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How Simon ‘Creaned’ Rudd (again) … and the rest of Australia

By Ray Dixon – reproduced from my home blog Alpine Opinion

'Double agent' Simon Crean's defection was short-lived, but was it another Crean 'dirty trick'?

‘Double agent’ Simon Crean’s defection was short-lived, but was it another Crean ‘dirty trick’?

The first inkling that Simon Crean’s new-found support for Kevin Rudd may not have been exactly a sincere change-of-heart, came soon after his surprise announcement – that he was seeking a leadership spill – when Crean suddenly (and angrily) gave an answer to a question in which he clearly chastised Rudd over his previously stated position of not mounting another challenge:

”He can’t continue to play the game that says he is reluctant or he has to be drafted. I know the party will not draft him.”

That did not sound like a friendly ‘defector’ and, furthermore, if Crean knew “the party will not draft (Rudd)” that suggests he also knew Rudd did not have anywhere near the numbers required to take the leadership – so why was Crean ‘going out on a limb’ giving everyone the impression he was in favour of Rudd being reinstated?

Looking back at Crean’s full announcement it then became clear (to me at least) that it was full of typical, evasive and ambiguous Crean ‘doublespeak’ where everything he was saying could be taken two ways. For example:

“I have talked to the prime minister yesterday and today….I am asking her to call a spill for all the leadership positions in the party. If the PM does not agree to it, which I suspect she won’t, I am calling on members of caucus to form a petition. This is not personal. This is about the party, its future and the future of the country. I believe we can win the next election.”

That’s clearly a neutral position and he’s not calling for Rudd to be PM there.

“We need to settle this and move forward. As for the position of positions being declared open – Kevin Rudd has no choice but to stand for the leadership. He can no longer say he will only be drafted. That’s why I’m putting myself forward as part of the leadership group.”

There he goes again, telling Rudd off by insisting that he challenges. And “putting himself forward” as Rudd’s possible deputy could simply be Crean trying to make his defection seem genuine – in the end it amounted to nothing.

“I’m doing this in the interests of the Labor Party and, in turn, the nation.”

And “this” could mean setting Rudd up to mount a challenge he can’t win.

“I look forward to caucus making a mature decision….I will be supporting Kevin Rudd. He has got no option but to run. I want no more games.”

Supporting him to do what? To challenge and lose? Crean’s trying too hard to force the issue here and his reference to “no more games” is actually another slur on Rudd.

“I’m urging Mr Rudd to put his name forward….I do not believe simply changing from Ms Gillard to Mr Rudd will solve anything. The internals must stop. We must be an inclusive party.”

That’s almost a dead giveaway that Crean is still in Gillard’s ‘corner’.

Mr Crean is asked if Mr Rudd has the numbers: “I wouldn’t be doing this if I did not believe there was the mood and the need for change within the party.”

There’s the ambiguous “this” word again. And yes, there was certainly a “mood” to change to Rudd among some party members but perhaps Crean means he’s out to kill that off.

And later yesterday (after the non-vote), Simon Crean’s appearance and demeanour on ABC TV – grinning like a Cheshire cat – was hardly that of a man who had failed in his mission.

For someone who had just been sacked from the Ministry position he held under Gillard after his so-called defection, Crean seemed mighty chuffed with the overall outcome and Gillard’s so-called victory … and his assault on Rudd continued:

Sacked arts minister Simon Crean says he cannot understand why Mr Rudd did not take on Prime Minister Julia Gillard at a special caucus meeting earlier on Thursday.

“I can’t understand why all of this agitation would be on, including the need to bring it to a head, then for the contender not to stump up,” he told ABC television.

… “He had an obligation to run. He didn’t discharge that obligation so he has only got one obligation now and that is to back off,” Mr Crean said.

… “I think he has demonstrated that he isn’t a threat to the leadership because he didn’t stand when he had the chance,” he said.

“(Rudd running) in itself would have been an important cleansing for the party,” he said.

Mr Crean is calling on the rest of his party to take the result as a circuit breaker to end speculation and get on with “inspiring the nation again”.

He had no regrets about acting in “the interests of getting the party back on a solid footing.”

Call me a conspiracy theorist or wise-in-hindsight, but I think those comments clearly demonstrate that, for Crean, yesterday’s outcome was mission accomplished.

Crean knows exactly why Rudd didn’t run – because he didn’t have the numbers – but feigns surprise and faux anger at Rudd for letting him down.

He’s stuck the knife in … and turned it. Again.

And Crean could barely contain his delight last night, even using the same “Rudd has/had” to challenge rhetoric he used in the morning. He didn’t miss a beat but it all sounded hollow and insincere to me.

You see, it needs to be remebered that Simon Crean was also the instigator of the first Rudd challenge just over 12 months ago when, while Rudd was overseas, he launched an extraordinary public attack following the release of the infamous ‘F-bomb’ blooper tape (that seems most likely to have been released by Gillard’s office) on the grounds that Rudd was ‘destabilising the party’.

This lead to Rudd having no choice but to resign from the position of Foreign Minister, following which Julia Gillard then announced a leadership spill to force Rudd’s hand and challenge (while he was still overseas). Crean knew then that Rudd didn’t have the numbers to topple Gillard just like he would have known the numbers yesterday – so why did he go ahead?

As for Crean being sacked as a Minister by Gillard (for his so-called disloyalty), it’s not inconceivable that that was a ‘bullet’ he was willing to take to get rid of Rudd. After all, Crean’s been around for a long time and might only have 6 months of his career left.

But as to what happens now, well, when the dust is setlled maybe it’ll become clearer that yesterday’s events will actually make Gillard’s position worse, not better.

Wait for the next opinion poll but after this debacle I reckon Labor’s support will fall even further – perhaps as low as 25% primary vote – and stay there.

And that spells real (and fatal) disaster for Gillard – maybe Rudd’s not dead yet?

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46 Comments

  1. GD says:

    As Iain has repeatedly suggested, Rudd is waiting until this Labor regime self-immolates. He would be a sacrificial fool to take on the Labor leadership at this time.

    This government is gone, dead, buried and cremated. There is no doubt about that. It would be foolish of Rudd to pick up the remnants from the burning embers.

    He is far better off being seen as the leader who has risen like a phoenix from the ashes of a previous dysfunctional government.

    However, he could also pack up his bags and move to a UN appointment.

    All the cards are in his favour. All except leading this current rabble to a federal election successfully.

  2. Iain Hall says:

    As the old saying goes revenge is a dish best served cold and Rudd’s refusal to sip from the poisoned chalice that Gillard has been holding to her chest with such vim and vigour suggests that Rudd is delighting in the ructions as much as any member of the opposition. but more than anything I think that Rudd insisting that he would not run because to do so would breaking his word, his solemn undertaking, is a very clear attack upon Gillard and a none too subtle reference to her shattered reputation for honesty because she broke her promise to the people over the Carbon tax.

  3. Simon says:

    I can’t see how the events of yesterday can be seen as anything but a failing of leadership in the Labor party and further tarnishing of the Government. I agree with Ray’s analysis that this was obviously a ruse to try and have a final crushing win against internal detractors to then allow a “unified” party contest the general election but instead we have senior members of the Labor party self-immolating, giving the appearance of jumping at shadows.

    As I’ve said before the only sensible play left – for the left – is to try and store some quality seed for next season as this sugar cane fire of an election is going to reduce them all to stubble.

  4. Iain Hall says:

    Simon

    As I’ve said before the only sensible play left – for the left – is to try and store some quality seed for next season as this sugar cane fire of an election is going to reduce them all to stubble.

    There is some truth in that Simon, I can’t help wondering though if those more senior Ruddites, like Chris Bowen, who are feeling Gillard’s boot now are secretly hoping that being thrown out of the leadership tent will be worth a few, possibly seat saving, votes on Sept 14 because they can suggests or imply that they tried to restore the “people’s PM”. Essentially its a great way to distance yourself from the foul odour of the Gillard government and gives them a chance to be the very seeds that you allude to.

  5. Ray Dixon says:

    There’s a reasonably accurate analysis in The Age and it sort-of fits in with my take on Crean too:

    http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/and-the-winner-is-8230-abbott-20130321-2gizk.html

    The man who was supposed to deliver the critical votes for a winning tally, Simon Crean, turned out to be carrying no more votes than his own.

    Crean was supposed to break the stalemate by declaring that he had lost confidence in the Prime Minister. In the leadership spill that would eventually follow, he was counted on to bring three or four other votes to give Rudd a winning edge.

    But while he certainly broke the stalemate, he turned out to represent a faction of one

    It beggars belief that Crean was seriously trying to get Rudd elected – if he were he’d have been stronger in his announcement and laid it out clearly that he wanted Rudd as PM because Gillard was taking the party nowhere. And he’d have convinced other caucus members to vote for Rudd too. He didn’t – because he was Gillard’s double agent.

  6. Iain Hall says:

    As you suggest Ray it looks like its all been a play to end the Rudd threat to Gillard and I think that from that limited objective its worked, however when it comes to the bigger picture I can’t see Gillard’s fortunes going anywhere but down the gurgler. Labor are going to be in the wilderness for a very long time at least three or even four terms by my reckoning.

  7. Ray Dixon says:

    It depends what happens during the pre-budget break, Iain, especially what happens in the opinion polls. If the polls continue to go south for Gillard (and I’m sure they will) then come May when Parliament resumes there’ll be more talk about Gillard’s leadership. In fact if their primary vote is down in the 20s she won’t survive and may well be tapped on the shoulder. It also looks certain that Abbott will try another no confidence motion and there’s actually a chance it will get up and bring on an immediate election. And if that happens the party will do a total backflip and dump her.

  8. Richard Ryan says:

    A day is a long time in politics—as for Abbott?

  9. Iain Hall says:

    Ray
    yeah the next lot of polling will be interesting, I don’t expect that Gillard has anywhere but down to go.
    Richard
    I think that after yesterday there is no doubt that Tony Abbott will be our next PM, so I recommend that you program lifeline into your speed-dial because come about nine O’clock on Sept 14 I reckon you will need to be on suicide watch.

  10. Iain Hall says:

    And another one goes:

    Karen Middleton ‏@KarenMMiddleton 8m

    Resigning from the ministry, Martin Ferguson calls on the Labor Party to make ‘a fresh start’

  11. Iain Hall says:

    2:55pm: Mr Ferguson: “I want to say to the Labor movement – thanks for the opportunity.”

    Mr Ferguson is thanking his staff, department and family.

    “I have lived out of suitcase for 17 years,” Mr Ferguson says.

    “I wonder what I’m going to do as of today, I’ve never had spare time in my life.”

    Mr Ferguson says he will go to the backbench and recontest the next election.

    “I don’t believe in by-elections.”

    Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/the-pulse-live/politics-live-march-22-2013-20130322-2gjkw.html#ixzz2OEq9Y6fp

  12. Iain Hall says:

    This picture from Bolta says it all

  13. Brian says:

    Iain, it would be much better for the ALP if Crean, Ferguson and Bowen all just bowed out of parliament altogether at the next election. Get some new blood in there and let the party start afresh without these whinging old union hacks trying to force leadership issues. Labor cannot win the next election so it should now focus on how to win in 2016. Which in my view will be entirely possible, because I don’t expect Abbott to be much, if at all better than Gillard.

  14. Richard Ryan says:

    Are we pissing in Bolta’s clogs again Iain? These blogger media whores would be lost for words on their blogs, without Gillard

  15. Richard Ryan says:

    Still don’t think Abbott will be leader of this country, as for civil war within the ALP—-Abbott should take care that he does not get caught in the cross-fire.

  16. Iain Hall says:

    Richard
    The fact that Bolta provided the image I used does not constitute “pissing in his clogs”

    further

    Still don’t think Abbott will be leader of this country

    You are sounding far less certain than you were a few weeks ago when your assertions were far bolder, and far more certain.

  17. Ray Dixon says:

    And now Carr has resigned …. not Bob, Kim.

    It’s orchestrated and possibly means the contest isn’t over yet. Although Rudd says it definitely is. Stranger things have happened though … like John Howard rising from the dead.

  18. Iain Hall says:

    Well its looking like we will see divided ALP ticket at the election then.

  19. Richard Ryan says:

    Abbott is a political thug, going back to his Uni-days.Abbott is just not leader material—–look at him compared to Malcolm who he beat by one vote—-don’t like him, he is uncertain of himself, and he is a failed Catholic cleric—-coz he had trouble keeping his pecker in his pants. Australia will be the laughing stock of the world. He will be America’s version of George Bush if he becomes leader. Bush who told us, God told him to invade Iraq, Still say he will never be leader of this country.

  20. Ray Dixon says:

    This drama ain’t over, Iain. Gillard can’t take the party to the election after what’s happened, especially if their support falls to around 25%, which is my prediction(*). So with Rudd ruling himself out (categorically) that means someone else. Bloody hell, who?

    (* I haven’t worked it out yet but if they only get a primary vote of 25% at the election – and that’s not fanciful – they’ll probably lose more than half of their 72 seats. And that makes any prediction of a possible return after one or two terms look ridiculously impossible. )

  21. Iain Hall says:

    You must be off your meds Richard that was a very big effort by your standards!

    Time will tell how well he does as PM but I suspect that you are going to be disappointed when he turns out to be more competent than you think.

  22. Richard Ryan says:

    AND then we have Julie ‘asbestos’ Bishop who was the lawyer who fought for James Hardie to deny asbestos victims compensation, All Abbott’s team are rejects who were voted out of office along with Howard, the man who lost his seat, to a former ABC journalist.

  23. Iain Hall says:

    I reckon that going on their past history the much reduced ALP caucus will cycle through half a dozen leaders in the first few terms in the wilderness.Their problem is both ideological, demographic and practical. The first because they no longer know what they stand for. The second because the voters are no longer largely uneducated labourers, the third is that they are still stuck in the old party structures of local branches dominated by the increasingly irrelevant unions.

  24. Iain Hall says:

    Richard this would have to be your theme song:

  25. Richard Ryan says:

    SAME old faces all singing from the same hymn book, imagine waking up beside Bishop in the morning—too horrid to imagine.

  26. Iain Hall says:

    I reckon it would be FAR worse waking up next to Gillard!

  27. Ray Dixon says:

    Oh come on, Iain, it’s less than 5 years since everyone was saying the Liberals no longer knew what they stood for too. They still don’t know and that’s because politics now is about one thing and one thing only – getting into power and staying there. The only mistake the ALP made was letting Gillard knife Rudd in the first place, because she’s since taken the ‘staying there’ principle to only apply to her, and she’s forgotten about the party.

  28. Iain Hall says:

    Well I think that under Abbott they have found what they stand for, now that they have moved away from the namby-pamby leaders like Nelson and Turnbull.

  29. Iain Hall says:

    4.26pm: Kevin Rudd has confirmed he did not have a majority to contest yesterday’s Labor leadership ballot and has called on Labor to unite behind Julia Gillard.

    “There was no significant majority yesterday, in fact there was no majority there at all,” he said.
    “It’s time for the Australian Labor party to unite under Prime Minister Julia Gillard and it’s time for us to confront a significant threat to our nation and its future and that is Tony Abbott and all that he stands for.

    “The Prime Minister Julia Gillard has my 100 per cent support.

    Rudd somewhat lacking in sincerity I think, except for the bit about not having the numbers.

  30. Ray Dixon says:

    He also made it clear that Crean calling the spill was a “surprise”. That he then sought advice from others (Bowen, Ferguson, Carr, etc) who all advised him he didn’t have the numbers and that he then decided not to run.

    It sounds to me like Crean forced this by himself and put Rudd in a no-win position.

    The alternative “theory” is that Crean genuinely believed Rudd could win – and that lacks all credibility.

  31. Iain Hall says:

    I think that it shows that like a lot of dysfunctional families the ALP don’t actually talk to each other very honestly

  32. Ray Dixon says:

    What political party does not have internal treachery and backstabbers in its ranks? The Liberals? Yeah right …..

  33. Iain Hall says:

    Ray I have never been a member of the Libs but unlike the ALP they don’t seem so intent on fighting their internecine battles out in public.

  34. Richard Ryan says:

    IS it any wonder Abbott wants an election now, six months time he could be dead and forgotten.

  35. Iain Hall says:

    The infighting continues…

  36. Iain Hall says:

    Gillard after Sept 14:

  37. GD says:

    What a great pic 🙂

  38. Ray Dixon says:

    I think this article confirms my “theory” (or interpretation) that Crean acted alone here … and that he acted in Gillard’s interests, not Rudd’s. In fact Rudd specifically asked Crean NOT to call for a spill:

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/kevin-rudd-text-message-shows-he-tried-to-block-simon-creans-move-to-spill-as-he-offers-to-labors-queensland-battleground-electorates-with-julia-gillard-in-a-sign-of-solidarity/story-e6frf7jo-1226603843645

    Crean never replied and went ahead with the 1 pm announcement. … hanging Rudd out to dry.

  39. Will everyone PLEASE leave Kevie Krudd alone please, he has my 100% support behind the backbenches.

    I’ve set up a kindergarten table and chair set for him to play with Joel, Kimmy the Bowmen, Craig, Slippery and of course Tony and Julie.

  40. Richard Ryan says:

    Will Julie Asbestos Bishop be there?

  41. Brendon says:

    Totally agree with author. Crean was the most suspicious looking man in Australia last week. Yet very few MSM articles touch on this.

  42. Ray Dixon says:

    It still amazes me how Simon Crean escaped any real scrutiny of his motives in last week’s call for a spill. I guess the fact Gillard immediately sacked him convinced the media (and others) that Crean was on the level. But if you think about it, Gillard’s reaction was surely premature – why sack someone just before calling a spill that you might lose and see the person you just sacked become the Deputy PM? Why not wait until after the vote to deal with him? Looked like a set up to me.

  43. Iain Hall says:

    I agree with you about Crean Ray he thought he was a rooster when he was in fact a feather duster and a rather threadbare one at that.

  44. Ray Dixon says:

    Is this blog closed for Easter?

  45. Iain Hall says:

    No Ray,
    I have two new posts but it is certianly quiet as so many people are away or over indulging in chocolate.

  46. Iain Hall says:

    Certainly not Ray but I am surprised that our “friends” are not thanking me for alerting them to the answer their chafed palm problems 🙄

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