Kevin Rudd, a man who once upon a time I had little time for has earned some of my respect. As leader of the ALP he brought them to Government and followed though on a promise to make the apology the the Stolen Generation an important and early part of the program. He is the commensurate diplomat, and on all accounts seems to do a good job a foreign minister, save for those who think he should do it all on the internet.
As Prime Minister, with the solid and unswerving support of his Deputy, Julia Gillard and Treasurer Wayne Swan her served until the ‘machine decided’ and Julia was given the task of deposing him. A long way from recovering the ALP position they all but lost the election, and Julia holds office with the consent of the Greens an Independent from Tasmania and Two ex-Nats from NSW.
The media seems determined to constantly suggest that Kevin Rudd should take the helm again, and that he is plotting a coup – doing the numbers – shoring up support …. and I ask you, have they even thought about it. He has already done the job, and has access to all the lifetime benefits former Prime Ministers have. It is a higher pay scale, but in truth he would certainly earn more out of parliament than in it. His wife clearly is successful, and in reality I think one must conclude it is not the money. I believe he genuinely enjoys making a difference, and wants to be remembered for the good that he has done.
I am not saying that he is without ambition, drive or tenacity, and suggestions that he would try and tee up a UN job seem to have a lot more credence. It would give him the opportunity to make a difference in an area where he clearly excels and which makes sense of who he is nd what he has to offer.
I don’t think that Kevin Rudd would mind being Prime Minister of Australia, however for him that would also mean that he would need to be the leader of the Parliamentary wing of the Labor Party, and that would seem to have little attractive about it. There are clearly a lot of things that are likely to interest Kevin Rudd far more that returning to the Lodge.
Firstly it means leading a Government with a negotiated majority of one that they may well ostensibly loose in Kevin Rudd took the post. The deal is such that you may well not want it anyway. Despite Julia Gillard’s strong talk her Government is as strong as the weakest link.
Secondly, at least superficially it would seem that the ALP lacks stability, the tension between the left and the right and the vacillating means even the Prime Minister calls it a win when she gets something through caucus, let alone taking it to the floor of the house.
There is no suggestion that the vulnerability of the enemy within is any less apparent, and that which brought him down last time could easily bring him down again. Essentially the Labor party has had no healing, and it would seem are incapable of understanding why they did so poorly in the polls last time. Current opinion polls suggest that they will be punished for this next time.
Alternatively, serving as Foreign Minister he can leave the mess to the “Words Best Treasurer” and Bob Brown’s Assistant, and go about the business of being one of the Best Foreign Ministers (thou we have had some excellent Foreign Ministers Over the Years on both sides of the house), making a real and positive difference now and looking forward to the possibility of some sort of hat in the UN circle.
The later appears the chosen course of action, and he remains one of the most popular ex-Prime Ministers we have ever had.