Knives are out and I wish they’d chop chop
I really wanted to write about My Kitchen Rules this week, but it turns out there’s even more distasteful backstabbing, strategy and deluded egomania to be had in federal politics.
After 18 months of reassurances that our Foreign Minister is a happy little vegemite in a united ALP team, it now seems clear that Prime Minister Julia Gillard has been battling two formidable adversaries: TAbbs and KRudd.
I’ve got to admit, for months I thought the Labor leadership tussle was little more than Canberra commentators feeding off a limp carcass.
I spent a few years in a political media scrum and I can tell you there’s nothing quite like the frenzy of journalists on the scent of a leadership spill or election: the relentless hounding and constant speculation can be entirely self-fulfilling.
But the journalists were right. Kevin Rudd does want his old job back, and he’s been working to undermine his own party to make it happen.
The more I think about it, the more I think we voters have been gypped.
To a large extent, Ms Gillard has no-one to blame but herself for poor polling. As I recently wrote, her back flip on pokies reform was one too many for those who’d given her the benefit of the doubt since 2010.
But now we hear the startling revelation from Clubs Australia that last November an MP allied to Mr Rudd promised mandatory pre-commitment would be scrapped if he was reinstated as PM.
Mr Rudd denies the accusation, but it seems wherever there’s smoke there’s a fire burning out of control in this sordid little affair.
Which begs at least two questions: how much of our government’s energy has been consumed with stamping out internal fires lit by one man on a mission?
What would Labor’s polling be like if Ministers had been given clear air to discuss their agenda with you and me, instead of constantly fending off both the opposition and Rudd-inspired leadership speculation?
After all that we’ve learnt in this refreshingly candid week, I fail to fathom why so many Labor punters still want Rudd back in The Lodge.
Do you believe the opposition won’t absolutely cane him on the issue of trust if he’s returned to power? And do you honestly still think he’s a victim?
It is now clear that he has been undermining Gillard’s government among politicians, journalists, financial and business leaders - hell, basically anyone within earshot - for at least 12 months.
It is eye-poppingly hypocritical, then, for Mr Rudd to say he was forced to quit as Foreign Minister because he didn’t have the support of his PM.
As far as I can tell, Rudd quit for one reason: to open the way for a tilt at the top.
And now he wants us to do his dirty work (even trotting out his wife when he was mid air), urging us all to contact our MPs and tell them to get revvin’ for Kevin.
A happy little vegemite revolution, if you will.
There’s so much he-said-she-said going on that it’s hard to keep track.
One thing’s for sure: there would not have been an overthrow in 2010, and his Labor Caucus colleagues would not be so vicious now, if things were fine and dandy with Mr Rudd’s rule the first time around.
I’m not even in the thick of federal politics, but I’ve heard numerous high-level accounts of how difficult and manic Rudd can be.
So if he loses tomorrow’s leadership ballot, Rudd needs to sod off.
Not for the benefit of the ALP, but to allow the rest of us to actually hear what our government - and yes, our opposition - have to say on policies and plans to position Australia for the future.
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