Nicola Roxon says Kevin Rudd was a "bastard".

Nicola Roxon gives 10 housekeeping tips for future ALP members at the John Button memorial lecture.





Wowee. Nicola Roxon just opened up a can of serious angry on Kevin Rudd.

While delivering the highly regarded John Button Lecture this evening, the former Attorney General and Health Minister spoke in depth about the past six years of Labor government, and offered her political party some seriously tough love about the future.

In her speech, she gave 10 housekeeping tips for members of a future Labor government, which included advice like, “Labor needs to welcome debate – not fear it.”

But the segment of her speech that everyone is talking about, is her discussion of Kevin Rudd’s treatment of Julia Gillard, other politicians, political staff and public servants and why the party made the decision to remove Rudd from power in 2010.

During her speech, Roxon said that, “Removing Kevin was an act of political bastardry, for sure. But this act of political bastardry was made possible only because Kevin had been such a bastard himself to so many people.”


Here’s the context of that firey smack down and her analysis of how the ALP removed Kevin Rudd as leader:

…Do I believe we behaved properly in removing Kevin as PM in 2010? While I think the Labor caucus made the right decision, we handled it very poorly.

I think we had all the right reasons to act, but I think we were clumsy and short sighted in the way we did it. We didn’t explain the dysfunctional decision-making and lack of strategy I’ve focused on a lot tonight.

We didn’t talk about his rudeness, or contempt for staff and disrespect for public servants (a measure of this was public servants saving up briefs to send to the PM’s office as soon as Kevin went overseas because they got quicker and more thoughtful responses from Julia as acting PM).

Removing Kevin was an act of political bastardry, for sure. But this act of political bastardy was made possible only because Kevin had been such a bastard himself to so many people.

Even though the reasons were there to justify our action, I don’t think we handled it properly at the time, and Labor has paid a very high price for this mishandling ever since.

Kevin Rudd announcing he will contest the Labor leadership.

The full text of Nicola Roxon’s speech can be read here.

There is no doubt that her speech was delivered in part to set the history books straight in terms of her own version of events (Roxon notes she won’t be writing books or giving interviews or speaking about this again).

But it also had implications for the present. And that is, the future of the ALP and one K Rudd.

The former Prime Minister remains a member of the parliament and although he won’t serve in the shadow ministry, his presence will undeniably make life difficult for new ALP leader Bill Shorten

Roxon feels strongly that it’s time for Rudd to pack up and leave, making way for the next generation of Labor luminaries. We suspect that while she might be right, Kevin Rudd won’t be taking Roxon’s advice any time soon.

What do you think about Nicola Roxon’s comments on Kevin Rudd? Do you think she has some good advice for Labor going forward?