Is it Rudd to the rescue once more?
The torturous negotiations over who can form a Government have taken an interesting twist, with former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd arriving in Canberra as talks with crucial independents begin.
The former Prime Minister, turned backbencher, turned Labor election campaigner has arrived at the same time crucial talks with rural independents Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott and Queenslander Bob Katter are taking place at Parliament House.
While Mr Rudd’s office says his trip to Canberra is not directly related to an attempt to form a Labor Government with the three independents, the former PM has a good relationship with the former independents, and is understood to have contacted Mr Katter on election night congratulating him on his re-election.
Mr Katter has previously expressed admiration for Mr Rudd, telling the Daily Telegraph after the election: “If Rudd was still in the seat, it would be very hard to go against Kevin.”
A spokesman for Prime Minister Gillard’s office has said that Mr Rudd will not form part of the negotiating team with the independents, but Mr Rudd’s office would not rule out contact with any contact with the MPs while he is in Canberra.
The official line from Mr Rudd’s office is that the former Prime Minister has “appointments around town.” Given that he is packing up a former full time life here it may not be very surprising.
None of this is to say that Rudd shouldn’t form part of the negoiations with the independents.
In fact if he isn’t it would make sense for the Government to bring him along. If it was acceptable for Rudd to meet Gillard during the campaign and go out campaigning, why not use him now?
Rudd is known to have a good relationshiop with Windsor, Oakeshott and Katter, and his sway, especially with the fiesty Queenslander, could end up putting Labor in the box seat.
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