Tuesday 6 September 2011

Rudd | Gillard which one will it finally be....

Let Rudd resume rightful role

Nicholson cartoon
Cartoon by Peter Nicholson. Source: The Australian

JULIA, resign. (When I drafted this column a month ago, friends in the ALP begged me not to run it. Not because of any profound dispute with the content but because "it might make things worse". Now, things couldn't be worse.)

Resign, Julia. Resign yourself to the fact you've failed. Resign yourself to the fact nothing you do has a desirable political effect. Resign yourself to the fact that no matter what you say, nobody listens. Resign yourself to the certainty that you're leading your party to electoral slaughter.

You are about to elect Tony Abbott. Resign. You led the coup against Kevin Rudd. Yes, you were coy about it, feigning reluctance. At least accept this simple fact. Had you said no to the conspirators, Rudd would still be in his job.

You were as responsible for his removal and humiliation as was John Kerr for Gough Whitlam's. And it's been a disaster. The most inept strategic move since the NSW branch started serial-killing its own premiers.

On radio that night I said: "The Labor Party has just committed suicide.

Despite the media gush about "the first woman prime minister" a vast number of ALP supporters were equally infuriated by an act they saw as unethical, cruel, stupid and unnecessary.

John Howard and I agree Rudd would have won the next election, just as Howard himself recovered from equally grim polls to win again and keep on winning.

Until Rudd - not Simon Crean, Kim Beazley or Mark Latham - until Rudd defeated him. While long pro-Kev I'm not blind to his shortcomings. He can exasperate, even infuriate.

But I'm persuaded he's learned lessons about being more courageous and collegiate. And let the record show that the excuses used by you and your fellow assassins were the policy failures that you Julia, you, pushed in both the full and kitchen cabinets. They were your policy failures as much as or more than his.

At the same time you were blind to Rudd's achievements, most importantly his tactical response to the global financial crisis mark I. It was fast, intelligent and successful. Few believe you can perform to his level for GFC II.

Neither the voters, according to the pollsters, nor the frightened people sitting behind you in the Reps. They know the party is doomed but are paralysed. They don't have the guts to admit to a huge error of judgment and demand you leave.

That's why you must resign. You started this fiasco. Only you can end it. That's the only way to have a fighting chance. Not only in the next election but in the dramatic months between then and now.

I'll leave aside some of your policies, such as the obscene import-export scheme in refugees. We stopped sending cattle to inhumane deaths in Indonesia yet you were proud of a scheme that proposed sending refugees, including children, to inhumane conditions in Malaysia.

The Labor Party's record on refugees has been appalling since Beazley cowed to the Howard-Ruddock campaign to demonise "queue jumpers" and "illegals" with a "border protection policy" that redefined our borders.

And similar gutlessness can be seen on climate change. Unbelievable but true, your recent full-page ads selling the carbon tax don't mention it. Not a word! You've resigned the argument to Abbott and the deniers. Malcolm Turnbull has shown more courage than you.

However, the most urgent issue is GFC II. Rudd is far better equipped to deal with it than you.
The same polls you used to justify his dismissal show voters would prefer him back in office.
Unless you want to reduce the parliamentary Labor Party to a rump, you must step down.

Your co-conspirators must admit they got it wrong. Only with Rudd as prime minister will Labor have fighting chance against Abbott.

Resign, Julia. Resign.

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