BY MESHEL LAURIE
It was Aeschylus who coined the famous phrase “The first casualty in war is the truth”. In an extraordinary turn of events, Kevin Rudd’s declaration of war on Julia Gillard appears to have had the opposite effect on his colleagues. They are suddenly lining up to speak in very clear and direct terms about the reasons he lost their loyalty and the Prime Ministership over two years ago.
I complained earlier this week on Mamamia about the lack of honesty and transparency surrounding the leadership coup of 2009 (you can read that post here). Many comments were made about my post by people calling themselves “insiders” repeating the same vague gossip about Kevin Rudd that we’ve all heard ad nauseam from sources decidedly unofficial and entirely irrelevant. I am not interested in hearing again from someone whose mother’s partner’s real estate agent used to work in Canberra and reckons “he’s a real wanker.” I’m not interested in hearing The Australian’s analysis regurgitated as gospel.
The point I was trying to make was that I wanted to know how this group of people who’d worked together for years made the leap from backing Kevin Rudd as leader to deposing him so unceremoniously. Don’t give me the poor polling crap, his lowest numbers would blow the roof off the Gillard Government’s best, yet she remains. “He micromanaged and nothing got done,” bollocks! His swift movement on stimulating the economy ensured our survival during the GFC. By his side during all of this was his old pal from Queensland Wayne Swan and it is Swan who has finally stepped forward and spoken like an actual human about the reasons why he does not believe Kevin Rudd should lead the ALP.
Prime Minister Gillard and I and the overwhelming majority of our colleagues have been applying our Labor values to the policy challenges in front of us and we’re succeeding despite tremendous political obstacles. For the sake of the movement, the Government and the Australians which it represents, we have refrained from criticism to date.
However for too long, Kevin Rudd has been putting his own self-interest ahead of the interests of the broader Labor movement and the country as a whole, and that needs to stop. The Party has given Kevin Rudd all the opportunities in the world and he wasted them with his dysfunctional decision making and his deeply demeaning attitude towards other people including our caucus colleagues. He sought to tear down the 2010 campaign, deliberately risking an Abbott Prime Ministership, and now he undermines the Government at every turn.
He was the Party’s biggest beneficiary then its biggest critic; but never a loyal or selfless example of its values and objectives.For the interests of the movement and of working people, there is too much at stake in our economy and in the political debate for the interests of the movement and working people to be damaged by somebody who does not hold any Labor values.
Julia has the overwhelming support of our colleagues. She is tough, determined, forward-looking, and has a good Labor heart. She has a consultative, respectful relationship with caucus while Kevin Rudd demeaned them. She’s cleaned up a lot of the mess he left her and has established a good, Labor agenda. She’s delivering major reforms, and getting things done that her predecessor could not.
Colleagues are sick of Kevin Rudd driving the vote down by sabotaging policy announcements and undermining our substantial economic successes. The Labor Party is not about a person, it’s about a purpose. That’s something Prime Minister Gillard has always known in her heart but something Kevin Rudd has never understood.
It was raw and impassioned home-truths that I was yearning for, and I am thrilled that we finally appear to be getting somewhere in that regard.
Meshel Laurie is a comedian and broadcaster. You can catch up with her on Nova’s Drive Show with Tim Blackwell and Marty Sheargold 4-6pm on weekdays. You can also follow Meshel on Twitter here. You wont regret it