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EYE-BALL’s Harry’s Growl on – Election 2013 – Growl No: 50 – Rudd’s House of Pain, He must learn that ‘less is more’ –

June 29, 2013
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– 27th June – Election 2013 – Growl No: 49 – Shorten has to be made accountable –


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Title:
– Election 2013 – Growl No: 50 –
– Rudd’s House of Pain –
– He must learn that ‘less is more’ –

| Author: EYE-BALL’s Harry’s Growl | 29th June 2013|

Latest Pickering images – 6 New Cartoons added 27th June 2013 – see image links to the left.


Rudd’s willingness to grasp what can only be described as a ‘poisoned chalice’, and willing walk into the ALP caucus caldron proves his courage of a sorts … was it ego or does he truly believe he is the messiah, the chosen one to resurrect the flawed ALP?

The 57-45 result represents only a margin of 6 votes – and they all swung on the back of Shorten’s public switch to Rudd.  This is still a divided caucus and Rudd’s task is herculean – is he up to it?

Rudd’s ego is well documented – larger than most in a political sense, and all added to since his inability to deal with his dumping some three years ago.  Given the two days back in the job – has he learnt that ‘less is more’.

The Press Conference:

Rudd’s first extensive Press conference was a wide-ranging affair and tried to cover all topics.  If Rudd should have learnt something for his stint on the backbench, he should have realised that the way to earn Party loyalty is to let your Ministry shine – let them have their moments without being hand-held – let then live and die by their own performance and give the Leader distance.

This was Hawke’s success, strong Ministers with the publics support because they knew their Ministers and their abilities.

At yesterdays press conference, Rudd gave the media a free shot and he again try to prove he is the man.  Rudd’s eagerness to answer questions across a wide range of topics he has been out of the loop on for some time, only gave the media ammunition for their want to pin him to the cross for dumping Gillard.

The media are having a field day with some of the comments he let fly when ‘less would have meant more’.

Paul Kelly penned two stories overnight – when was the last time he did that –  the first titled:  “Kevin Rudd broke every rule in the book” linked in full here – an extract appears below:

KEVIN Rudd’s warning of conflict with Indonesia is a reckless mistake that betrays the sheer depth of Labor’s frustration over its failure to stop the boats.

Rudd broke every rule in the book for dealing with Indonesia. His remarks misread Jakarta, risk the prospects for co-operation and are unwarranted on the basis of Tony Abbott’s turning the boats policy.

Rudd’s injection of possible conflict with Indonesia into his domestic row with Abbott over how to stem boat arrivals is irresponsible for an Australian prime minister.

Even if Abbott’s turning-the-boats stand proves futile it does not justify the over-reach Rudd displayed yesterday at his first media conference as recalled Prime Minister.

This testifies to the incredible political burden Labor has thrust on to Rudd and which he has willingly grabbed.

Rudd’s reference to past conflicts and invoking Konfrontasi during the 1960s, when Australian forces were involved against Indonesia, is extraordinary. Making these remarks just days before Rudd’s anticipated visit to Indonesia for talks with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is even more extraordinary … continues

All the media are on heightened alert – after a week of shark feeding and speculation they have the taste of blood with Gillard’s demise and are now focused on their next prey – it is to be Rudd or Abbott – at the moment they see Rudd as most vulnerable and if he survives intact, Abbott will become the target if he can’t make traction against Rudd.

Kelly’s story above is a ‘Himalayan’ molehill – he has taken comments Rudd made in his Press conference yesterday and gone beyond journalistic license. The full transcript of Rudd’s Press conference can be read – here – a sample of the Q&A about which Kelly wrote is produce below:

JOURNALIST: One of the policy issues you’ve had trouble with last time and I don’t think you mentioned so far today is asylum seekers and boats.  Will you be going to Indonesia to see the Indonesian President to discuss it?

And what philosophical position will you have in dealing with the boats?

Will you be trying to for example, will you be saying you’re going to stop the boats or will you be trying to manage them or encourage people to come in a more orderly way under regional processing?

PM: The great thing about this country is we have long believed in a system of orderly migration.

The problem with the current situation is that I really fear that we begin to see some fragmentation for the overall national support for a system of orderly migration in Australia.

That has stood us so well since the days of Arthur Calwell way back in the post-war period.

We actually have to be very attentive to a basic national interest, which is to sustain broad public support for a system of orderly migration.Secondly, on the question of Indonesia, I will be briefed this afternoon by colleagues who’ve been working on the proposed visit to Indonesia and following that briefing, of course, I will announce a decision about going to Jakarta.

I will be speaking with President Yudhoyono sometime after I finish with you good folk here this afternoon in Canberra.

I would also if I went to went to Indonesia be speaking frankly on the much broader questions of our common national security interests.

On top of that, a really big one, which is I am concerned about Mr Abbott’s policy where he says that he can turn the boats back to Indonesia as he states, and when he states now more recently, only when safe; and when the Indonesian Government says they will not accept such a policy.

I’m very concerned about whether if Mr Abbott were to become Prime Minister and continues that rhetoric and that posture and actually tries to translate it into reality, I really wonder whether he’s trying to risk some sort of conflict with Indonesia.

It’s not a good thing.

It’s a really bad thing.

Let me tell you, if you are a student of the Australia/Indonesia relationship which I have been since the days of the late forties until now, there’ve been some pretty tough times in the relationship.

I never want to see that happen again.

A quarter of a billion people live to the north of us.

We have a huge national interest in having a working relationship with them.

On the question of the attitude I bring to bear on asylum seekers, it will be in the national interest, mindful of the need to sustain popular support for the overall integrity of the migration program.

Paul Kelly has gone too far in his critique and reveals he also suffers from the same infected weakness all media have – a want to tear down and embellish.  Kelly’s take on the words Rudd spoke were corkscrewed to suit his story, as opposed to treating them at their face value.

Kelly’s second story was titled: For Kevin Rudd, it’s policies on the run” linked in full here – an extract appears below:

IT is the same smooth Kevin Rudd but this time he is under huge pressures and short of time — hence his blunder about warning of conflict with Indonesia, his floating a plebiscite on same-sex marriage, and his scare that Tony Abbott will mean a “slash and burn” recession.

Politics is now an unpredictable wild ride. Hold on to your seat. The resurrected Rudd is relaxed but obsessed about presenting himself as a reformed man — he talks endlessly about colleagues, cabinet consultations, proper decision-making, considered policy and bringing the country together. This Kevin, unlike the previous Kevin, is no one-man band. That’s his promise.

But if Rudd has any prepared game plan beyond a few long-harboured ideas it is not evident. He is making it up as he goes. For Rudd, it is improvisation on the run and that is high risk. The flaws are now on display; witness his comments about Indonesia.

Rudd is running on his instincts. What are they? We have many signals and lots of clues. He wants to settle down and govern, even for a short time. He regards Julia Gillard’s September 14 election date as untenable. He prefers an election a bit later. There will be no immediate poll.

 Rudd is very keen to attend the G-20 St Petersburg head of government summit in early September and he is right to believe our PM must go. Given the election’s proximity, he flirts with the idea of taking Tony Abbott with him, thereby ensuring the elected PM would be ready to manage the 2014 G-20 meeting in Australia… continues

Once again Kelly is engaged in opinion journalism and inflames the debate beyond the words Rudd spoke … it would appear there is no honeymoon period and the new Government and returning backbenchers can expect fire when ever the opportunity arises.

This was also evidenced in the new Treasurer’s – [Chris Bowen’s] – grilling just hours into the new job.  Why he took the interview request is understandable – but he had to know that he would be asked questions he could not answer given his ‘out of the loop’ backbench position since March.

Leigh Sales from the 7:30 Report did the grilling and Bowen used extraordinary restraint in his responses – he should have given Sales a list of what he would be prepared to talk about given his short time in the new job.

Sales asked questions to try and put Bowen on the spot … see full transcript and video of interview here –  a sample of Sale’s question and Bowen’s responses appears below:

LEIGH SALES: Do you see some areas that do require addressing?

CHRIS BOWEN: Well the policy is in place. It’s working well, despite the fear campaign of the Opposition who said that towns would close down and the economy would grind to a halt. We’ve seen many thousands of jobs created, we’ve seen economic growth continue, we’ve seen emissions fall. So carbon pricing actually works. And the Opposition, who says they have the same targets for reducing emissions has a policy which every expert in the field says will not work.

LEIGH SALES: Is it possible that you would suggest some changes to that policy and take some changes to the election?

CHRIS BOWEN: Well, Leigh, if you’re asking me today on my first day as Treasurer to say that I will never recommend any change to any government policy at any point in the future, well I’m not going to do that.

LEIGH SALES: No, I’m just asking what’s in play.

CHRIS BOWEN: Well, I’m not going to do that. But what I am saying is that our policy is in place. It’s been legislated through a tough process. We got it through the Parliament through a tough process. John Howard tried to – or promised to implement a carbon price. It didn’t happen. Carbon pricing has been very controversial on both sides of the political divide. It’s caused frankly some headaches for leaders of both parties, but it’s now in place and it’s now the policy and law of the land and it’s a good achievement.

LEIGH SALES: Let me ask you about perhaps a more pressing matter, which is the Gonski education reforms. There is a deadline on the table for agreement from the states on that for this Sunday. Is that now off the table?

CHRIS BOWEN: Well, again, I know the Prime Minister is working through the issues and I know he’s looking forward to discussing those issues with various state premiers. This is an important reform, and yes, we have seen some progress, particularly in my home state of New South Wales and South Australia and the ACT.

LEIGH SALES: And just to be clear, do they still have to sign up by Sunday?

CHRIS BOWEN: Well, Leigh, the Prime Minister is obviously looking forward to discussing these issues with the premiers …

LEIGH SALES: What, tomorrow?

CHRIS BOWEN: Well he’s being briefed on a whole range of issues on his – he’s been Prime Minister now for less than a day, Leigh, and I know he’s been taking calls from foreign leaders and he’s also looking forward to meeting the premiers and talking through the issues that are outstanding in terms of implementation of important reforms.

LEIGH SALES: As the Treasurer, do you believe that there’s sufficient accountability built into the current Gonski plan to make sure that the money being spent will improve outcomes?

Once again – ‘less could be more’ – the Ministry don’t owe the Media – the media’s job is to report the news not to try and make the news.

Trying to catch a Minister in a word-trap is the ‘game’ played by all journalist and in the past all Ministers have happily try to make themselves look smarter – how often do they fail?   This is the main reason ALP Ministers were reluctant to give Andrew Bolt of “The Bolt Report” a crack at them.

To be the ALP saviour Rudd has to try to fully transform himself from a media ‘whore’ to a media ‘frugal’ – a ‘Howard Hughes’ example is a bridge too far, but someone like “Dame Edna” would be great – someone with a wit to spoil any reporter with a political agenda.  Someone who can deal with the media and put them in their place if they ask a stupid question.

How often have you cringed when a reporter asked a question beyond the scope of the interview – why is it that the media is allowed to ask a dumb question and the Minister tries to answer the question – why don’t they just say – ‘that’s a stupid question’.  Fry them on camera and allow the people to know that you know when a question is a dumb question.   It may get edited out, but other media outlets will show it to score points … make the media feed on themselves rather than feast on the Government.

Conditioning the media to a ‘less is more’ policy will not be an easy task – passive intimidation works – and the Minister’s must be the one who have the confidence to do it.  First – Rudd must set the example.

Feeding them ‘less scraps’ will go a long way to helping the media learn how to become journalist’s again and immerse themselves in background research necessary to expose real Government corruption and stories that have accountable outcomes.

Given the Obeid revelations during the ICAC hearings – why were journalists not on that story before it was revealed?

The Tony Burke and Stephen Conroy use of the Obeid ski-lodge – who in the media are working on that story and how it came about?

The Torbay involvement with Obeid – surely that is also a story worth covering and getting to the bottom of.   The media have become lazy letting and expecting MP’s do their work for them.

The trouble is that stories like these are beyond the investigative abilities of most of our current journalists – they are all about the career story off the back of some leaked scoop … and their editors encourage this ‘postage stamp’ type story.  To be honest most are only worth scraps … yet they feast on prime meat.

To ensure an ALP survival and an election contest – Rudd and his Ministry have to control the media to suit their own agenda,  give them nothing they can leverage and so build negative coverage – again ‘less is more’.

Ministers and Backbenchers who continue to background the media should be dealt with over their lack of Party loyalty – if a Leader can’t get that condition then the caucus is not as one – and the Leadership flawed …

Ministers and caucus members know this already and in the post Gillard environment,  Rudd can expect to receive the same treatment his supporters did to Gillard.  He has to be aware of this and be on top of it.  Unless this is addressed and Rudd can prove he has changed – the loyalty of the full caucus will always be doubtful.

This MP love affair with the media has created an over-exposure issue for the Government, we want to see and hear less of and about Government – just the rewards of successful good Government.

The eagerness for Ministers and other spokesperson to get air-time to build their own media profile has fed the problem.   Rudd should encourage their media contact in an environment with other Ministers – i.e. the Cabinet holds a weekly or fortnightly Cabinet Press Conference.

This type of media conciliation has been advocated on this site previously without anyone making comment about flaws of such a proposal.  Comment is welcome …

Social media has fed the media cycle – scoop upon scoop and get it out there as fast as you can before someone else gazumps the story.   If they have nothing then it will burn itself out – rather then individual Twitter or Facebook accounts, have Ministerial accounts and all press releases are only put on social media for the public interest, and after given to mainstream media outlets.

Journalists with their secret sources to Ministers and Party politics is a destructive element that makes journalist believe they have a sense of entitlement – MP’s feeding their ego with these types of relationships with journalists contribute to the problem.

You truncate that source and those journalist with inside scoops become obsolete – I’m sure the public would welcome less political speculation and inside stories in lieu of real stories based on facts and public interest.

It is a tough ask for Rudd to shrink from the limelight and let his Ministers shine – the ‘less is more’ policy will work and perhaps stabilise Leadership.

Richo wrote an article this morning that has him convinced that Labor has a chance at the next election – this after a single day of change … read full story here

One of the more serious matters Rudd has to deal with is the Union’s and the ogre of Bill Ludwig.

Rudd has to be seen to doing something about making all Unions more accountable and open with regard to finances and where members funds are being spent.

An area where headway can be made in this area is the process of pre-selection of ALP candidates … opening the pre-selection process and making it more equitable for non-union affiliated candidates would be a start.   This will require an ALP charter and not likely to happen overnight – but statements by union heads to enter into talks about addressing the issue would go some way to allaying concerns.

Imagine Rudd’s current existence and having a nest of vipers in the room with him never knowing when one or several are going to strike.

Plibeseck is someone who advocated herself as a Rudd hater –  there were others but Plibeseck is the only one left who has that feminist persona that never forgives nor forgets … Rudd would do well to sink her somewhere away from the access chamber.

Of the 57 votes he had, less than 40 or so are true Rudd supporters … the rest are that motley crew flip-flopping because they want some one to save their reelection. They are dead weight to Rudd in a real clutch and have proven themselves to be less then faithful, loyal, and deserving of public office.

Rudd has much to do to save the ALP brand and his ‘House of Pain’ is real.

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  1. June 29, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    The blunder on “conflict” was extraordinary, but I was already deeply in thought about his gauntlet on same sex marriage.

    He has challenged Abbott that whosoever should win the poll, they endorse a conscience vote on same sex marriage or it will be put to plebiscite. There was minutae about his daughter? Jess. That is straight out electioneering. The ALP is the party of same sex marriage and/or conscience vote. Should the Coalition win, they will enact their party view. At last I was aware, that did not include same sex marriage.

    I feel that he is trying to deflect the internal point of difference dramas, to be an electoral point of difference. I will tolerate anyone rubbishing Julia. More sweeping under the carpet. Not much has really changed, no likely hood of full and frank airing of AWUWRA, so how will he skirt the upcoming issues on McDonald, Obeid, Williamson and Thomson. Back to your opening sentence. “was it ego or does he truly believe he is the messiah”. I think there might be a huge joke in there somewhere. Has anyone yet seen his walking on water trick?

  2. June 29, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    Smith, the member for our district, died one day, and we forgot all about him the next. Not that a politician is ever remembered much after he dies, but Smith had been a blind, bigoted, old Tory, and was better dead. Politicians are mostly better dead, so far as other people and their country is concerned …

    Steele Rudd aka Arthur Hoey Davis from his book Dad in Politics 1908.

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