EDITORIAL FRIDAY 06.08.10.
Following on from the former Prime Minister’s telephone interview with ABC Radio National this week, Mr. Rudd has now returned to the political battlefront looking even more like a Prime Minister than ever. Pictured standing in front of a pair of Australian flags, Mr. Rudd’s facial expression was a far cry from the tears of June 24. Gone were the tears, replaced by a look of satisfaction which gave the appearance of the canary that ate the cat. He didn’t just look Prime Ministerial, he looked Presidential. His message was that the fate of the nation is far more important than the fate of one K. Rudd, and so he has called upon his fellow Australians, and especially his fellow Queenslanders, to re-elect the Gillard Government.
Of course, the Opposition is claiming that this bizarre turn of events only highlights the deep divisions within Labor. How, they ask, if Julia Gillard was the solution to the Kevin Rudd problem, could Kevin Rudd possibly be the answer to the Julia Gillard problem? And they have a point. It’s hard to imagine anyone looking at the events of the past two months and concluding that they are an indication of a stable and competent government. At the same time, however, as I said yesterday, under the circumstances this is the best course of action that Mr. Rudd and the Labor Party can possibly take. Whether any of them like it or not, the mere fact that Levin Rudd exists at all is going to influence the election campaign so the only sensible thing to do is to attempt to use that influence to as much advantage as they can.
The irony of this is exquisite, and perhaps that’s why Mr. Rudd is suddenly looking a whole lot more cheerful. In so many ways this is a form of vindication for him, as well as an opportunity to once again play a meaningful role in events. Of course, the irony doesn’t stop there. On the same day we have also seen former Prime Minister John Howard addressing Liberal party supporters with a speech which has made national headlines and left no one in any doubt about his support for Tony Abbott, or his views on Julia Gillard. Mr. Howard has absolutely trashed the Labor Government, labelling Julia Gillard as “an even greater failure than her predecessor”. All of a sudden, we seem to have former Prime Ministers popping up everywhere.
As well as Kevin Rudd and John Howard commanding centrestage, we have had Bob Hawke campaigning with Julia Gillard, and today we’ve had former Liberal PM Malcolm Fraser also throwing in his two cents worth. The funny thing is that he seems to be campaigning for the Labor side, saying that the Coalition is not ready to govern the nation. All we need now is Paul Keating and Gough Whitlam to release a television advertisement and we’ll have the complete set of past and present Prime Ministers on display. It has certainly livened up what was previously a rather uninspiring election campaign in all quarters. Watching Tony and Julia has been like watching the second grade players in the warm up match. Now at last the first grade players are on the paddock, warming up for the main event.
Forget about a second debate between Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard, how about a debate between Kevin Rudd and John Howard?