Rudd’s last act: a plea for compassion
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.
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 Ted.com, 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.
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