Dear Kevin Rudd, Revenge for redemption’s sake is doomed. PS Enjoy your hollow victory!

“Whoever emerges ... as the leader of the Labor Party and the Prime Minister will not lead a united party. That's no longer possible.”
“Whoever emerges … as the leader of the Labor Party and the Prime Minister will not lead a united party. That’s no longer possible.”

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27 June 2013

Now that Kevin Rudd has got his old job back, let’s hark back to Monday’s Q&A program (24 June 2013) where Graeme Richardson had plenty to say about the dysfunction of the ALP.

Referring to Gillard and Rudd, he said, “The hatred for both of them in the caucus is now so great that you can’t imagine either of them in any way, shape or form being able to unify the party, which is an awfully sad thing for me to say but I have never seen division like this.”

Makes Kevin Rudd’s victory seem rather hollow, doesn’t it?

Here is the pertinent transcript:

GRAHAM CRAIG: My question is to the panel as a whole. Would it not be the height of ruthless self survival and arrogant disdain of the public’s choice if the Labor Party now went to Kevin Rudd, who they declared as a failed PM incapable of getting things done and then going back to their replacement, who we did not vote for, for no other reason than self-survival and therefore hence, yet again, denying the Australian people the opportunity and their democratic right to appraise a PM’s full term at the ballot box?

TONY JONES: Graham Richardson?

GRAHAM RICHARDSON: Well, thank you very much. Look, this arrogant disdain for the will of the Australian people, it seems to me that the Australian people’s will is clear: they want to get rid of Julia Gillard and they are desperate to. And they got pretty angry with Labor for getting rid of Rudd when they wanted to get rid of Rudd themselves. So I’d look upon it as giving them an opportunity to get rid of Rudd again, the one they missed out on three years ago. I think that, at the moment, I have never seen, never witnessed a hatred for a Prime Minister like I am seeing, even among Labor voters. It’s appalling and I think something has got to be done about it. I may be in a minority on that but that’s my view and I’m not even sure if the Labor Party will do it this week. I just hope so. I have never seen a situation like it. If they don’t get rid of Julia Gillard this week then I fear that the future of the Labor Party itself may well be danger.

TONY JONES: Let me quickly go back to our questioner. Are you saying this because you want the chance to vote Julia Gillard out of office?

GRAHAM CRAIG: I haven’t really decided yet on that.

TONY JONES: Okay.

GRAHAM CRAIG: If you’d like me to answer questions, I will swap with someone on the panel if you like.

TONY JONES: No. No.

GRAHAM CRAIG: But I just feel…

TONY JONES: I was just interested where your question was coming from, that’s all.

GRAHAM CRAIG: But this will be the second time that the Labor Party has not given the Australian people the opportunity to give their opinion at the ballot box on a PM’s full term.

TONY JONES: Yeah, Richo, just address this issue: the big problem with going back to Kevin Rudd is the intense hatred of him in some quarters of the ALP and I’m wondering is that unique to the Labor Party?

GRAHAM RICHARDSON: Look, all I know is whoever emerges on Thursday night as the leader of the Labor Party and the Prime Minister will not lead a united party. That’s no longer possible.

TONY JONES: Why not Thursday night? Why not Friday morning?

GRAHAM RICHARDSON: Well, it could be Friday morning. But I suspect it will be Thursday night. That’s a suspicion only because no-one knows what’s going to happen. So I think it’s impossible now to see unity under any circumstance. The hatred for both of them in the caucus is now so great that you can’t imagine either of them in any way, shape or form being able to unify the party, which is an awfully sad thing for me to say but I have never seen division like this. You know, when Hawke and Keating were having their times and troubles, everyone was still talking to each other. It was still a relatively pleasant place to be. There is nothing pleasant about it now.

Click here for this Q&A program with full transcripts, tweets and video.

 

 

 

 

Julia Gillard – trial by gender. Verdict – exile!

It is as if the metaphorical media lens is a microscope, 1000 times more scrutinising of women.

It is as if the metaphorical media lens is a microscope, 1,000 times more scrutinising of women — indeed, less critical of men. If Julia Gillard had bat ears, it is unlikely she would have made it to the prime ministership in the first place.

A word of caution: If you happen to be a highly intelligent woman with deep philosophical convictions and passion for the future of Australia, and have aspirations to become prime minister, go for it. But only if you do not have any physical imperfections that make you lesser in appearance to Elle McPherson. But then again, if you are blond, the media will destroy you anyway.

As if looking back on the demise of Julia Gillard, Marilyn Lake wrote a piece for The Age, just one day before Australia’s first female prime minister was ousted by the Labor caucus, in favour of a … you guessed it … a male … who will, odds on, not be sexualised by Australia’s media and wider culture. By Bruce Keogh

An excerpt from Marilyn Lake’s article 25 June 2013:

How could we have foreseen what would befall her? The relentless persecution by senior male journalists, the vilification, the sexist mockery, the personal abuse and the contempt with which she would be treated. Between 2010 and 2013, the full force of Australia’s masculinist political culture would be brought to bear on this path-breaking woman.

It is now a truism that history will prove more sympathetic to Gillard’s prime ministership – and the policies she introduced – than contemporary commentators have been.

What will mostly attract historians’ attention, however, will be how she was treated, the rabid misogyny, the hysteria of men who could not abide the spectacle of a woman in power, who labelled her a bitch, a witch, a liar, a usurper, an illegitimate claimant who refused to bow down before her male rivals.

She has been sexualised in a way no previous prime minister has been sexualised.

In the past three years, obscenity has become a favourite mode of prime ministerial denigration.

Full column by Marilyn Lake who is Professor in History at the University of Melbourne researching the international history of Australian democracy.

Crean – Simple Simon or Saint Simon?

Tragic irony - hanged by his own halo - by an executioner to whom he has done the greatest service
Tragic irony – hanged by his own halo – by an executioner to whom he has done the greatest service. Photo source: abc.net.au

 

24 March 2013

CONSPIRACY THEORY: Kevin Rudd is a cunning character whose game-playing had not been seen through by even his own supporters.

Kevin Rudd‘s sole aim has been to fiendishly plot the ruination of the party that dumped him from the prime ministership – and if his own supporters lose their seats, so be it.

He routinely authorised his supporters to leak damaging stories to the media with the singular purpose of destabilising Prime Minister Julia Gillard. And it worked.

He made many and varied media appearances, clearly designed to bolster his own popularity – as if to be a pretender – in both senses of the word. And the polls had him way ahead of Gillard as preferred prime minister.

He knew that Gillard was becoming increasingly unpopular in her own party and that numbers were shifting his way.

He could see that Labor would be massacred in the September 14 election and that only he, as leader could save the party from that.

He continued to set the trap.

The bitter Gillard/Rudd divisions within Labor were sinking the party and destroying the credibility of both sides.

The Gillard government had become dysfunctional.

And so, as if following Rudd’s script, Labor veteran Simon Crean decided that something had to be done to save his beloved party from ruin.

Crean, a long-time supporter of Gillard had also become disenchanted with her, and could see that Rudd resuming the leadership was the only possible hope.

“Saint” Simon did the honourable thing and called for a leadership spill for the good of the Labor party. He announced his support for Rudd, knowing that he would be sent to the back benches if Rudd lost.

Simon had received assurances from the Rudd camp that Rudd would contest.

But Rudd did not contest!

Why?

Because Kevin knew that by not standing, he would throw the party into absolute chaos, making it look an even more farcical shambles with a greater likelihood of being sent into oblivion come September. And it worked!

Rudd’s own supporters are furious with him. Why had they bothered to support someone who would back out of a challenge? Gillard has now relegated them to obscurity.

But Kevin doesn’t care. He never intended to become Labor leader again and has achieved what he set out to do – destroy the whole party.

Now, the even-more-damaged Gillard, who has lost a swag of pro-Rudd talent from her ministry, is looking more vulnerable, no longer from Rudd, but from the electorate which is more than fed up with the dysfunction and bizarre power plays, which are due in part to Rudd himself.

Cunning Kevin!

SIMPLE SIMON OR SAINT SIMON?

Saint Simon? The spill was initiated by Simon Crean who was saint-like enough to put himself on the line for the good of the party.

Simple Simon? He was silly to believe Rudd, who he decided to support, and who was delivering directives to him via his supporters.

BUT …

As it turns out, Crean has done Gillard a huge favour – but he has been sacked by her. As Michael Gordon wrote in The Saturday Age on 23 March 2013:

“The bitter irony of the coup that collapsed is that the man who did Julia Gillard the biggest service pays the heaviest price. Simon Crean has not only removed the threat of Kevin Rudd, he has done more than any other individual to end the destabilisation of Gillard and give her prime ministership a fresh start. Now he’s in exile.

Thanks to Crean, Gillard is more in charge of her destiny than at any point since her 2010 campaign was sabotaged from within and by some poor judgment calls. The upside is that she can govern with more confidence and less concern about being undermined; the consequence is that she will be held singularly responsible for Labor’s performance at the looming election.”

The Michael Gordon article

Crean points finger at Rudd

 

Julia Gillard – prime minister – prime target

GillardGreenKEOGH800x800

11 January 2013

Dear Paddy,

Well here I am in Australia and I must say dat it’s a strange place. Dese Australians confuse da crap out of me. So dat I can explain meself, I’ll tell you about da Prime Minister. Dat’s a portrait of her on da front of dis postcard. She is da first Australian Prime Minister who is a woman.

Her name is Julia Gillard and she is in da Labor Party – dey can’t even spell it properly like we do in Ireland. It’s supposed to be Labuor isn’t it?

I always thought dat Australians liked people who worked hard to get places, but dey don’t seem to think she got to the right place. Being Prime Minister dat is.

I always thought dat Australians believed in a fair go. Boy, dey don’t give her a fair go. Even a Sydney shock jock called Alan Jones reckons she should be put in a chaff bag and dumped at sea. On da internet, people say she should be assassinated.

I always thought dat Australians liked Australian accents because dey were Australians. Well dis lady has one and no-one likes it.

I always thought dat Australians liked strong leaders. Well dis lady is as tough as nails but no-one seems to like dat.

I always thought dat Australians were easy going. I can tell you dey don’t go easy when dey pick on her big nose and her clothes and her big bum.

I always thought dat Australians were broad-minded. Dis lady has never married, has got no kids, lives with her boyfriend and doesn’t believe in God. Guess what – dey don’t like dat either.

I think dat it’s because she is a she. If she was a he, he would be everybody’s mate. I’m sure you’ve heard about da great Australian spirit of mateship.

Seems to me dat when Australia got its first lady PM, Australians became un-Australian. Or maybe da Australian ethos has always been a big fat myth. Dat reminds me of a word dey use … mythogyny or maybe it’s misogyny.

See ya later mate,

Mick

 

 

Anna Burke … the class of 2012

 

Order! The Member for Transylvania will withdraw
Order! The Member for Transylvania will withdraw

29 November 2012

On and on it went, question time after question time during the final week of Federal Parliament for 2012. Julie Bishop rising to her feet countless times to say, “My question is to the Prime Minister”, followed by a plethora of accusations and claims about Prime Minister Gillard’s past as a lawyer with Slater & Gordon, her involvement with then boyfriend Bruce Wilson and that infamous slush fund.

I was there in the public gallery each day and it really did become painful to listen to. Not just with Bishop’s dog-with-a-bone antics, but with Gillard’s return fire – she must have said “sleaze and smear” at least 100 times.

Julie Bishop was determined to draw blood but Gillard was as stone-like as ever, and Bishop failed – testament to the old adage: you can’t get blood out of stone.

Painful as it was, it was pure theatre and for that I loved being there. As good theatre as you will find anywhere and what’s more, it was free!

But the star of the show was undoubtedly Speaker Anna Burke. I was not alone as I giggled every time she said “The member for (such and such) will withdraw” or “The member for (such and such) will resume his (or her) seat”.

Making the likes of Christopher Pyne, Joe Hockey, Bronwyn Bishop (and Julie Bishop herself) look so helpless after rising  to object to the speaker’s directives, was done so masterfully that it became humorous. They looked like naughty little school children being ticked off by their teacher.

On the other side, Anthony Albanese – who must have been a circus clown in a past life – pushed the boundaries and was given short shrift by Burke, whilst Gillard was brought into line unceremoniously when she stepped out of line.

All done with aplomb, that innate subliminal humour and that cut-through voice that would put razor blades to shame.

Anna Burke and the class of 2012 … Anna Burke was the class of 2012!

Related Sydney Morning Herald column

Gillard, Gonski, Garrett – the 3 G’s of education

Midnight oil glosses over the nitty gritty
Midnight oil glosses over the nitty gritty

28 November 2012

Let’s get this legislation through before the end of the year. A great way to end 2012, with me taking the high moral ground on education. Imagine that – me – moral! Suits me, don’t you think?

No-one would possibly disagree with Gonski’s proposal that federal and state governments should collaborate to fund schools according to their needs – not even Abbott or Pyne. They wouldn’t dare. Everyone would agree that education reform, with better and more equitable funding, is worthwhile. The states can’t disagree – it’s the Gonski way or no way. They know that.

It’s a gimme! We’ll call it the ‘3 G’s of Education’ – Gillard, Gonski and Garrett. But who thought of the whole thing in the first place? Me!

Sure! This bill has glaring shortcomings – it’s wafer thin, has no substance and is legislation that doesn’t legislate. There are no funds allocated, no new agency, no new requirements or regulations.

But we’re going to get away with it!

We’re even going to take another audacious step and call it “the most important bill of 2012″. What genius thought of that? Me!

I don’t even know how it will be funded, if it ever will be. We’ll just say that it will depend on negotiations with the states as they proceed. That’s our tactic to avoid the nitty gritty – not that there is any nitty gritty.

This is political perfection. Big promises, no-strings-attached-funding and huge electoral appeal.

Thanks to Tony Abbott, God bless his soul, his ‘Dr No’ image has played right into our hands. If the Coalition-led states try to block Gonski, they are seen to be negative naysayers, just like him. He has already tainted his and other coalitions, and they are in damage-control mode.

And even better –  if they agree – they are seen as disowning him. Tony hates it when anyone agrees with us.

It’s win-win for us, lose-lose for them.

Now Peter, take this copy home and study it. It won’t take long. Get out there tomorrow strut your stuff.

Before you go, could you please sing a few bars of Power and the Passion?

Who is the queen of opportunism standing on high moral ground? Me!

Imagine that – me – Queen Julia! Suits me don’t you think?

Related article and source

Rudd’s ruses for return as Prime Minister

Drop me off at The Lodge for my new incarnation ... please!
Drop me off at The Lodge for my new incarnation … please!

1 November 2012

Stork: So you want to go to The Lodge. Didn’t I drop you off there in 2007?

Baby: That was my last incarnation. I want to go there again. I am a new person as you might have noticed on my recent TV appearances. I’ve been making quite a splash.

Stork: But the nice couple who live there don’t want kids. Besides, the lady of the house helped you get there in the first place and she doesn’t want you back. She is staying put and not moving out for a baby-faced upstart like you.

Baby: I had so much faith in her, but she dumped me and then she moved in.

Stork: But you were very badly behaved weren’t you? All those tantrums!

Baby: Just a minute. Now I know who you are – you are her in disguise.

Stork: Gotcha! You thought you were pulling a swiftie on me. A sneaky way to get to The Lodge. Get ready for your second dumping – from a great height. It won’t be on TV but you will make quite a splash.

Baby: But you are supposed to be a giver of life, not a taker.

Stork: Look! I am just a mythical being disguising the truth about how prime ministers are really born. I also disguise the truth about how they are killed off. As you well know, I am an expert at both.

Baby: I am the rightful Prime Minister and I intend to be re-incarnated no matter what it takes. Could you drop me off in a cabbage patch?

Stork: You are delusional.

 The Drum – Robert Macklin: Can you forgive and forget, Kevin Rudd?

Swan’s budget surplus on the Wayne

 

It's my lucky day
It’s my lucky day

 

21 December 2012

CATCH 22. “It’s my lucky day”, says codswallop Tony as Wayne the turn-turtle-treasurer goes back on his promise of a budget surplus. Budget-surplus-Julia, an expert in political suicide, might be dead in the water anyway, so what is there to lose? If Tony takes the bait there will be no more codswallop. But his codswallop is the very thing that could save Julia. Tony might see through the plot – after all, a budget deficit is best for Australia, and devouring Julia would be a bad look. There again, his appetite for political victims might prove to be too much and be his downfall. Meanwhile, with Christmas coming on, Wayne can just go back into his shell and let it all wash over. Grubby politics!