Ruddwatch: World Needs “Kevin 747” At The UN Like The Pox

IT WAS KNOWN almost a decade ago that Kevin Rudd’s real ambition was to be Secretary-General of the United Nations; this column has never hid its disdain for the UN, believing it obsessed with meddling in member states rather than its charter to maintain peace. Even so, the moronic Rudd — with pointless meetings, unruly temper, and gratuitous travel — is not what the world needs. Any official sanction of his bona fides for the post is lunacy.

Today’s article isn’t so much an opinion piece per se, but a trip down memory lane — with a little help from YouTube — for it amazes me just how short some people’s memories can be, and where Kevin Rudd is concerned, the propensity for time to “heal all” and wipe away the recollections of his defects and shortfalls is a dangerous and salutary lesson in just how easily people are prone to forget.

In the overwhelming majority of cases, I have been at pains over the years to note in this column that political figures of opposing political stripes to my own are still, first and foremost, people; that expression of grace is difficult to concede in certain cases, and near the top of any list of those for whom it is impossible to harbour any concession of the kind sits one Kevin Michael Rudd.

Right from the start, there were those who grasped the fundamentally ridiculous nature of his claim to government in Australia; right from the earliest days of Rudd’s tenure as Prime Minister, the rumours of his eventual grandiose ambition to run the United Nations — providing a global platform on which he might parade the pomposity and histrionic bombast Australian voters quickly wearied of once he had been elected — spread like wildfire.

And right from the start Rudd became, aptly, a figure of ridicule.

Those with short memories will have forgotten how he not just alienated but enraged his Labor colleagues; his temper and ego are the stuff of legend in political circles, and his noxious and destructive approach to matters of governance was such that a large portion of the ALP caucus swore that if he ever returned as Prime Minister once he had been dumped that not only would they refuse to serve in his ministry, but that they would leave Parliament altogether — a threat many of them made good on after June 2013, when he orchestrated the overthrow of Julia Gillard to reclaim what he saw as rightly his.

For those who have, indeed, forgotten, here’s an aggregation of the sentiments of the Labor caucus of the day. It isn’t what you would call edifying.

Who could possibly forget the Rudd decree that climate change was “the greatest moral challenge of our time” or the shameful performance he turned in at Copenhagen late in 2009, as he strove to be the international face of some kind of agreement to deal with this menace, only to fail abysmally? Who can forget the stories of his brutality as a “leader,” abusing his ministers, tearing shreds off young service personnel on RAAF flights, and systematically leaking and backgrounding against his colleagues to undermine them?

Those of us with very long memories recall only too well the mess he created in Queensland — as the state’s top public servant under the government of Wayne Goss — before be entered Parliament, as a vicious crusade was embarked upon to fire not just those senior public servants who owed their positions to National Party cronyism of the 1970s and 1980s, but also to target politically unaligned (or, wisely, silent) individuals whose only crime was not to make vociferous expressions of fidelity with the ALP during the “dark” years of National Party oppression that preceded Goss’ regime.

We also remember the complete consequent mess made of the Queensland public service, with that state’s health bureaucracy rendered dysfunctional, and scores of sacked National Party appointees rehired in their old roles on expensive contracts when the penny dropped that the chosen ALP appointments Rudd oversaw simply weren’t up to the jobs they were given, and that unless those with real experience of running Queensland were brought back into the fold, the disaster Rudd’s “management” of the Queensland government created would in fact have become a cataclysm.

The huge swing to the Coalition at the 1995 state election was, apart from a few seats affected by a toll road Goss wanted to build, almost entirely built on a backlash from public servants: and to this day, I can’t think of another instance anywhere in Australia where public servants have voted en masse and as a solid bloc against a Labor government. It was an achievement of sorts, and one in which Rudd’s handiwork was everywhere.

Now, Kevin Rudd — who once famously described himself as “an out-of-work diplomat” — is showing signs of making a serious attempt to replace outgoing UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, whose term in the post expires late this year.

Perhaps mindful of the fact support from the continuing (Coalition) government may or may not be forthcoming, Rudd is said to be working solus to try to secure the post through his own contacts, and no wonder: who could possibly have forgotten the billions of dollars doled out on Rudd’s watch, over a single weekend in 2009, to buy off various countries in support of his government’s campaign to have Australia elevated to a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council?

Yet disturbingly, there are reports today that Foreign minister Julie Bishop will, in fact, consider providing official backing to any push by Rudd to go to the UN if he formally requests it.

Such support cannot and must not be provided, for the cretin Rudd is something the wider world needs like the pox.

Many, it seems, have forgotten the Rudd brand of diplomacy, brown-nosing to Chinese leaders to their faces and showily refusing audio translation of their speeches to highlight his Chinese language skills, whilst calling them “rat fuckers” behind their backs.

And it beggars belief that the kind of wit and wisdom exhibited toward foreign leaders by Rudd behind the scenes, replete with contempt for his audience and filled with malignant animus, could have ever been overlooked.

We will keep an eye on Rudd as this issue develops: in some respects, it’ll be quite like old times.

But the bottom line is that Kevin Rudd — despite the shortfalls of the United Nations, which are many, and the inappropriate activities it engages in that have nothing to do with preserving military peace whatsoever — is perhaps the most unsuitable candidate on Earth to lead an organisation whose primary purpose is the preservation of order and the maintenance of global peace.

Right now, the world faces increasing instability and growing threats of military conflict: the plunge in relations between Russia and the West to Cold War levels of iciness heads that list, of course, but there are other threats wherever you look. The perennial problem of North Korea and its ongoing development of nuclear weapons capabilities and the accompanying bellicose threat to launch them on the US, South Korea, Japan, and God knows who else. The tinder box that is the Middle East. Russia’s perceived designs on the Baltic states, as well as the ambition to annex other Soviet-era satellites, after its march into the Crimea provoked no consequences of significance. Perpetual tensions between India and Pakistan, or between Israel and all of its neighbours. On and on the list goes. One misstep, at the wrong time and over the wrong issue, could set off a chain reaction.

In this sense, the last thing anyone would characterise as “a resource” to deal with these threats is Kevin Rudd: abusive, egomaniacal and incendiary, Rudd’s penchant for strutting the world stage and lecturing people — to build his own profile, irrespective of whether anything is ever achieved — would simply place another match into the box.

It doesn’t matter that some characterise Ban Ki-moon as ineffective, ineffectual, or lazy; it doesn’t justify putting an insidious and volatile specimen like Rudd in his place when the opportunity to replace him falls due.

Just when you think Rudd has finally gone away, back he comes with a vengeance.

There is obviously a long way to go in this issue, and as it develops, we’ll keep watch, but the final word today goes to another old Liberal Party commercial that dates from just after Tony Abbott replaced Malcolm Turnbull as opposition leader in late 2009.

The Liberals got this right; the reality soon dawned on Rudd’s ALP colleagues; and I think the more time that has passed since then, the more it has dawned on a very large contingent of the same voters who were hoodwinked into electing Rudd in 2007 in the first place.

Let Rudd play his games, and busy himself killing time, by all means: but there is no case for him to become Secretary-General at the UN.

If the government provides Rudd with any kind of endorsement, or support — either openly or behind the scenes — for hit pitch to replace Ban, it will be a very large black mark against the Turnbull government indeed.

Stay tuned.


Here You Come Again…

As I am sometimes wont to do — with tongue firmly in cheek — I’ve picked out a YouTube clip for a light-hearted lead-in to more serious matters. I apologise for the video sequence, but it’s the audio track we want. Check this out..

Reports across initially the Murdoch press today, and later the media generally, suggest that Kevin Rudd and ALP insiders acting on his behalf are planning to execute a leadership coup against Prime Minister Julia Gillard prior to the end of the month.

This has been going on for months now, and seeing it won’t go away, I thought we’d look at the likely course of events should the Rudd challenge materialise.

After all, this is the first time a timeframe has been attached to the rumblings emanating from the ALP; and despite ALP figures (pointedly, all of whom are Gillard’s cabinet colleagues) protesting today that the latest round of innuendo is rubbish, the old saying tells us that where there is smoke, there is also fire.

Apparently Rudd has been doing the rounds and using, among other things, the issue of Gillard’s promise to Independent Andrew Wilkie on poker machine reforms as bait with which to win leadership votes from backbenchers terrified of losing their seats in the election that is now — at most — a little more than 18 months away.

Were Rudd — or anyone else, for that matter — to challenge Gillard and lose, it would fatally wound her and damage the government so profoundly that even if a subsequent challenge succeeded, it would be the final nail in the coffin of the ALP.

Labor would be dead in the water.

The collateral damage would be so great as to virtually paralyse the government; amid the instability, the only thing that would hold it together would be the chance that the Independents stayed on board, knowing own their electoral papers are already well and truly stamped.

Should any candidate — and the field of prospective Prime Ministers now seems to consist of only Rudd and Defence Minister Stephen Smith — stand and win, the short-term and longer outcome isn’t much brighter.

For reasons discussed in this column in past posts, the prospect of Stephen Smith as Prime Minister would signal the ALP believed it had one last glimmer of hope in turning around its current dire standing in the reputable opinion polls and in public estimation generally.

He would still face the challenge of holding together the fractious alliance with the Independents, and in my view would still likely lead Labor to a reasonably heavy defeat whenever the ensuing election occurred.

What of a switch to Rudd?

My view is that were Rudd to regain the Prime Ministership, he would immediately call an election. He would have no choice.

Graham Perrett, the Queensland backbencher and ALP member for Moreton — held by a margin of just 1.1% — has already signalled his intention to immediately quit Parliament should Gillard be overthrown in a leadership coup.

It is known that between one and three Labor MHRs have privately indicated they would do likewise; accepting that Perrett is one of the three, that still leaves a couple of other names mulling over the option.

Media reports today suggest that Treasurer and local Queensland Rudd nemesis Wayne Swan –himself insecurely seated in Lilley on a 3.2% margin — has threatened “to quit” if Rudd were returned to the Prime Ministership.

It is not yet known whether Swan’s threat is to leave the ministry or to leave Parliament altogether.

But it does raise the eminently salient point that the support Rudd appears to be gathering is on the backbench, whilst the most vocal support for Gillard seems to derive from her cabinet.

In other words, those Labor members with the closest experience of working with Kevin Rudd are the most resistant to him ever reclaiming the leadership of their party.

And that’s the problem: the people who really, really know what he’s like hate the man’s living, breathing guts.

The electorate, too, had begun to realise what Rudd really was; an egomaniac who would say or do anything to anyone to achieve his own personal objectives and ambitions.

It’s why Rudd’s stratospheric opinion poll numbers underwent a quick evaporation process over a short period of time in 2010.

I stand by my oft-stated opinion that Rudd would have been narrowly re-elected (outright) had he led Labor at last year’s election.

But I would add one qualifier: that re-election would only have been achieved if the election was held when it was.

Had Rudd remained Prime Minister and ran the additional 3-4 months of his term, that extra time would likely have been sufficient to deliver the keys to The Lodge to Tony Abbott.

But returning to the point, were Rudd to return as PM in a party leadership ballot, he might call an election, in isolation of any other consideration, to capitalise on an expected honeymoon effect.

As I have said before in this column, that “effect” wouldn’t even last the duration of an election campaign, as the electorate got a fresh look at the devil it once knew, and was vindicated in its growing opinion 18 months ago that it didn’t like it.

But will Rudd stand? He has made an artform of trying to talk about Tony Abbott whenever the question of the ALP leadership emerges; today, he said “As I’ve said one thousand times before, I’m very, very happy being the Foreign minister. That hasn’t changed and it won’t change.”

In other words, obfuscation (talking about Abbott) or vague denials couched in present-tense language that would become obsolete the instant he won a leadership ballot.

Crucially, Rudd has never directly denied — either specifically or in part — that he plans to overthrow the woman who overthrow him.

In other words, it’s coming…and so one of two things will happen.

One, Gillard’s backers will admit she’s finished — which, objectively, she is, as Prime Minister — and move to swing her votes in caucus behind Smith in a vote against Rudd, where Smith could probably be expected to narrowly prevail.

Or two, Gillard and Rudd go head to head in a vote in which this time, I would expect Rudd to narrowly win.

Should the latter scenario materialise, it might be the end of Gillard, but for Labor, its real problems will have only just begun.

So one way or another, and irrespective of whether he wins or loses or is deliberately sabotaged by members of his own party, here he comes again: that A-grade lemon, complete and utter arsehole, and failed Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd.

What do people think?

The Second Coming Of Kevin? Who’d Want Him?

As Julia Gillard slides further into the abyss of unelectability, and as her government assumes ever-greater levels of electoral toxicity, the mutterers are again muttering; and again, it’s Kevin Rudd’s name those burblings are putting around.

Heartwarming, isn’t it? Just ten days after we last discussed the subject of Kevin Rudd and his ambitions to resume the ALP leadership and thus the Prime Ministership, the subject pops up yet again.

Reports today that Kevin Rudd has been on the telephone, working the numbers, is hardly surprising news, or news at all: he’s done his level best to undermine, frustrate, embarrass and/or thwart Julia Gillard — covertly, of course — ever since he was dumped in a brutal leadership coup last June.

What is surprising are the reports in the Murdoch press that he is eleven votes — and maybe as few as five votes — short of having the numbers to roll Gillard in a counter-coup to reclaim the Labor leadership.

As I said on 11 September:

“…he was rolled…because his colleagues thought he was an absolute, total, and complete arsehole…and because — dictatorial control freak that he is — he treated his colleagues like the scum of humanity.”

Make no mistake: Rudd treated his colleagues — the very men and women who had entrusted him with the leadership of their party in the first place — like the absolute filth of the Earth.

It’s very difficult to believe — if not inconceivable — that these same people would wave Rudd back into the prime role for two years until an election and another three afterwards if by some miracle Labor were to win.

Rudd’s leadership of the ALP lasted three and a half years; it’s hard to see his colleagues signing on for another five. And even harder to see them recruit him as a set-up to shaft him again after a theoretical election win: the Gillard experiment must surely and spectacularly have demonstrated the risks Labor faces in a midnight coup.

It faces the same risks in a midnight coup now in favour of Rudd, too.

The heady days of the soaring rhetoric, empty slogans and ridiculous expectations of the days of “Kevin ’07” are gone.

It’s true Rudd could expect to benefit — in the short-term — from a honeymoon effect built on a sympathy vote as the avenged victim, certainly in Queensland.

But the wheels have turned since he was dumped, in more ways than one.

“Kevin ’07” became “Kevin 24/7” on account of his penchant for working his colleagues and staff into the ground; that gave way to “Kevin 747” when it became clear that Rudd saw a major element of his role to involve international travel at public expense.

These travel habits have continued in his role as Foreign minister; to the extent that stories across the mainstream press today (coincidentally, I’m sure) report that in the past year Kevin 747 has racked up $1,000,000 in expenses on 14 separate overseas trips.

Remembering Rudd likes to lecture his foreign hosts, making a fool of both himself and of this country in the process, that’s a lot of public money to spend on self-indulgence.

And people are beginning to notice how much Rudd’s international antics are costing them.

The point has to be made, too, that Rudd was losing popularity quickly before he was ditched, and his government losing support in tandem.

The scope for a massive advertising blitz based on Rudd’s previous incarnation as Prime Minister — played squarely to his weaknesses and mistakes — is a potent weapon in the Coalition arsenal.

After all, it’s really only been five minutes in the big scheme of things since he was dumped.

Looking at the government as an entity, the wheel has turned too; people have had an additional 15 months to evaluate LABOR since Rudd was rolled — and indisputably detest what they have seen.

It’s true that the continuing government has operated under a different leader. But virtually all of the mainline policies it has opted to run with under Gillard — for better or for worse — are a continuation of the Rudd agenda in similar form.

Would Rudd ditch his carbon tax…(sorry, make that ETS)…again? It’s just an example but it would be a course of action utterly bereft of credibility.

Rudd would own the Labor agenda as it still stands, and with his hands suitably dirtied would end up just as trapped by it as Gillard is.

The irony is that where Gillard now stands in public opinion is precisely where Rudd was headed before Gillard ambushed him. To resume the Prime Ministership would to be to assume the rancour and odium that is the end consequence of his own agenda.

And to discard everything and start again would leave him open to an electoral killing at the hands of Tony Abbott.

Either way, Rudd’s screwed before he starts. Or restarts as the case may be.

There’s the Communists Greens and the Independents to consider.

The Greens will stick to Labor like glue, and anyone who thinks otherwise — especially in the present climate, faced with the prospect of a landslide win by the Coalition in any election any time soon — is a fool.

The Independents will do likewise, bleating and sabre-rattling notwithstanding. Andrew Wilkie might cause problems, but given he too would stand to lose his seat in any early election (exquisitely enough, to Labor) he also would probably end up toeing the line.

And then there’s the rest of the world — the real world, that is, not the jet-set world of a globetrotting bureaucrat talking to or lecturing at other bureaucrats.

Far from ideological and/or trendy ideas and social policies like carbon taxes, mining taxes and gay marriage, people the world over are realising that the so-called GFC many countries (including ours) borrowed and spent their way out of was actually the colossal global recession that is now bearing down.

The massive problem was deferred as a headcold, but is returning as a full-blown bout of influenza with likely complications.

And that blunt reality is scaring people: look at the lack of economic activity in this country at the moment once the minerals and energy sector is excluded.

For all the talk of being an “economic conservative” prior to the 2007 election, Rudd promptly embarked on a stoutly Keynesian agenda with the consequence that Australia is now $200 billion in debt — an “achievement” largely accomplished on his own watch.

If Kevin is coming, and I doubt it, who really wants him back?

Who wants him at all?

And if he is Prime Minister again, and when he reverts to type and people remember all the reasons they had begun to gravitate toward voting against him, how long will it take for the honeymoon to be over — again?

I’d wager that it wouldn’t even take long enough to make it through a snap election campaign.

Finally, tonight — and for a bit of a smile — the last word goes to an advertising agency.

Have a look at the link here…and remember that the large amount of money to produce this, and the even larger amount of money to broadcast it, would never have been spent if the premise behind it hadn’t been bang on the money.