“It’s as though we don’t want to acknowledge the power of the most dominant newspaper group in the country, because to do so would be to confirm it, or it would be too uncomfortable to consider that our democracy could be hijacked by an octogenarian American intent on ‘regime change’.”
Murdoch’s News Corp Australia controls 65 per cent of newspaper circulation in the metropolitan and national daily market. Rupert Murdoch declared on Twitter that the public have had enough of Labor. Such intuition! His key newspapers have obliged by campaigning against the government from day one. One can only speculate on the career prospects of editors who did not oblige.
An ancient invention, still used to this very day, appears to have escaped the attention of the Murdoch empire – the mirror.
Kevin Rudd – hero or psychopath?
A giant ego. A narcissist. A micro-manager. An impulsive control freak. A haphazard and secretive decision maker.
This is not what Kevin Rudd’s political enemies think of him. It’s what many of his colleagues do.
Whether openly or whispered in hushed tones to journalists, this is the picture once painted by his fellow ministers, MPs, public servants and diplomatic associates.
It’s a decent rap sheet – one that easily tops the usual bile directed at colleagues or opponents in the den of iniquity that is politics. But nothing that borders outlandish.
Then, one day, the dam broke. The outspoken and literally outgoing member for Bendigo Steve Gibbons took to Twitter and publicly declared his former leader a “psychopath”. Among other less than genteel terms.
Gibbons is a man who is routinely and rightly pilloried for making crude, stupid and nasty remarks in the name of cheap publicity.
But this time the term took off, which perhaps says more about Rudd than it does about Gibbons.
So is it true? 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.
They are often easy to spot, Juan says, and follow a defined set of traits that set them apart from normality.
“The corporate psychopath is the type of psychopath that gets into politics because they are usually exceedingly ego-oriented – it is all about them. So even when they get criticism, it is still all about them,” he says.
“They love the centre of attention. Good or bad they see themselves being the centre of the universe.
“They are the great users, the great manipulators, they often have aides and underlings do work for them, and expect blind loyalty but they don’t give loyalty in return. They use everyone for gain.
“Everything is about them. If you talk to them in a conversation about your issues, they will immediately turn it around to their issues. It’s as if no one exists other than them.”
They are always exploiting issues for their own gain, says Dr Juan.
They climb the corporate ladder very effectively, they are often very charming and articulate, often very good looking which they use to their advantage.
It is the only thing they exist for. Themselves. They can’t be trusted, they will lie to your face and deny they have when they are caught. They never own up to their own actions, they are always blaming others. They are polar opposites in public and private, with the former a place for their charm offensive to be exercised, and the latter a dark place of indifference and loathing.
It’s the psychopath’s modus operandi; a persona that they can’t escape from, a disguise that soon becomes arduous to hide.
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.
His impulsiveness is well documented, from rushed decision making done without proper consultation with colleagues or stakeholders, to his “policies on the run” such as the changes to the Fringe Benefit Tax system that
crack down on salary-sacrificed cars, to the detriment of the struggling car industry.
On these rash methods, he is internationally renowned.