I wrote this the day after K Rudd once again became Prime Minister – explained then as now why he didn’t nominate an election date.
Whether it was in the dead of night or the cold harsh light of a Canberra day, the deal was done and the Lodge has changed hands. The Hon Kevin Rudd now reigns once more as Prime Minister of Australia, but ask yourself this, why was Kevin Rudd successful in pulling off what not so long ago would have been deemed impossible?
The even bigger question of course, why hasn’t the new Prime Minister set an election date? Most commentators expected that announcement the night he beat Julia Gillard.
The other matter that begs for explanation is why did Kevin Rudd put himself through all this just to ultimately be defeated at a general election in only a matter of weeks?
The answer seems pretty straight-forward, no great political genius attached to working it out – Labor was facing annihilation. What had been relatively safe seats were to be snatched up by Liberal candidates not even well known to their own Families, let-alone the electorate.
The scale of the defeat was looking to be so large as to possibly eclipse the three previous times Labor has been land-slided out of office. It was first in 1949, by Menzies, in 1975 by Fraser with true credit belonging to Gough Whitlam and most recently in 1996 when, without the GST that held back Hewson, John Winston Howard clobbered Paul Keating.
Labor MPs, including Ministers who thought they were in secure jobs for life were looking down the barrel of political oblivion. With their mates not in office in NSW, VIC, QLD or WA and hence no safety net, those elected after the parliamentary super changes, would join the queue at Centrelink or need to apply for real jobs – the stuff of sleepless nights.
The situation for Labor was understandably viewed as so bad that the ensuing coup really was the stuff of last resorts. Bring back in 2013, the man who was removed because polling showed he was threatening Labor’s re-election prospects in 2010.
There were also the small matters of Kevin Rudd’s supercilious behaviour and dictatorial style, but if the so called, ‘Faceless Men’ had thought he could lead them to victory in 2010, Julia Gillard would never have become Australia’s first female Prime Minister.
So, very simply, no secret, too many of us will lose our seats – the unthinkable is the only option – we have to bring back the bloke who has spent the last three years doing all he can to undermine Julia Gillard.
In a nutshell, as they say, all the polling tells us the only thing that’ll make a difference is to raise the crucified Kevin Rudd from the dead. We’ll still get beaten, but it’ll be much closer and we won’t face that long out of Power.
Of course it would also mean they (Labor) wouldn’t have to stomach Kevin Rudd for very long – just use him to get through the campaign – mitigate the losses, he’ll move on and Bill Shorten can become Opposition Leader.
Oh yes, there was always going to be something for Bill. A smaller defeat, a shorter time in Opposition and then on to the big one for Bill Shorten, the Lodge for himself.
Sounds good, Kevin arises, drafted as the man who can make a difference and returns like the Great Saviour he apparently is; oh, and he gets a nice little serve of revenge on Julia who without choice, ushers herself from public life.
However, maybe it isn’t quite that simple – maybe Kevin isn’t coming back to save anyone’s seat/career. Remember, this is Kevin Rudd we’re talking about – do you get the impression Kevin does anything politically for anyone else – I don’t.
I will always remember a live radio interview I did with Kevin Rudd – why he agreed to do it, I can’t be sure though I suspect it was programmed without him knowing I was the interviewer. It was a straight easy interview for him, no catches, but of all the people I’ve interviewed, I’ve never spoken with someone so cold – I think that’s the real Kevin.
Would Kevin Rudd do all he’s done over the last three years just for revenge on Julia? Would Kevin Rudd return as Prime Minister just to face defeat a short time from now? Would Kevin Rudd come back to save many Labor MPs from losing their seats or to save Labor from a decade or more in Opposition?
From what I’ve observed of Kevin Rudd, I don’t think he’s returned for all, or frankly, any of those reasons.
There can be only one reason why Kevin Rudd has returned – Kevin fully believes he can win.
I’m sure Prime Minister Rudd absolutely has complete faith in his ability to turn things around – he’s not doing this to help the Labor Party by being Leader for a month or two. In my view, such self-less motives are not a part of his character.
Conventional wisdom would be to call an election as soon as reasonably possible while there is the positive impetus of the change at the Lodge and before the public once again sees the old Kevin as he was.
Trouble is, Kevin doesn’t think there was a problem with the old Kevin – he likely considers himself the greatest leader our Nation has ever had and badly treated by those too small to grasp his brilliance.
Prime Minister Rudd doesn’t seem to be in a hurry – perhaps he wants time, not just to save a few seats, but in fact to win and truly establish himself uniquely in the political history of Australia. Bill Shorten might have to wait longer than he planned.