Saturday, 29 June 2013


With only a little more than two months away from a scheduled Federal Election, a couple of nights ago, the Labor Party (currently in government), panicked by unfavourable opinion polls, decided to give Julia Gillard, Australia’s first female Prime Minister the flick and reinstate the previous Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. This was an interesting thing to do, given that three years ago they gave him the flick and installed Gillard as Prime Minister in his place!
   Now, being somewhat apolitical and cynical about all politicians, I’m the first to admit I don’t know all the reasons why Rudd was ejected as leader only a couple years after leading the Labor Party to a convincing victory over the long-reigning John Howard-led Liberal/National party government.
   However, the generally-accepted scuttlebutt is that Rudd was a dictatorial leader who insisted on unilaterally making all decisions and keeping his ministers in the dark. Despite his undoubted intellectual prowess, together with his ability to talk under water and his propensity to light up like a Christmas tree whenever TV cameras were aimed in his direction, it was reported that Rudd was absolutely clueless about delegation, inclusiveness and the effective implementation and control over the policies/projects he’d decided to introduce. Not to put too much of a fine point on the matter, but if the above perceptions are correct, as my dear old dad would have said, “He couldn’t run a chook raffle!”
   In the unlikely event of Labor winning the next election, I hope Rudd found the time when he was in the wilderness to brush up on Business Management Principles and Practice Module 1 in between seeking revenge on Gillard, plotting and weaving behind the scenes and effectively destabilising the government. He claims he’ll be more consultative this time around. Well, we’ll get a glimpse of the new Rudd in the remaining weeks before the election.
   As for Gillard, she bravely called for a spill of the leadership position expecting that by doing so she’d flush out Rudd once and for all, defeat any challenge for leadership and, with the Party behind her, effectively get the guy off her case.
   Oh dear, the best-placed plans ……. Why wasn’t she aware that her parliamentary colleagues were more interested in saving their necks than adhering to any principles of loyalty? Obviously they believed the opinion polls that suggested, under Gillard, many of them would lose their seats. But, under the people’s favourite, Rudd, the polls suggested they had a better chance of survival.
   Also, less than hour before the crucial vote, one of her staunch supporters and minister, Bill Shorten, phoned her informing her he was withdrawing his support and had switched to Judd. Interesting, given he was one of the ringleaders responsible for usurping Rudd from the prime ministership four years earlier!        
   So, the battle for supremacy between the two major parties boils down to a popularity contest between the newly installed P.M., Kevin Rudd, and the Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott. The latter has had a field day feeding off the disunity and disarray of the Labor government for a long time now and to date, hasn’t had to articulate, except at a superficial level, the policies of the alternative government.
   Abbott’s easy ride now seems to be over, because Rudd, politically astute and quick to capitalise on weaknesses as he is, has already thrown down the gauntlet to him over the opposition’s stance on refugees and the economy. Rudd also knows how to manipulate the media and court public opinion. So, it appears the election period isn’t going to be one-way-traffic after all, with the opposition attacking, aided by a compliant media, and the government grimly defending its crumbling fortress.
   For the past four years, the media has feasted over the disarray of the Labor Party and Julia Gillard’s misfortunes. However, it’s now beginning to perform its predictable backflips about what a rotten deal she got; how misunderstood she was; and the you-beaut things she’d accomplished in the past three years managing a hung parliament. We can always rely on the media not to let hypocrisy get in the way of a good story!
   Now, lest you think I’m disturbed or dismayed about the political scene here in Australia, I have to confess you’re right on the money. Our current crop of politicians – oops, I nearly called them leaders – are uninspiring. I suspect I’ll be writing an unflattering comment on the ballot paper, as I cast my informal vote, yet again, this coming September.

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