The last letter Kevin Rudd signed as Prime Minister the night before he was rolled by Julia Gillard was a plea for compassion from the Australian people.

A plea for compassion was one of Rudd's last acts.

At just after 6 pm on Wednesday night a delegation representing a new Charter of Compassion, set to be presented in Parliament on Thursday, was led down to the Prime Minister’s office.

The group was to have Kevin Rudd sign a letter supporting the charter, an initiative of ethical foundation, which was set to be read out at the next day’s launch.

The Punch understands that the group had received a letter earlier that afternoon, sent off as part of the afternoon dispatch of other Prime Ministerial letters. But there had been a spelling mistake in the first version and the Prime Minister - ever the perfectionist - agreed to sign a new and corrected version.

A government staffer led the group down to Rudd’s office with the updated copy that missed the evening mailbag from the Prime Minister’s office.

Endorsing the charter it read:

The Charter of Compassion is an important global initiative to bring compassionate thinking and action to the centre of religious, moral and political life.

At is core is the great principle of reciprocity – that we should “Do unto other others as you would have done onto you”.

In each of the finest moments of our history, compassion has been a defining feature of the Australian character. We are a nation that believes in the fair go for all, in our responsibility to care for each other, and in being a good neighbour to those in our immediate neighbourhood and beyond.

The staffer emerged from Rudd’s office a short time letter with the newly signed letter.

At this time Julia Gillard was in meeting with factional bosses ironing out the details of her move on Rudd, and within about half an hour she would be in Rudd’s office informing him of her intention to challenge for the Prime Ministership.

Senator Ursula Stephens read the letter out at the launch just before midday on Thursday, moments after Kevin Rudd had just resigned as Prime Minister.

Rudd's letter of compassion

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    • Eric says:

      06:10am | 29/06/10

      Ah yes, the fake compassion of the Left. Compassion for everyone - unless those people happen to be white, male, heterosexual, Christian,  Liberal voters, or any other group that’s targeted for hate.

      The “compassion” of the latte left is nothing more than a means of gaining the warm inner glow of imagined moral superiority. It is shallow, ill-considered, and directed only at trendy causes.

      Let’s be real about this. Making a public show of one’s “compassion” is nothing but a prop to one’s ego. Using claims of one’s own “compassion” as a basis for political point-scoring against opponents is the ultimate in hypocrisy.

      Honest self-interest is far preferable to syrupy protestations of universal love that require other people to bear the costs.

    • Megan says:

      07:56am | 29/06/10

      Now now Eric, you are not showing much compassion

    • The Redman says:

      08:23am | 29/06/10

      Ummm, I think Christian’s are a group in society that display their “compassion” on a daily basis, wouldn’t you say? Indeed, I would say christian leaders, such as the Pope, are among the most vociferous regarding “syrupy protestantions of universal love”. And of course, conservatives never use their compassion for their own political purposes. No. Of course they don’t. As for targets of hate, well that’s absurd. I, for one, am sick to death that conservatives continue to describe those that do not vote for the Coalition in insulting terms: idiots, morons and other words and phrases indicating the lack of intelligence of anyone who votes Labor or Greens. I would also say that the vast majority of people are governed by self-interest, wouldn’t you?

    • Christian Real says:

      08:38am | 29/06/10

      I think that you will find that Kevin Rudd belonged to the right wing side of the ALP.

    • Liz says:

      09:14am | 29/06/10

      Take it you mean women, feminists,homosexuals,indigenous people,the disabled, bastard adoptees and others in that ‘targeted for hate’ group?

    • Jeremy says:

      10:13am | 29/06/10

      What’s everyone’s problem with Latte’s? They’re delicious!

    • Don says:

      01:23pm | 29/06/10

      How the hell does one feel sorry for Rudd ? This thing tried to fool Australia into a one way deal of a ETS that we could never be got out of.
      That ETS would have destroyed the wealth of this country and given it to the so called third world forever, that same ETS having no effect on ‘climate change’.

    • CHRIS says:

      05:23pm | 29/06/10

      Yes I’m with Jeremy on this….

    • Greg says:

      06:46pm | 29/06/10

      Well said, Eric.

      The moral supremacists are not interested in sincere compassion, only conspicuous compassion in quest of competitive altruism.

      If the cause doesn’t come with a ready-made trendy bumper sticker, which they can show off to their friends, then they are not interested.

    • Dan says:

      04:15am | 01/07/10

      This from the person who shows no compassion to women, Muslims, asylum seekers, left-wingers and anyone who is not as bigoted, ignorant and extremist as you are!

    • Gary Cox says:

      07:26am | 29/06/10

      Ha. This has got to be some sort of joke. Rudd is the least compassionate bloke to ever represent Australians. Some quick points:
      -Blowing his fuse at staffers over a hairdryer
      -The air hostess incident
      -Swearing at and abusing staffers to the point where he held some sort of record for staff turnover in his office
      -Playing with the lives of asylum seekers by one day waking up and saying we’re no longer taking Afghan refugees for no reason other than he thought it would be a vote winner.
      -Treating his cabinet ministers as if they were idiots and not consulting them on any issue
      -Generally giving me the impression that he thought he was the smartest bloke in Australia and everyone else are idiots.

    • Holly says:

      08:44am | 29/06/10

      Maybe Gary the only Kevin Rudd you knew was a construct of the media.  What I am finding confusing is that the media went on the attack against Rudd - the archives of this post tell their own tale on this, but we also have the major press and the shock jocks who have been merciless.  I admired Kevin Rudd for his resilience in the face of all this but it was taking its toll and I believe his reluctance to consult was indicative that he felt under seige.  Suddenly all those in the media and members of the public who have attacked Rudd seem to be the ones who are now outraged that he has been treated “badly” by his own party.  Compassion is after all the key to what makes us human, but compassion is not enough to succeed in politics.  I believe Kevin Rudd brought an injection of decency to Australia after many years of a government which basically looked after the well off at the expense of the low to middle income earner, (regressive GST, welfare for the rich, run down of public school and hospital facilities)  and blatantly played on the fear factor in the case of refugees. The coalition did this quite cynically by using a group of people they knew would not question a complex argument reduced to words of one syllable.  They are still doing this with the “Great big new tax” mantra.

    • Fiona says:

      09:16am | 29/06/10

      Eric - if you checked out what the Charter for Compassion actually is you would see it’s far from the stereotype you describe.  Whatever your views on Rudd, inform yourself before passing judgement on these sorts of initiatives.
      I challenge you to find issue with what this group represents.

    • James1 says:

      12:12pm | 29/06/10

      Eric is just upset and nervous because there is a lady as Prime Minister Fiona.  If you read The Punch regularly, you should know how scared Eric is of women.  Have a little compassion for the poor fellow - living with that much fear must be difficult.

    • Eric says:

      06:17pm | 29/06/10

      Fiona, my comment was about the cynical intersection between politics, psychology and public statements of compassion - not the charter itself.

      As for the Charter, since you bring it up, it’s a feel-good statement that people will sign, but it has no real meaning. No-one who signs it commits to any specific action, just a vague principle of being compassionate. It won’t change anyone’s behaviour. Like a petition against kicking puppies, it’s a nice idea that everyone can agree with, but essentially pointless.

    • Rudi says:

      09:40am | 29/06/10

      The Redman is almost there with his rationalisation in his final paragraph. It is not “.. the vast majority of people who are governed by self-interest..” Every human being on earth is incapable of other than satisfying his/her self interests.

      Many decisions are between negative options - the rock and the hard place - but the decision cannot be other than that the choice will be for the least dissatisfaction.

      It matters not what categorisation of people is applied, religious leaders, political leaders, mum and dad, etc., ; decisions will always maximise self satisfaction.

      The trick is to pick ‘leaders’ who appear to have ‘standards’ which accord with some concept of benefit to society - compassion by all means - but I cannot see this in any of our religious of political leaders.

    • Tails says:

      09:47am | 29/06/10

      That signature looks like it says “Kevin Bacon”. Now HE’D make an awesome Prime Minister!

    • Super D says:

      01:09pm | 29/06/10

      The former PM can claim a bacon number of 3.

      The PM knows Cate Blanchett (or at least did back when he was PM - I wonder how long they’ll swap xmas cards for…)

      Cate Blanchett was in the Shipping News with Deborah Grover who was in Where the Truth Lies with Kevin Bacon.

    • Jan says:

      10:05am | 29/06/10

      Will Julia Gillard now sign the same?  I still feel that much of the “politicking” in Rudd’s dismissal is yet to be revealed.  Who exactly was pulling the strings here; a case of money talks, ie. the mining magnates?  Who exactly is running this country?

    • The Old Salt says:

      10:23am | 29/06/10

      Where have you been for the last few days, Jan? The union bosses are both pulling the strings and now running the country. Obvious to anyone without an ingrained, unmoveable left-wing (Labor) bias.

    • Beryl says:

      10:44am | 29/06/10

      The Old Salt I am not in the union, nor are most older Australians, we have left the workforce but can still vote!!. And many many of us are delighted that Julia Gillard is our new PM.

    • Against the Man says:

      10:07am | 29/06/10

      Rudd with compassion? Ha what a joke. He has had the arrogance beaten out of him by his own party. A shell of a man. Disappear forever and let history remember you as one of our worst. Maybe you can score a permanent spot on the Sunrise show doing entertainment reporting, I hear you know Rove and Cate Blanchett pretty well.

    • Christian Real says:

      10:14am | 29/06/10

      Gary Cox It is good to see you echoing the diatribe of the Liberal party, they must be really proud of your efforts.
      The credibilities of the incidents that you have highlighted seem to be more instigated by the Liberal party and the press and there has never been any real proof put forward by the Liberal party or the press that any one of these things actually occurred.
      Extracts from a story, “Senator alleges PM of abuse of air crew”,  in the “Sydney Morning Herald”, may 31, 2010 - 11.19PM
      “Senator Brandis asked RAAF chief Air Marshall Mark Binskin whether the alleged outburst over the lack of a special meal really occurred.”
      ” I put it to you that an incident of the kind…did in fact take place,” he said’
      “Air Marshall Binskin responded: “An incident of the severity you describe has never been reported to me.”
      Gary Cox, The ‘hairdryer’ incident was never really substantiated either, and seems to be another concocted story in the figment of the imagination of Liberal party opposition.
      A record staff turnover you say.
      From “The Daily Telegraph”,December 16, 2009 @ 12.00AM
      “Tony Abbott’s a Scrooge for sacking staff over the holiday season.”
      “Tony Abbott is playing the part of Scrooge this Christmas by letting go most of former opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull’s 25 staff just in time for the festive season”
      Gary Cox, it seems Abbott has set a record for the turnover of staff in one day alone.
      I suppose Gary cox, that you didn’t see Howard playing with the lives of refugees with his ‘Pacific Solution’,and it would be nice to know how much Howard costs the Australian taxpayers by ‘paying’ pacific islands’ to take the responsibility of the refugees off the former Liberal government’s hands, even though that Australia is a signed signatory of the ‘Refugees Convention of 1951”.
      And Gary Cox, I think that you will find that the Liberal/National party Opposition Ministers haven’t been too pleased with Abbott because he has failed on several occassions to consult issues and policies with them.
      extract from “Libs anger over abbott policy move”, AAP. May 27, 2010 @ 9.36am
      “A squabble has broken out within Coalition ranks over the Opposition’s new boat people policy, with key moderates complaining they were not consulted about the plan.”
      Extract from the Sydney Morning Herald, “Abbott sorry for go - it - alone pledge.” , March 9, 2010 - 4.37PM
      “Tony Abbott has sought forgiveness from his party room after failing to consult it about his plans for a paid parental leave scheme.”
      Greg Cox, it seems that Tony Abbott continuely fails to consult his Ministers over policy issues, and he is also a self confessed liar, caught out on the 7.30 Report , as well as being in breach of Parliamentary rules ,where Abbott failed to declare a $710,000 mortgage on the register for MP’s pecuniary interests.( Story in News.Com.Au, “Tony Abbott’s secret $710,000 loan” ,
      source: ‘The Daily Telegraph’, June 23, 2010 @ 12.00AM)

    • GaryCox says:

      01:49pm | 29/06/10

      Maybe some of what you say is true, but the Liberals weren’t/aren’t planning a charter for compassion. Case closed, Next.

    • iansand says:

      03:53pm | 29/06/10

      GaryCox - The Liberals not planning a Charter of Compassion?  Wonders will never cease.

    • The Redman says:

      04:36pm | 29/06/10

      Not maybe, Garry Cox. Christian’s post is spot on. And good to see that we have a Liberal supporter admitting the Party is without compassion. I mean, having lived through the Howard years, I already knew that, but it’s good that you’ve recognised it.

    • Gary Cox says:

      06:51pm | 29/06/10

      Hey I’m not necessarily a Liberal voter, I just had a strong dislike for Rudd. And its Gary with one R thanks.

    • Andrew says:

      11:22am | 29/06/10

      Ah yes, the compassion of the Labor party. They have a monopoly on social services. It is a lovely myth. They spend less not more on social services but everyone still believes it to be the other way around. The ALP at state and federal level has been responsible for dismantling one service after another with the excuse that they are putting in “care in the community”. What it really means is that they expect families to do everything that was once done by government. It is lovely to see my neighbour having to give up work to look after her sister..yes, really did happen. Her parents died within seven weeks of one another. There was nowhere else for her sister to go. She was told “it’s your responsibility”. 
      I could give you an endless list of the politically correct and supposedly ‘compassionate’ outcomes of the policies Laborites support. The reality is that they are causing untold misery but the myth that Labor deals with all this keeps being perpetuated by some powerful people with the ear of the media and some in the public service.
      It suits Labor just fine. It’s cheap policy. That’s all that matters.

    • The Other Martin says:

      01:19pm | 29/06/10

      I think some of the respondents have let their prejudices show. It is very clear, from a cursory glance at Kevin’s record, that he is very selective of who gets his compassion. An example was the stimulus bonuses - if you were in one of his ‘special groups’ (e.g. family Tax part A recipients) then you received thousands of dollars of other people’s money. If you weren’t then you received nothing. This is the problem with this, and similar,  shows of compassion - false identifiers are selected (for ‘need’ read ‘income’) and then anyone else is ignored or made to pay the bill. If you feel compassion for someone Kevin, put your hand in your pocket first.

    • The Redman says:

      04:43pm | 29/06/10

      Isn’t everyone selective as to whom they think deserves their compassion. Many people have compassion for, say, Shapelle Corby. And many have no compassion for her at all. You seem to think that a person should show compassion to everyone or, alternatively, noone at all. Your description of the stimulus package is interesting, to say the least. The truth is somewhat simpler. If you were too rich, you didn’t get it. And other people’s money? Virtually everyone who was eligible for the stimulus package pays tax.

    • The Other Martin says:

      04:06pm | 30/06/10

      Yes Redman everyone is selective - but the the government must be held to a higher standard. Perhaps an inexact criteria. When the government does discriminate then it is a recipe for injustice e.g. the stolen generations and the stimulus payments. Your comment about being ‘too rich’ shows your view that there are not just Australians in this country but ‘worthy Australians’ and ‘unworthy Australians’. Somewhat lacking in compassion for the unworthy some might think. Also a dangerous path - where do you draw the line? How confident are you that there are no people in the wrong group? - an impossible task; especially when you consider the sparse information the government has about us. To answer you point about tax - look at the Henry Review papers, the people on lower incomes receive far more in services/transfer payments etc than they pay in Taxes - ergo the extra they receive is from ‘someone else money’.

    • John S says:

      05:08pm | 30/06/10

      Today’s group you don’t feel compassion for are tomorrow’s Stolen Generations

    • Abbot Fan says:

      01:37pm | 29/06/10

      When the media and the people of Australia scrutinised Kevin Rudd they should have scrutinised the Labour Party as a whole because as a result Rudd took the blame for a Govt that enjoyed high popularity until some where along the line they lost their way.

      A letter to Rudd:

      The impact on the Labour policies promised to the people of Australia by you and your Party in the last Elections has unfortunately taken its toil on the weak, vlunerable and gullible. It is with deep sadness that there isn’t going to be any “compassion” even after your political assassination by those that without your “charisma” wouldn’t have been able to oust the Howard Govt of 12 years. To rub salt into your raw wounds the Gillard Govt have discarded your political corpse for the time being until Ms Gillard gets herself into the history books as the first red hair, childless, unwed female PM and moves into the Lodge with her boyfriend.

      Before that happens I have urged Ms Gillard to announce to the people of Australia that she and her caucus do not keep the “Polling Results” in their favour she will then show some “compassion” and step down willing for her deputy Wayne Swann to take her place, then the swearing in, reshuffle of cabinet, reforcing of policies, etc will take place immediately. This can be carried out as many times when they are spooked by “Polling Results”

      We the Australia people will not have to worry about good policies or whether the Gillard Govt is doing a good job. All is needed is to check out the “Polling Results” “All too Easy!”

      Best wishes on your well deserved break,

      Abbot Fan.

    • SWEARING IN says:

      01:14am | 30/06/10

      Can you be sworn in without swearing on a bible ?????

    • Press says:

      07:10am | 30/06/10

      Keep up at the back there.

      The Governor-General gave the PM the “solemnly affirm” oath.

      A choice for swearing-in that’s been available for decades, in Parliament and in the Courts.

      Commission as PM sworn, signed, sealed and recorded by the press cameras.

    • Fred says:

      02:30pm | 29/06/10

      A Charter for Compassion is a noble goal. I hope it gains traction in this sad world. I wish it was the framework for all Australian legislation and regulations.

      It’s got a ring to it a bit like the constitution of the USA, you know, “we hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal ” etc.  Give the next generation something idealistic to strive for, and let the cynics log off!

    • Nigel Catchlove says:

      03:15pm | 29/06/10

      Ahh, the good old US of A.  Their constitution has made them so idealistic it has stopped them waterboarding, falsely detaining people, disenfranchising indigenous folk, locking into debt generations of African Americans, starting wars, polluting the environment, weaponsing space, killing poor criminals, freeing rich criminals (O.J. Simpson), following lunatic cult leaders, etc etc.

      Cynical as that may sound, I agree that a bit of compassion can go a long way but this Rudd charter seems as symbolic as the other empty gestures that were the hallmark of his prime ministership and should be consigned to the rummbish bin of history along with his other compassionate policies such as the one that encourages people to take a long and dangerous journey her by boat.  If he was any sort of a compassionate human being he would not have instituted changes to our immigration system that encourage that kind of risk. ‘Another boat on the way. Another policy failure.”  J. Gillard 23 April 2003.

    • The Redman says:

      04:39pm | 29/06/10

      Nigel quoted ‘Another boat on the way. Another policy failure.”  J. Gillard 23 April 2003. “

      But it was a policy failure. Howard promised to stop all boats in any way they could. It failed because it is impossible. Gillard was making the point that the policy of the Howard Government regarding asylum seekers, that is to prevent every boat and every person landing in this country, was in fact, a failure. Because Howard didn’t do that at all, ever, in his 12 years in office. He might have slowed them by instigating policies that are among the most shameful in this country’s history, but he didn’t stop them.

    • Eric says:

      06:19pm | 29/06/10

      Howard’s policy was a success, and most Australians know that. The number of asylum stealers rose dramatically when Rudd changed the policy.

      You can peddle your spin as much as you like, but nobody is fooled.

    • stephen says:

      02:57pm | 29/06/10

      To have a feeling for extraneous and unusual things will not come by instruction alone, i.e, legislation, or simply telling others that all should feel more.
      It should be practised and nurtured. And only through art and culture can this be done. (I mean, you can feel unbridled joy selling something to a chump, but that ain’t the practice I’m thinking of. That’s called peeling an orange.)

    • Noah says:

      04:01pm | 29/06/10

      Compassion must be mixed with common sense or the ark will be overloaded

    • Ashley says:

      07:28pm | 29/06/10

      Noah you are right on the mark there!

    • Jason says:

      04:36pm | 29/06/10

      Dear Kevin - yourself and the gang of 4(including the Wicked Witch of The West) inherited a $20 billion dollar surplus, very few asylum seeker boats etc etc.  No one to blame but yourself MATE, and I actually regard you as Australia’s first woman prime minister!!!

      And If I hear about how the government kept us out of a recession again I’ll scream.  The $900 stimulus package handout ended up in Phuket along with 5 mates and their $900…..How did that save us from receission you twit.

    • the truth says:

      07:43pm | 29/06/10

      you decided where you spent the money champ….. hard to blame that on someone else ....

    • DD Ball says:

      05:20pm | 29/06/10

      What a brilliant example of Rudd’s fifth wheel approach to governance. Such an item might be worthy of a governor general, but is ridiculous when a legislative member of government considers such a device .. it goes against everything I believe in, in that I believe people should be compassionate by choice, not through governmental policy. Bureaucracy isn’t and cannot be compassionate if it is to be fair. If only Rudd were a Christian and understood the need and role of God in our lives.

    • Ashley says:

      07:42pm | 29/06/10

      After reading the charter for compassion it’s a blatant simplistic utopian idealisim ideology (like Rudd). And it doesn’t take in consideration the complexity of human behaviour and the individuals choice of free will or free thinking.

    • Andrew Bartlett says:

      11:57pm | 29/06/10

      It is understandable, but still a shame, that most commenters react to this story through the prism of their view about Kevin Rudd or Labor or politicians, etc.

      The Charter for Compassion has almost nothing to do with Kevin Rudd, apart from the laudable fact that he signed a letter in support of it. The Charter has been developed over the last couple of years by a huge number of people across the entire planet of all religious faiths (and some of no religious belief) with no connection to party politics.

      I’m no fan of Kevin Rudd and even when he was very popular I had a lot of trouble understanding why so many people seemed to like him so much.  But it is good that he gave his support to this Charter of Compassion - even though sadly like many things politicians lend their name to, I’m not convinced he was planning to shift government policies or rhetoric to in any way better reflect the content of of the Charter.

    • joe says:

      12:30am | 30/06/10

      I’m done with being compassionate to humans. All they do is destroy the planet. The more we let in, the more Australia is ruined. There has to be a point where the third world has to stop overpopulating and sending its excess population to the West. Compassion towards humans is contempt to the environment and wildlife. Conservatives want to increase the population for money, leftists want to increase it so whites are a minority.

      Quite frankly, to hell with the left and the right. If Hitler was right about one thing, it was that that capitalism, liberalism and marxism are mental diseases that are destroying mother earth.

    • NK says:

      07:25am | 30/06/10

      Joe, why is the status quo of nature in and of itself desireable? Animals may adopt themselves to the environment, but humans adopt the evironment to themselves. That is the history of civilisation.

      Btw capitalism isn’t an idealogy, it’s a naturally occurring phenomenon.

    • pc says:

      12:21pm | 30/06/10

      I dont feel sorry for Kevin Rudd. He wasnt knived. He lost a spill and then did the courageous thing and resigned. A captain stepped aside for his team. A team he is still very much a part of. Unlike some others we could mention he didnt threaten to take his bat and ball and go home in a tiff. He stuck it out on the backbench.

      Many people believe the term Ruddbott is a perjoritave. Perhaps thats what Annabel Crabb meant when she coined it. I never considered it so. For me it was a nickname, a term of affection and related to his relentless movement. It was a cute name for a cute PM. To call him cute isnt to reduce his record.

      The Ruddbott is the labor hero that helped save the labor party. He was the opposition leader that beat John Howard. He was the prime minister that apologised to the Stolen Generations and fought on the frontline of the gfc, here and abroad. The Prime Minister that ratified Kyoto and made climate change an issue in Australian politics, his government delivered the largest investments in education in history and the first universal paid parental leave scheme.

      And he signed the charter of compassion.


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