Queensland sources familiar with Kevin Ruddâ€™s modus operandi tell an astonishing tale that he and formidable wife Therese regard his removal as Prime Minister as no more than a temporary setback and possibly only an interruption to his ongoing leadership aspirations.
NOT GOING ANYWHERE
Rudd surprised Canberra insiders during his farewell press conference by not actually saying goodbye, instead he explained that heâ€™d be available to be selected to the ministry and would be re-contesting his seat in Parliament.
With a vacancy looming in the Ambassadorâ€™s chair in China, many had presumed he would be offered that role and would take it with enthusiasm. Not so.
Instead Rudd is staying and has every intention of being Labor leader again according to those in his circle.
His former staff â€“ some of whom are still actively briefing media as of yesterday â€“ believe that Rudd will be made Foreign Minister. There has been reported speculation of that, including claims that Stephen Smith wants to give up the role to take on Education. Rooster insiders say that isnâ€™t the case but heâ€™ll take what he is given, with gratitude, with the prospect of him losing his Perth seat now substantially diminished with the leadership change.
CABINET FREE AT LAST
Sources familiar with Cabinet action tell VEXNEWS that they had effectively their first â€œrealâ€ Cabinet meeting on Friday without Rudd where ministers could speak freely, argue about matters, express opinions without the prospect of being given the Rudd death-stare or copping a monstering from straying from his one true path of enlightenment.
It says much about the cattle in Cabinet that so few of them could raise a moo of protest about the slaughter-house manager KRudd. Many â€“ if not most â€“ were willing executioners of the few in caucus willing to express a desire to participate in decision-making (a tribal and traditional whinge of MPs) but also to express genuine concern about political judgements on matters like climate change, boats and most recently the resources super profits tax.
THE UNSPEAKABLE TRUTH
The Cabinet wouldnâ€™t have cowered though unless the leader acted in such a flamboyantly bullying and spectacularly thuggish way.
If he acted that way in any other workplace, heâ€™d have been shown the door or at least been the subject of a steady stream of litigation.
While not many will want to talk about that because it seems not kind-hearted to do so after heâ€™s been done in, thatâ€™s the truth of it.
A Labor moderate, with values that many Labor moderates and even Liberals could identify with and support him on, his private dealings were so corrosive it just wore away the large amount of goodwill and admiration he started with.
For the first time since the Labor split, Labor moderates have a majority in the Labor caucus. Normally they are not very united though. But they did unite on the question of the viability of Kevin Ruddâ€™s leadership. They delivered the leadership to a lefty, but hopefully for the good of the country, a new type of lefty that will recognise that Labor governments who indulge inner-city enthusiasms will end up out on the street.
Kevin Rudd is a brilliant man, a star full-forward whose own talent was exceeded only by his contempt for his team-mates. The Wayne Carey of modern politics. Totally brilliant. Utterly flawed.
And that world gone crazy situation more than anything speaks to the problem with Kevin Rudd. A brilliant man, a star full-forward whose own talent was exceeded only by his contempt for his team-mates. The Wayne Carey of modern politics. Totally brilliant. Utterly flawed.
For all that, we hear Gillard may well still promote him into the Foreign Ministry. It would give her a one-day media bounce and an ongoing nightmare, in the opinion of even Ruddâ€™s old supporters from Queensland and some in his ex-crew in Canberra, who worry about him as much as they admired him.
And that also speaks to the problems in this government. So often, it is all-tactics and no-strategy.
The brilliant men of brilliant man Kevin Ruddâ€™s PMO could spin even the most appalling story into a good yarn. Rudd gets caught out swearing and monstering caucus members, he says he makes no apologies for being tough on politicians on the question of their entitlements.
VEXNEWS thought we were onto a good one with this:Â an exclusive PM misbehaving story that might even have the effect of cleaning up his notoriously rough play. It ended up being a greedy backbenchers misbehaving story. Lachlan Harris might be reviled for a week by clueless people keen to blame his bossâ€™s sins on him but he certainly did good spin, that was his job and I doubt we’ll see better. It was bossâ€™s job to decide strategic questions though, to do so in a calm, orderly and careful way that would keep him in the job and keep the nation prospering and becoming a better place. He consistently failed to do this, mixing rush and delay with a dysfunctional cabinet.
It doesnâ€™t take an awful lot of hindsight to figure out that itâ€™s not good strategy to show such unbridled contempt to those whose support you depend on to be party leader.
Not faction bosses, but all the caucus felt his wrath.
It will certainly make for interesting times if the new PM continues in the tactic-driven ways of the old.
WILL GILLARD LET RUDD REBUILD HIS REP WHILE ALBO WAITS TO STRIKE…
And in Ruddâ€™s case too, the tragedy is that itâ€™s true heâ€™d be a fine Foreign Minister. He is sound on many of the issues of concern to patriots and moderates. He is experienced enough in dealings with China that he has their measure. Contrary to widespread assumptions about Rudd and China, they don’t like him much and he doesn’t like them much, a long familiarity the Chinese regime doesn’t engender a whole lot of love for what is – after all – an evil empire. Â He is a friend of Israel, a true friend. But heâ€™s also consumed by contempt for his colleagues in the Cabinet and the party and we suspect for one in particular, the woman who replaced him.
Our Nick Mack wrote an interesting analysis of why Rudd was done in. For the story, we dug up a graphic of a quote of Machiavelliâ€™s Golden Rule:
â€œThe offences one does to a man should be such that one does not fear revenge for it.â€
Or in other words, donâ€™tÂ merely insult or injure a foe, bury them completely in case they have occasion to even the score.
How apt these words are in this case.
THE CONSEQUENCES OF KEEPING KEV IN PLAY
By putting Kevin Rudd up as one of her most senior ministers, Gillard would almost certainly truncate her term as Prime Minister, whether Rudd is able to rise again (heâ€™s certainly no souffle) or not.
While the press has been keen to blame patriots Mark Arbib, Bill Shorten and David Feeney (all three conscious of the bad press that might come from doing this good deed) for doing in Kevin Rudd, the truth is that the numbers were always there to remove him. They didn’t need factional operators to whip the numbers into shape, MPs reached their own conclusions, from their own experiences, their own observations, their own discussions with constituents, panicked reading of polls and so on. He had to go, and the Gallery’s determination to find blame other than where it really belonged shows just how shallow and amateurish most of them are.
Itâ€™s also true that the days of MPs taking orders from anyone on whom they ought to vote for in party leadership votes are long since over. There are no binding faction votes on anything, let alone something like that.
Certainly a majority of the caucus has been deeply worried about Rudd personally and the performance of the government for at least six months, long prior to the budget and the RSPT. Party polling prior to the budget, with which VEXNEWS sources are familiar, showed the government was in trouble early in the year after wasting nearly all of 2009 on the ill-fated vote-losing carbon pollution reduction scheme.
But the truth is that it was one personâ€™s decision to remove Kevin Rudd and Kevin Rudd knows it. It was his successor.
And if she ignores Machiavelliâ€™s golden rule, sheâ€™ll have made her first very obvious and basic mistake.
And cause a very broad jaggle-toothed smile to form across the face of Gillard nemesis Anthony Albanese.
MONDAY UPDATE: Julia Gillard – surely only weeks away from calling a federal election – has wisely opted for minimal change giving Stephen Smith the extra responsibility of Trade and shifting Crean to Gillard’s areas of Education etc. Notionally a promotion for Crean when he could have least expected it, although this will cause much mourning among five-star hotel owners and Singapore Airlines who regarded the former Trade Minister as the most enthusiastic consumer of taxpayer funded travel services since Sir Les Patterson.
A recent press report confirmed that in the last financial year, Trade Minister Crean managed to travel more than even Foreign Minister Smith:
while Trade Minister Simon Crean spent $352,000 and Foreign Minister Stephen Smith $345,000.
While not often visiting the Parliament House cafeteria, clearly this man has had his snout in the trough. No wonder PM Gillard wanted him grounded.