A “Ruddwatch” Reprise: Kevin O’Nepotism Rides Again

FIVE WEEKS AGO — canvassing the need in this column for Kevin Rudd to quit Parliament and leave his beleaguered party in peace — we discussed the prospect of him being replaced as the ALP candidate in Griffith by his daughter, Jessica. Rudd said he wanted to find a seat for her. Now he has.

I am reposting on this subject because I have found, during the day, that a lot of traffic has been coming into this site from searches around whether Kevin Rudd’s daughter, Jessica, might replace him as Labor’s candidate in his marginal Brisbane seat.

Readers can access one of our “Ruddwatch” pieces — “Kevin O’Nepotism Rides Again” — which deals with exactly this question here.

And certainly, whilst reports are mixed, there is nonetheless ample suggestion emanating from some sections of the ALP today that Rudd may well have done the deal to attempt to send Jessica to Canberra via his own seat.

I stand by the comments I made in the original article, and encourage those who didn’t see the article when it was first posted to click through the link and read it.

But now the spectre of another Rudd in Parliament is a very real possibility, I have a few additional points to make.

The 30-year-old Jessica Rudd — unlike her nihilistic father — articulates a politics based well to Labor’s left, which, indeed, would sit comfortably with the Greens; I don’t think this is the kind of outlook that needs to be cultivated in Australian Parliaments, and I don’t care whose daughter she is.

In any case, Jessica lives in Beijing: this is not some high calibre “star” being recalled to sit in Parliament based on a lengthy career of success in business or some other service; this is someone who is based elsewhere for personal reasons, and who has severed her active connection to the electorate some in the ALP now apparently seek to inflict her on.

So much for the notion of a “local” member.

And to be entirely blunt about it, what — apart from being the daughter of Kevin Rudd and Therese Rein — has Jessica Rudd done to merit a seat in Parliament at all?

No, I didn’t think so.

We’ll see how this plays out, but if Jessica Rudd is the ALP candidate facing the LNP’s Bill Glasson come by-election time, her presence on the ballot will aid Glasson — not the ALP.


Ruddwatch: Kevin O’Nepotism Rides Again

AS THE DEBATE rages over whether Kevin Rudd should pull the pin on his electorate and the Parliament and vacate his seat of Griffith, an insidious subtext has emerged: suggestions Rudd may be willing to quit in exchange for a seat being found for his daughter, Jessica. The idea merits only contempt.

It’s one thing for politicians — especially those at the apex of political life — to publicly enlist spouses and offspring in a show of family and “ordinariness.”

It is, however, quite another matter for those same politicians to seek to build dynasties on no better pretext than their own inflated sense of importance.

And when it comes to Kevin Rudd, his sense of self-importance is inflated beyond the possibilities of measurement.

Predictably enough, since managing to hold his electorate at last month’s election, the clamour for Rudd to depart politics in the interests of the ALP has been matched only by the insistence from other quarters on the beaten PM’s right to choose his own time to retire from Parliament, perhaps even serving out a full three-year term.

Those taking the view that he should go, and go now — despite the probability a by-election in Griffith would hand the LNP in Queensland an additional seat — speak of Rudd’s past history in undermining ALP leaders stretching back to the days of Kim Beazley more than a decade ago.

Others, leaping to defend Rudd’s right to sit on the backbench as he has said he will, point to the scale of Labor’s election loss and the Armageddon scenario they claim Rudd averted by leading the ALP to the election in place of Julia Gillard: in other words, he’s earned his right to decide.

Whichever side of the story you agree with — and if I was in the ALP I’d want Rudd out of my party ASAP, no ifs and no buts, such a lethal political commodity he has become — it would be a tremendous stretch to suggest Rudd has in any sense been a “great” leader, and certainly not one whose various legacies are at all worthy of emulation or perpetuation.

There is a rumour circulating in political circles to the effect that Kevin Rudd has indicated that he would be prepared to resign from Parliament if ALP officials find a seat for his daughter, Jessica.

Rudd has already had his sons work for him during his second stint as Prime Minister — one in his office, the other on his re-election campaign — and the rather unkind story goes that this was largely due to the fact very few people were prepared to work with him.

The prospect of Jessica Rudd in Parliament, however, is one to be avoided at all costs.

She has already enjoyed a disproportionate degree of public exposure, in no small measure due to the position and profile of her father.

Well to the left of the Labor side of politics, Jessica Rudd has been an outspoken voice on minorities and their “rights” — just the kind of thing that contributed significantly to a defeat that was devastating enough for the ALP irrespective of any ameliorating effect her father may have had.

Indeed, on his first outing as Prime Minister, Rudd made much of his “modern” Australian family featuring a future Chinese son-in-law (now Jessica’s husband), Albert Tse.

It was — among other things — shameless promotion aimed at the leadership of China, who Rudd memorably went on to castigate as “ratfuckers.”

And as delightful and charming as Jessica Rudd is reputed to be in person, many of her public political utterances give every impression of a young lady driven by the shrill motives of malice and spite.

In short, she’s got a chip on her shoulder.

An ALP source — quoted yesterday in a number of Murdoch publications —  said that while Kevin was certainly lobbying for his daughter, he wasn’t about to leave.

It seems curious that the obvious “solution” to Rudd’s apparent quandary — his daughter replacing him as the ALP candidate in Griffith — isn’t being mentioned, publicly at least.

But then again, any Labor candidate standing in a by-election in Griffith any time soon is likely to be slaughtered. Daddy Rudd couldn’t possibly be seen to preside over that.

And according to the Daily Telegraph in Sydney, Rudd apparently told a colleague at the first Labor caucus meeting after the election that “as long as those c***s continue to call for me to go, I’m not going anywhere.”

I think Australians have had enough of Kevin Rudd, his wife and her multi-million dollar businesses, the parade of his children through political life in an attempt to entrench their presence there, and the egomaniacal, cretinous idea of himself that he projects.

Anyone who doubts it should do the rounds of the final pre-election opinion polls: far more unpopular in the end than he was popular, Rudd’s personal numbers evolved into the antithesis of the image he sought to cultivate “in exile” as “the People’s Prime Minister.”

If the asking price to blast Rudd — who is now a has-been in any case, and political poison — out of Parliament is to install his daughter in his stead, then Kevvie should be allowed to sit on the backbench and plot and scheme and destabilise to his heart’s content.

Australia needs a political Rudd dynasty like it needs a hole in the head.

And as long as Rudd stays precisely where he is, he may have the happy consequence of helping engineer the re-election of the Abbott government in 2016 — even if, admittedly, for all the wrong reasons.