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When will Rudd return?

I have reproduced this post from my home blog Alpine Opinion. It’s NOT about the Queensland election per se, which is a separate issue, but more regarding the likelihood that Kevin Rudd will use the Queensland election campaign to build a platform (or a higher platform) from which to make his bid to regain the Prime Ministership:

Bligh: "That's him, that's Campbell Newman over there." Rudd: "You mean that little runt? I can play him on a break."

The recent Australia Day kerfuffle in Canberra was not Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s fault. I’m sure she had no prior knowledge of – nor did she authorise – her adviser to stir up the aboriginal tent embassy protestors into an ugly mob that resulted in some dramatic, if not outright bizarre & embarrassing, footage of the PM being dragged, manhandled and groped by an AFP ‘minder’, who thought he’d find his 15 minutes of fame by acting as though someone had pulled a gun on his boss. They hadn’t, and I suggest that the PM (and Tony Abbott) could have merely walked to their cars surrounded and flanked by security, instead of the rather unedifying manner in which they were forced to look like prized scaredy cats … to the whole world.

Anyway, the upshot of it all is that it did Gillard’s re-election prospects no favours whatsoever. By contrast, Abbott actually suffers no such blemish, as it has emerged that a PM staffer did ‘the dirty work’ and that Tony Abbott’s words had in no way inflamed the protesters . Julia Gillard just can’t take a trick and seems to stumble (literally in this latest incident) from one disaster to another. Rightly or wrongly she is increasingly perceived as ‘dead person walking’, in a purely political sense of course.

The other thing that is becoming increasingly obvious is that Kevin Rudd, the man she unceremoniously deposed as PM just prior to the 2010 election, will at some stage make a challenge for the leadership. It’s now a case of ‘when’ not ‘if’ Rudd will seek to get his old job back. And he seems to have picked the perfect vehicle in joining Anna Bligh on her Queensland re-election campaign, as this Age article points out:

KEVIN Rudd will use the Queensland election campaign as the springboard for a renewed push to wrest the prime ministership back from Julia Gillard, Labor Party insiders predict.

The Foreign Minister, who represents the Brisbane seat of Griffith, promised he ”will help any campaign that they want me to” during the election, pitting Labor Premier Anna Bligh against former Brisbane lord mayor Campbell Newman, now Liberal National Party leader.

Labor insiders say Mr Rudd’s involvement in the campaign for the March 24 election is designed to boost his profile, highlight the disparity in popularity between the former and present prime ministers, remind his caucus colleagues how crucial Queensland is in the next federal election – and stoke leadership tensions.

… Mr Rudd isn’t expected to make a move on the leadership until after the poll, which Labor is tipped to lose badly.

The most recent Newspoll put it 12 percentage points behind the LNP on a two-party-preferred basis. ”If the result is very bad in Queensland for Labor, it will put enormous pressure on Julia Gillard,” a senior party figure said.

Okay, words from “insiders” (faceless people) don’t amount to much, but I’d suggest they’re probably spot on in this case. Think about it: Rudd is a Queenslander – the first ever Queensland PM – and didn’t they react violently (in voting terms) to Gillard’s knifing of him in the 2010 election? If it hadn’t been for Queensland, Labor would clearly have been returned in their own right with no reliance on the Greens, Windsor, Oakeshott and the flakey Andrew Wilkie. No need for a carbon tax. No need for pokie reforms and no need to break the deal and, once again, appear two-faced and untrustworthy. Rudd would be now heading for a 3rd term in my opinion.

And despite the Queensland opinion polls that put Anna Bligh well behind her LNP opposition, I reckon Kevin Rudd can make a difference and at least help to close the gap on Campbell Newman, the would-be-Premier who is not even a Parliamentarian yet – a weakness both Bligh & Rudd are sure to exploit. Bligh may well lose the election but either way I reckon Rudd will come out of it a winner.

And it’s for that reason that my prediction on the question posed by the heading to this post is this:

Kevin Rudd will challenge Julia Gillard for the leadership sometime in April this year. And he’ll win.

What do you think?

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6 Comments

  1. Leon Bertrand says:

    The problem for Rudd is that most of his caucus colleagues completely dislike him after the arrogant and high-handed manner which he treated them when he was PM.

    The caucus probably also thinks that if Rudd is reinstated, the voters will soon enough be reminded of why they disliked him in the months leading to his dumping.

    Many of his colleagues and virtually all factional bosses would prefer a third candidate – watch out for a dark horse like Smith or Shorten to put up his hand when Gillard steps down or is dumped.

  2. Ray Dixon says:

    Those caucus members looking at losing their seats might ‘forget’ how much they dislike him, Leon, if they think it means they might have a slim chance of keeping their $180,000+ jobs (and parliamentary pensions).

  3. Leon Bertrand says:

    As I said, if Rudd is reinstated, the voters will soon enough be reminded of why they disliked him in the months leading to his dumping.

    If they want to bring back Rudd, they should do it just before they call an election so that people don’t start to remember how bad Rudd really was.

  4. GD says:

    Ray, I’ll suggest you have both a short term and selective memory of your hero, Kevin Rudd. He wasn’t as bright and shiny as you imagine.

    Kevin Rudd is a good election campaigner and a master at creating an image

    The social housing program for the homeless lost $2bn to the school building program because schools’ demand outran its initial budget. The Prime Minister had set a target of halving homelessness in Australia by 2020.

    Just like its parent program, the envisaged new scheme to help create jobs was dumped. Instead of $1bn being spent on insulating about 800,000 more houses the money, or at least most of it, will be spent fixing the mistakes involved in spending the previous $1.5bn.

    This sounds to me like a bloke out of his depth, not a leader. A bloke who preferred to rely upon 30yr old graduate students for advice rather experienced and proven political advisors.

    So you want Rudd back, the bloke good at campaigning and creating an image?

    After the damage that the Rudd/Gillard experiment has wrought on Australia, it’s unbelievable that any sane person could vote for a continuance of this incompetent, and now proven corrupt, regime.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/pm-on-the-run-from-policy-failures/story-e6frg6zo-1225857147540

  5. Ray Dixon says:

    I’ll suggest you have both a short term and selective memory of your hero, Kevin Rudd

    He’s not my “hero”, GD. The only politicians in living memory that come close to hero status, in my opinion, are Paul Keating for his visionary leadership, no bullshit and ‘take no prisoners’ attitude, and Anna Bligh for her outstanding and ‘heroic’ leadership during Queensland’s flood & cyclone crisis.

    it’s unbelievable that any sane person could vote for a continuance of this incompetent, and now proven corrupt, regime.

    Well, GD, they’ll get at least 30% of the primary vote and maybe as much as 40% if Rudd comes back. And on a two-party preferred they’ll end up with at least 45%. So, according to you, nearly half the Australian electorate are “insane”. Do you seriously believe that? – ie. that everyone who doesn’t see issues & events as you do is insane?

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