the undermining of Julia Gillard, thereby consigning Labor to a precarious hung parliament three years ago and, now, years in the wilderness. Through it all, Rudd has displayed self-delusion and narcissism of Learesque proportions. King Lear, like Rudd, allowed ambition to derail his better instincts, disconnect him for reality and leave a trail of destruction.

The damage Rudd wrought on Labor will take years to fix, although the task would have been greater had he not returned to the leadership for the September 7 election.

Labor’s relatively muted loss was testimony to his policy instincts, communication skills and lasting affinity with many Australians in all walks of life. Rudd also deserves credit for starting the difficult process to remake the Labor Party as a modern, democratic force.

King Kevin indeed. He did have incredible communication skills, and a lot of charisma. All of us have a number of psychological weaknesses, but Rudd’s were so massive that they over-ran all the good he did or tried to do.

Rudd quits Parliament

November 14th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Ex-Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd has announced he is quitting  parliament.

He said there came a time in every politician’s life when their  family said “enough is enough”.

The former prime minister and foreign minister said he would not  be continuing beyond this week.

He said the slings and arrows of parliament “hit home to our  families as well”.

“For our family, recent statements since the September election  have been particularly hurtful,” Rudd said in a speech to the House of Representatives tonight.

Having your colleagues tell the truth about you must be very hard.

Rudd had such great potential as Prime Minister, but his personal style made him a disaster.

Rudd said it was a privilege to be asked to return to the  prime ministership this year, and that they’d been able to “save  the furniture” in the election.

Asked to return! As if he was unwilling. It was his third coup attempt!

Under new management

September 8th, 2013 at 6:24 am by David Farrar

Tony Abbott declared last night that Australia is now under new management and open for business. The Coalition have won with one of the largest margins in recent times – yet no a total bloodbath.

The latest ABC projection is Coalition 89 (+10), Labor 51 (-10), Greens 1 (nc), Independents 2 (-2). That is just below the 1996 result for Howard where they got 94 seats.

By state it was like this:

  • ACT – Labor 2 (nc)
  • NSW – Libs 21 (+5), Nats 7 (+3), Labor 18 (-6), Independents 0 (-2)
  • NT – Country Libs 1 (nc), Labor 1 (nc)
  • Queensland – LNP 21 (nc), Labor 7 (-1), Palmer 1 (+1), Katter 1 (+1)
  • South Australia Libs 6 (+1), Lab 5 (-1)
  • Tasmania Libs 3 (+3), Labor 1 (-3), Ind 1 (nc)
  • Victoria Libs 15 (+3), Nats 2 (nc), Labor 19 (-3), Greens 1 (nc)
  • WA – Libs 12 (+1), Nats 0 (-1), Labor 3 (nc)

Still a dozen seats in play so these may change.

The primary vote has been Coalition 45.3% (+1.6%), Labor 33.8% (-4.1%), Greens 8.4% (-3.3%), Palmer United 5.6% (+5.6%), Family First 1.3% (-0.9%), Katter 1.0% (+0.7%).

Kevin Rudd’s concession speech was terrible. Long, rambling, resembling a victory speech, all about him and disgracefully not once did he mention Julia Gillard. He talked as if he had been Prime Minister for the last three years. He retained his seat but announced he will not contest the Labor Party leadership. More than one person quipped how they had heard him say that before! But finally it looks like he is gone. I’d say Bill Shorten is the likely new leader, but time will tell.

Time will also tell how Tony Abbott will do. A prediction that one day Abbott will be PM in 2007 would have seen you laughed out of the room. He has run a disciplined campaign and team over the last four or so years. However it was very much a rejection of Labor than an endorsement of Abbott. They have a large enough majority that I’d expect they’ll serve at least two terms.

The tight preferencing between minor parties appears to have delivered them a lot of Senate seats, so that will be a major challenge for the Abbott Government.

Also Clive Palmer has got elected to the House. He appears to be stark raving mad, so that also adds an unpredictable factor.

Inside the Rudd campaign

September 2nd, 2013 at 7:00 am by David Farrar takes a fascinating look inside the Rudd Campaign. It seems beyond dysfunctional. Highlgights:

  • Critics joke that by the end of the campaign the Rudd flying circus may consist of Hawker and Rudd literally piloting the plane, so centralised is the decision-making by the two old mates.
  • To raise morale, staff at CHQ are encouraged to clap each other. In the event of a daily “win”, staff stand around applauding their colleagues.
  • All policy is being made up on the road, with no one wanting to disagree with Bruce or Kevin for fear of being fired.
  • “The message of the day sent out from CHQ to seat directors never matches what Kevin stands up and says.
  • The Canberra press office is even worse off, not even CHQ filling them in, press secretaries there are left to wander the gallery with no information on what is happening that day, relying on watching Sky News to piece the day’s message together. It’s a complete shambles.”

I’ve been involved in some some shambolic campaigns, but nothing approaching this horror story!


Rudd backfires

August 30th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar reports:

TWO of Australia’s most senior public servants have undermined Labor claims of a $10 billion black hole in Tony Abbott’s election costings, prompting Joe Hockey to call Kevin Rudd “a liar”.

In a dramatic and highly unusual move, the heads of Treasury and Finance issued a statement to distance themselves from claims the Coalition had a major financial hole in their election costings.

The intervention, just over a week from polling day, was welcomed by the Opposition, which has been under pressure to provide full details of its election costings, amid Labor claims of a major black hole.

Treasury head Martin Parkinson and Finance chief David Tune, in a joint statement, forced the Government on the defensive just hours after Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had publicly accused the Coalition of a $10 billion “fraud”. …

Dr Parkinson and Mr Tune, both of whom were at a secretaries’ retreat in Canberra when the PM made the attack on the Coalition, undermined the Government’s central claims.

“These costings were not prepared under the election costings commitments’ process outlined in the Charter of Budget Honesty Act 1998,” they said.

“At no stage prior to the caretaker period has either department costed Opposition policies.”

This is highly unusual, to have the Treasury Secretary contradict the Prime Minister. But good on them for protecting the neutrality of the public service.

The character of Rudd

August 23rd, 2013 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

A woman called Lily Fontana posted on Facebook:

Just finished doing Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott’s makeup for the People’s Forum at the Broncos Leagues Club.

One of them was absolutely lovely, engaged in genuine conversation with me, acknowledge that I had a job to do and was very appreciative.

The other did the exact opposite! Oh boy, I have ever had anyone treat me so badly whilst trying to do my job.

Political opinions aside…from one human being to another…Mr Abbott, you win hands down.

This post, now deleted, has resulted in major stories. It fits with what so many people have said about Rudd – that he treats people awfully. It ranges from keeping people waiting for hours at a time, to abusing people for very minor problems. Another issue was:

In 2009 the Prime Minister was forced to apologise to a RAAF stewardess after it was revealed he reduced her to tears when the meal he requested was unavailable on a flight from Port Moresby to Canberra.

How you treat people on a personal level speaks volumes about character.

More bad news for Rudd is a poll showing he may lose his own seat.

Rudd cheats twice

August 12th, 2013 at 6:59 am by David Farrar

Things are not going well for Kevin Rudd. First of all it seems he cheated in the election debate last night. The debate rules said the leaders could have a pen and paper only – and no other documentation or props. Yet Rudd had detailed notes on various topics which he referred to.

The rule may be silly, but if you agree to them you stick to them. It is cheating if one side is using notes, and the other is not.

The more significant cheating is Labor’s using taxpayer funds for their election campaign. The Government is spending millions of taxpayer dollars promoting their new boat people policy. The constitutional caretaker conventions clearly state that during an election campaign, and advertising of controversial policies must cease.

The Finance Department told the relevant Government Departments to halt the advertising campaign, but Ministers intervened and  over-ruled the Finance Department. The head of the DPMC has said he is powerless to do anything as “the Department does not have the power to enforce the observance of the conventions

Taxpayers are funding this $30 million campaign, during the election period. It is outrageous but typical of left parties who view taxpayer money as their own. We have own own experience with Labour’s pledge cards.

Meanwhile Tony Abbott took part in a 14 km road race – as a guide to a blind triathlete! I like most think it was a pretty cynical election stunt – but to be fair he has acted as a guide for blind runners before.

The real good news of the last week is that Abbott has declared he will not wear his budgie smugglers during the election campaign!

Is Kevin Rudd a psychopath?

August 10th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Andrew Carswell looks objectively at whether the tag of psychopath given to Kevin Rudd (by a member of his own caucus!) is accurate or not. He first points out what a psychopath is not:

 Is the man running this country really a psychopath, given the aforementioned ferocious descriptions appear to tick plenty of the boxes that define such a diagnosis?

Firstly, one has to demystify the term.

Such a designate is no longer deemed by experts to be the exclusive domain of murderers, serial killers and rapists.

No, you could indeed be sitting next to one. Your boss could be one, or, perhaps more likely, your high-flying CEO in his spacious corner office suite.

In fact prominent Australian psychotherapist John Clarke claims that between one and three per cent of the Australian population could be certifiably deemed psychopathic, and he warns not just police to keep a look out but companies and political powerbrokers.

Anthropologist Stephen Juan suggests that one in 10 companies are headed by a corporate psychopath.

It seems psychopaths are everywhere, and they are more likely to wear a suit and tie, than carry a bloodied weapon or be pointing a sawn-off shotgun.

“One of the misconceptions about psychopathy itself is that people think a psychopath goes out and kills people. By definition, they are somebody that is recklessly indifferent to any physical, emotional harm they may cause,” criminal mind expert Steve van Aperen said.

“There are certainly many undiagnosed psychopaths in business and politics.”

Juan says often people get confused between the terms psychopath and psychotic, which makes people less inclined to label someone as the former and thus grouping them with such fiends as Ivan Milat, Charles Manson or Martin Bryant. The distinction is reality, he says. Those suffering from psychosis have lost grip on reality. Those deemed psychopathic are very much aware of it, and are attempting to control it.

So you can be psychopath and not be a psychotic killer. What a psychopath is about it:

In a bid to unmask those with psychopathic tendencies and prevent crime, Canadian criminal psychologist and FBI adviser Robert D Hare created the Psychopathy Checklist in the early 1990s that remains the gold standed for reference.

Its defined set of traits include impulsiveness, superficial charm, grandiosity, callousness, manipulative, lack of remorse or guilt, propensity to blame others, poor behavioural control, egocentric.

Whether unfairly or resoundingly just, Kevin Rudd’s name has oft been etched beside those traits, by members of his own camp or from across enemy lines.

The trouble for Rudd is that list of characteristics describes him to a tee.

Rudd lurches right

July 22nd, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Labour in 2007 campaigned against John Howard’s Pacific solution which saw boat people go to Naaru, while their claims for asylym were processed (but if they qualified, they could them come to Australia). Howard was demonised for this policy, but Labor’s replacement policies have been disastrous, with the number of boats and people attempting the voyage increasing almost exponentially, and many many people dying in the attempt.

Kevin Rudd has now come out with a policy that is to the right of John Howard’s. He has announced that all boat people will be sent to Papua New Guinea, regardless of whether or not they qualify for asylum.

This could well help him win the election, as Labor’s failed policy was indefensible. However will his own party and activists support such a policy? The next few weeks will be interesting.

Lib attack ad on Rudd

July 15th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Liberals have done an attack ad on Kevin Rudd. This one is not quoting what his colleagues said about him, instead it is pointing out the policies he implemented last time have failed.

Malpass on Rudd

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

Luke Malpass 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 Australian Labor.

Kevin Rudd

June 28th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Someone made a very good point yesterday regarding Kevin Rudd, is that the timing of his coup means he doesn’t have to do any governing – just campaigning.

That is possibly not coincidence. There is a huge amount of testimony that he was an incompetent Prime Minister. But he is a very good campaigner.

You have to laugh at the gall, in this story:

New Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has used his first address to Parliament to call on MPs to be a ”little kinder and gentler with each other”.

Hours after he was sworn by Governor-General Quentin Bryce, Mr Rudd used his first official comments as Prime Minister to acknowledge the contributions of former prime minister Julia Gillard and former treasurer Wayne Swan, while talking of the difficulties of political life.

”As we all know in this place, political life is a very hard life. A very hard life indeed … But let us all remember particularly on days like this that in this Parliament and in this place we are all human beings,” he said.

Incredible. He spends three years undermining Gillard, and then once he has dispatched her he asks for people to be kinder and gentler.

The Dom Post editorial notes:

Mr Rudd, a Machiavellian schemer who has devoted the past three years to undermining the woman who ousted him as prime minister, is not someone about whom as many nice things can be said. The challenge for the rival Liberal Party, poring over quotes from current and former colleagues, was not what to include in its first anti-Rudd advertisement but what to leave out.

That is so true. Their first advertisement is below and it consists purely of quotes from his own Labor MPs,

Mr Rudd’s newfound friends do not expect him to win the coming election but they hope that, with him at the helm, fewer of them will lose their seats.

Their calculations mirror those that led Helen Clark and other Labour Party notables to persuade Sir Geoffrey Palmer to make way for Mike Moore as New Zealand prime minister eight weeks before the 1990 election.

But will they keep him on as opposition leader? He might be ALP leader for just three months?

Krudd is back

June 26th, 2013 at 10:38 pm by David Farrar

Well kevin Rudd won the leadership back b 57 – 45, after a two year campaign of destabilisation of his own party and Government. This says volumes about his character.

Personally I liked Julia Gillard. I know many people who have dealt with her, and even a couple who have worked for her – and almost universally they say she is excellent to deal with. She was pleasant, professional, and someone you could work with. Of course I disagree with her politics, and she made a couple of momentous errors with her u-turn on carbon tax plus support for Craig Thompson. But she was well regarded by many – even if that didn’t include much of the public.

Kevin Rudd on the other hand is despised by almost everyone who has worked closely with him – especially his former Cabinet colleagues. His psychology is quite flawed, and it is remarkable that the ALP have made him Prime Minister again – despite knowing all this. It was an act of desperation from MPs wanting to keep their seats.

The ALP will get a boost in the polls, but I doubt it will last too long. In fact their machinations of the last few months show how unfit for power they are. They need to be thrown out of office resoundingly.

Assuming they lose the election, what is fascinating is who will become Opposition Leader. Will they stick with Rudd in opposition? I’m not so sure. Bill Shorten was the heir apparent, but he has now helped axe two Prime Ministers and broken his repeated pledges of loyalty to Gillard.

Also of interest will be how many Labor Ministers refuse to serve under Rudd. Treasurer Wayne Swan has resigned and also Comms Minster Conway. Emerson and Garrett also expected to go.

Meanwhile the Coalition will remind voters of what Kevin Rudd said in March:

“there are no circumstances whatsoever under which I’d return to the leadership in future”.

That is as categorical a denial as you can get. So how can Australians trust anything Rudd says?

Rudd challenges

June 26th, 2013 at 2:55 pm by David Farrar

Kevin Rudd’s supporters have started to circulate a petition calling for a leadership spill. This means he has agreed to challenge Julia Gillard.

This shows the extent of his lust for power, that he will break his word so brazenly.

After his first challenge against Gillard he vowed to stop undermining her and that he would not challenge again. He lied.

After he backed off his second challenge, he said he will never ever be a candidate for the leadership again under any circumstances.

It looks like it will be a close vote. The unions are heaving people to vote for Gillard.

If Rudd wins, I expect Labor will get a boost in the polls. But I doubt it will last very long. It may help them lose by a lesser amount, but they will still lose I’d say.

And if Rudd does win, and loses at the general election, will he be kept on as opposition leader or will they roll him straight after the election?

Rudd’s corrosion

June 25th, 2013 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

As Ms Gillard starts what is shaping up to be her toughest week in Parliament, a review of opinion polls indicates that Mr Rudd’s three-stage siege on the Labor leadership has cost the party direct political support and could destroy it for a generation.

The review by Gillard supporters is of opinion polls before and after Mr Rudd’s two previous leadership tilts.

Its release represents a new stage in the internecine warfare between the current and former prime ministers as Labor MPs stare electoral annihilation in the face.

A senior minister has told Fairfax Media that the only certain effect of Mr Rudd’s “revenge mission” has been to send the ALP’s stocks into the basement, guaranteeing that Tony Abbott will be prime minister after the election.

The figures, based on the results of the monthly Fairfax-Nielsen poll, the fortnightly Newspoll, and others, show Labor’s standing with voters has headed south immediately following the last two raids on the top job by Mr Rudd and his backers.

Very smart work by the Gillard team to compile this. Yes Labour would be low in the polls even if Rudd’s supporters were not white-anting the Government, but his continual attcks (through proxies) on Gillard are what has driven the ALP to such a low level in the polls. Voters hate disunity.

The ALP Caucus should not reward him for his campaign.

The most recent Fairfax-Nielsen and Newspolls show Labor’s primary vote at 29 per cent and the gap widening between Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott in the preferred prime minister category.

On that poll, the ALP would win 42 seats and the Coalition 103.

Meanwhile, the Australian Services Union’s NSW secretary, Sally McManus, has confirmed that she sent an email to members asking their opinions on the Labor leadership.

“I’m not doing that in order to get any publicity about it,” Ms McManus said in a voicemail message to Fairfax Media.

“At the moment it’s between me and my members . . . Probably I’ll leave the poll open for a couple of days and after that be in a position to talk to people.”

Support from the unions is critical to Ms Gillard’s hold on power. Australian Workers’ Union boss Paul Howes in particular has backed the Prime Minister’s continuing leadership.

Isn’t it appalling outside groups get to determine who the Prime Minister and Labor Leader will be?

And NZ Labour is heading this way. In Australian Labor, the unions only have (great) influence. In NZ Labour they now get 20% of the vote.

The evil Rudd

June 12th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar reports:

During an appearance on the ABC’sQ&A on Monday night, Mr Latham accused Mr Rudd of sabotaging the party’s election campaign in 2010 and preparing to do it again for this year’s election.

Mr Latham said Mr Rudd’s ego is out of control and he must not be rewarded.

Despite his denials, Rudd is clearly campaigning for the leadership again. He is arranging supporters to turn up to public meetings and appear to be normal members of the public giving him a hero’s welcome. It is a cleverly crafted campaign to try and persuade people he is Labor’s only hope.

“He knows that every day he gets in the media cycle he’s knocking Gillard down a notch or two in the polls. This is a program, a jihad of revenge, the like of which we have never seen before in the history of Australian politics. And it goes beyond the normal human reaction of revenge. You are getting into the realm of evil.”

Despite polls that indicate Mr Rudd would give Labor a better chance in the election than Julia Gillard, Mr Latham said the party would better off “dying on its feet”.

Latham is a bit mad, but still to have one former ALP leader call another “evil” is extraordinary. They may be in opposition for a very long time.

Malcom Farr looks at the pros and cons of a change:

The basic contest is Ms Gillard against the man she deposed in June 2010, Kevin Rudd. But there is no official contest. Unlike other leadership bouts, no one has presented themselves as a combatant.

Mr Rudd has repeated past pledges that he will not challenge the Prime Minister and would not accept a draft. He expects Ms Gillard to take the party into the election.

That’s his talk, but Labor MPs are also watching his walk through dozens of marginal Labor electorates where he has been asked to help colleagues, and in the process has shown he can draw a happy crowd. Be mobbed by them, in fact, more like a minor celebrity than a former Prime Minister.

By contrast, Julia Gillard is seen to be so personally unpopular with voters the entire government is suffering, and in certain areas that is true. In western Sydney community and business sources have told of their surprise at the number of times locals have, unprompted, raised their dislike of the Prime Minister.

As I say, the Labor MPs have to choose between a leader the public hates and a leader the caucus hates.

This has put the focus on Employment Minister Bill Shorten, a senior Victorian right MP who helped Ms Gillard into the job in 2010, as did the union he once led, the Australian Workers’ Union.

Mr Shorten has been conscripted by the mutterers as the man who could force or persuade Ms Gillard to step aside for Mr Rudd. It’s not a job he sought and, going by his renewed backing of the Prime Minister, not a job he wants.

He faces a grinding personal choice. He might have his CV forever marked as the Labor man who brought down two Labor Prime Ministers. Or on September 15 he might be confronted by colleagues who lost their seats and blame him for not bringing about a leadership change.

If Mr Rudd were to take over he might inherit a depleted front bench as ministers such as Treasurer Wayne Swan would find it hard to serve under him.

Rudd PM might go to an election as soon as possible, maybe August 3, the earliest date possible without breaking the link between the House of Representatives and the Senate. Go early while they still adore me, might be his reasoning.

But much would need to happen before that point, and the wait now is for the return of Parliament for its final two weeks before the election next week.

And the next Newspoll.