Rudd: what is he up to?

Rudd’s had a good few weeks in the polls and the media, and things are looking up for the ALP.  What do I think is going on here?

Firstly, I have a lot of time for Mumble, blogging at the Australian.  Despite being a definite Rudd supporter, I think he’s calling things as they are.  His view is that Rudd is assuming as much authority as possible, and looking as prime ministerial as possible, so that he can campaign as an incumbent.  And he’s definitely doing that, moving into Yarralumla, holding a tea session with all the ambassadors in Canberra, and rushing around declaring stuff.

He’s also going out of his way to cauterise all the wounds, and campaign as though Julia never happened.  In fact, as though the first 3 years of Rudd never happened either – without a hint of shame he’s campaigning as though he had no record that he needed to defend.  It’s an interesting mix – claim the authority of being Prime Minister, but claim none of the baggage of incumbency.  If he can pull it off, if the media let him pull it off, he could be in with a good shot.

Let’s look at some of the detail here:

  • NSW Labor.  The problem is that the corruption in NSW is dragging down the numbers in that state.  So giving the impression of taking stern action to deal with the problems is critical to recovering vote share.  The fact that what he’s doing is pure window dressing that has no impact at all (taking over the party for 30 days, changing a few rules to stop people from doing things that have nothing to do with the actual corruption, then giving it back) does not appear to be visible.  This will help.
  • Shifting the carbon tax to a floating carbon credit scheme early.  The fact this creates a large budget black hole can be ignored apparently.
  • Creating an accord style agreement with business and unions to work on productivity.  No mention of the fact that productivity is dropping largely because of the laws that Labor changed, no discussion of the fact that in his first term he created a zillion enquiries and commissions that delivered nothing.   Productivity is something that the papers talk about as a problem, he’s doing something, that’s enough
  • No more class warfare.  You make this true by just saying it, not by changing the policies that were creating it.  Interesting.
  • Changing the way the leader of the ALP is elected, partly to so that the party can’t sack him, partly because it gives the illusion of doing something.  The changes are probably positive, but they don’t do what he’s claiming
  • Challenging Abbott to a debate.  Debates happen during election campaigns.  He’s chosen to take back the prerogative on setting the election date, what comes with that is that you can’t have debates until you announce the date.  He’s again trying to both have the benefits of incumbency whilst still acting like the fresh new guy

I don’t think this can all last.  The first blush will wear off, and people will realise that they really don’t like listening to Rudd drone on about nothing with lofty ideas and no delivery.  Hopefully.  And the opposition are wise to keep their heads down a bit during this period, let him rush around announcing stuff, then point out that it’s all just piss and wind, and no delivery.  The only things he delivered were pink batts and an education revolution, we’re paying for those now.



4 thoughts on “Rudd: what is he up to?

  1. Rudd may have bad points and not be an ideal PM (and where would we ever find an “ideal” PM anyway), but the thought of Abbott becoming PM and being Australia’s face on the international stage of leaders would drive me to drink.

    Rudd on the international stage may have it’s down side, but at least he could pull it off.

    But Abbott, cringe, how embarrassing it would be !!

  2. Not sure I agree. When I read about Abbott in the newspapers he doesn’t sound good. When I listen to him speak in person or on TV, he’s surprisingly normal. I think he’s mainly a victim of very bad media, and I doubt he’d be anything like the disaster that people seem to think. After all, we survived Gillard on the international stage.

  3. Yes, I am not Australian but my friends over there do have misgivings about Mr Abbott.
    The Rudd immigrant boat policy crashed into the front line news today here in Bangkok.

    Thats ahead of the normal front page corruption stories, you know, the Prime Minister says there will be no floods this year, we don’t have dead rice,and there are no rats in the cupboard, and this is from the prime minister who says herself she is not an idiot.i.

    But the fact is the Australian story t was a lightning story all over the world . I went straight over to the NZ blogs to see how you can send boat people to Papua New Guinea , and what happens then, but of course no answers just the normal ravings .

    In New Zealand we have quite big hurdles for foreigners to get in. They need to be sponsored. You can not just get out of your canoe and walk in, hahah just joking,
    The issue is huge, and it could be a game changer

  4. Yes, my post today covers that. My feel is that it has real potential, but Rudd is in danger of getting caught out promising something that he cannot deliver.

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