But it all seemed to go horribly wrong.
He very unwisely offended AWU Queensland supremo Bill Ludwig who’d been kind enough to give him a seat in the first place.
He had a fling (no longer the case) with Julia Gillard making him look indulgent and Gareth Evans-esque.
He got dumped from the front-bench.
When Rudd was elected, he nearly left him out of the Ministry and gave him the most junior of economic portfolios.
But he really has seized the opportunity and looks like one of the best performing members of the Rudd team.
Yesterday in Question Time, he put in one of his best efforts and made observers realise just how well he actually had been doing.
In a fine exposition of Labor moderate values, Craig Emerson put the agenda of radical Greens Party politicians into perspective:
Mysticism and superstition are making a comeback. Their revival began in the ’80s with attacks on economic rationalism. Rational economic thinking was condemned in favour of economic irrationalism: ongoing protectionism, deficit financing by printing money, maintaining airlines and banks in public ownership and expanding the role of the state in the commercial world through clever devices such as WA Inc and the Tricontinental merchant bank.
By the ’90s, economic irrationalists had declared competition as the new heresy, attacking the Keating government’s National Competition Policy which is estimated to have increased household incomes by $3500 per annum. Twenty-first century mysticism and superstition is finding expression in the big environmental debates. Deep green extremists yearn for a return to a pre-industrial society, before the Enlightenment when faith and dogma prevailed over rational thinking and evidence-based science. In this gentle agrarian society (absent environmentally destructive hard-hoofed farm animals), human beings are tolerated, as long as they leave no carbon footprint. These deep-green crusaders have declared their opposition to coal mining even if emerging technologies were to reduce its emissions to zero, since coal is regarded as an ugly reminder of an industrial society.
He’s been putting up ideas and is unafraid of lefty criticism from the likes of statist Dennis Glover who quoted at length from a symposium that occurred in a multi-million dollar rural dacha retreat of a monied Labor MP.
And most splendidly he gave the irritating pompous know-all Israel hater John Pilger an almighty and long overdue kicking on the Q&A show demanding Pilger show some “generosity of spirit” for the country of his birth.
Emerson is a big talent whose time has come. Watch for a significant promotion for him in any reshuffle.