I never thought I would see a member of the government openly consort with the Opposition while conniving to bring his own leader down. But that’s what Rudd is doing. Three cameos from this week’s media drove it home for me.
On ABC’s Insiders this week Mike Bowers showed footage of a clearly grateful Tony Abbott slapping Kevin Rudd on the shoulders in a friendly, congratulatory manner as he passed Rudd at some function or other. Rudd turns and smiles at Abbott, they shake hands, looking and behaving exactly as Cabinet colleagues would. In my view the whole cameo breathes common purpose.
Bowers put it this way:
MICHAEL BOWERS: David, Alex Ellinghausen took a fantastic series of pictures of Tony Abbott bumping into Kevin Rudd at a function. And you couldn’t say it was set up, but you would have to say Tony knew what he was doing as did Kevin Rudd.
Then, on Valentine’s Day the Liberal Party deluged Rudd during Question Time in Parliament House with chocolate roses (Insiders again has some images) The roses had been given, one to each MP, by veteran Liberal MP Warren Entsch as a friendly Valentine’s Day gesture. The Opposition decided to use the roses as a means of publicly thanking Rudd for his treachery in destabilising Gillard and sent their roses one-by-one, to the nauseatingly obsequious Rudd.
As the roses piled up around him Rudd again looked immensely pleased. Gillard must have been disgusted. It is hard to imagine a more contemptuous insult towards Gillard from the Libs than to publicly thank Rudd for his treachery toward her during Question Time.
Finally, Julie Bishop gave an interview on Sky TV, here recorded in the Sydney Morning Herald, where she basically confessed that Rudd is leaking information to her and stated the reward that Rudd will gain for his treachery, which is the diplomatic post of his choosing under a Coalition government.
Bishop positively preened as she said:
“Over a glass of wine together, we have shared some thoughts”
…and her face had the look of the Intelligence Controller boasting, in not so many words, about the entrapment of her Double Agent. Of the loot being offered for defection, Bishop said
…certainly he has talents and ability and experience in foreign policy that shouldn’t be wasted and I think that former prime ministers usually have a contribution to make.
What Kevin Wants
Rudd’s behaviour is utterly contemptible. For the second Federal Election campaign in a row he is setting out to deliberately disrupt the campaign and deliver government to those nominally in Opposition to him and certainly in Opposition to his colleagues.
It seems merely to be about revenge for Gillard’s knifing of him in 2010 . It’s hard to imagine he would seriously be aiming to return to leadership given the field day the Coalition would have over extremely hostile and negative remarks made about Rudd during their leadership spill of 2012, not least by Treasurer and Deputy Leader Wayne Swan.
Kev being the narcissus that he is, he must just think he can outsmart all of Swan, Gillard, Abbott, Howes, Bishop and the Coalition and leverage off the remaining goodwill in the electorate for him (see Bob Ellis’s great take on it here) and yet again become Prime Minister.
And the Australian Electorate…just possibly they could be saying ‘Hey. We voted for that bugger, so just put him back.’. That would be Very Australian and I kinda like it.
But not Mr Rudd.
Him I do not like.
Update 23 March: Once Twice, Four Times Pictured A Traitor
On 12th March a few more of Abbott’s anti-Carbon Tax decent Australians slouched into Parliament House to yell abuse at Julia Gillard during Question Time. Unsurprisingly, Abbott was photographed hypocritically enjoying the abuse despite his oft and earnest claims to be devoted to the highest standards of compassionate human conduct or whatever. But, pertinent to this blog post, Rudd was photographed enjoying the abuse just as much and smirking about it with facial expression identical to that of Abbott. Insiders has the photography on their vid here from 3:07.
Tryptych plus one: is that a Quadtych ?