The horrific Prime Ministership of Kevin Rudd has for a long time thankfully been a distant memory. During his first stint as Prime Minister, Rudd turned a surplus into deficit, opened the borders and began wasteful, even deadly government programs.
Rudd was considered such a liability to the Labor Party that they removed him in June 2010, kicking off Australia’s decade of the revolving door Prime Ministership.
He was brought back by Labor in June 2013 out of desperation, when they were facing electoral annihilation. Rudd still lost the 2013 federal election in a landslide, with Labor reduced to 52 seats in the lower house.
Rudd resigned as the Member for Griffith in November 2013, most Australians being glad to see the back of him. They were thoroughly tired of his smug pontificating public persona, that his opinion should be treated as the most enlightened one in then nation.
Rudd was a devoted globalist, a foreign diplomat, including in Beijing before becoming a politician; the only other portfolio he ever held apart from Prime Minister was Foreign Affairs. He was eager to display his Mandarin speaking skills where he could. His globetrotting as Prime Minister saw him nicknamed Kevin 747 and he could not visit a foreign nation without giving them an Australian taxpayer-funded tip.
Many suspected that he saw the Australian Prime Ministership as a stepping stone to the position he really sought which was Secretary-General of the United Nations. He made a bid for the position in 2016, though then-Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull essentially killed off his bid by not giving the Australian Government’s support, after outrage from the Coalition backbench.
Following this failed bid, Kevin Rudd was once again blissfully out of the public eye, until last month when he suddenly re-emerged to offer his view about the current economic, domestic and geopolitical issues facing Australia.
Australian politicians are currently divided over how to deal with an increasingly assertive and aggressive China; this dilemma has been put into the spotlight as the eyes of the world are now on the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, and how China will respond.
Rudd, being the Chinaphile he has always been, has accused the Liberal Party of creating national hysteria and “going all hairy-chested” over China, during an appearance at the National Press Club two Fridays ago.
Rudd claimed, “the Liberal party has a very bad history of using core foreign policy questions for domestic political gain or internal party management.” He also labelled Liberal MP Andrew Hastie, whose op-ed in the Fairfax papers kickstarted the China discussion in Australia, a pre-pubescent politician.
Never mind that Rudd himself had a difficult relationship with the Chinese during his time as Prime Minister. He blamed them for the failure of his Copenhagen climate change talks in 2009 as the Chinese were not willing to agree to any emission reductions, and was reported to have said “those Chinese ratfuckers are trying to ratfuck us.”
There was also diplomatic tension when Australian Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu and three of his Chinese colleagues were arrested in China in 2009. They were convicted the following year in a secret trial for accepting bribes totalling about $14 million and stealing trade secrets. All Kevin Rudd said at the time was the world was watching the trial but that was the end of the matter, with Stern Hu released in 2018 after serving nine years in custody.
After offering his expert opinion on China, Rudd then turned to forecasting economic conditions in Australia this coming financial year. With Australia having averted a recession during the 2008-09 financial crisis, Rudd claims the credit that his stimulus package saved the economy.
So if Australia wants to avoid a recession again in 2019, better listen to Rudd, right? He laid out his economic prediction and what Australia should do in his mind to avoid a recession, in an op-ed in the Australian Financial Review last Thursday.
Rudd wrote that Australia has a one-in-three chance of going into recession next year; how he arrived at that figure is not said, maybe it’s just the vibe he gets? His summary of current economic conditions is not unique: record low interest rates, the US-China trade war, Brexit and potential conflict with Iran.
He believes that Treasurer Josh Frydenberg should abandon his commitment to budget surpluses and instead ramp up government spending on things like infrastructure and raising Newstart to create economic stimulus. Of course the reason why the Coalition took until 2019-20 to reach a surplus is because Rudd blew the surplus, beginning with his own stimulus in 2009.
Last Tuesday, he appeared in front of a friendly panel audience on the Project, also talking global economics but focusing on the impact of the US-China trade war and how it could completely crush our economy.
Rudd said “I question his (Trump’s) ability to seal the deal. To close the deal.” He was then asked, “He wrote a book on The Art of the Deal. How can you doubt him?” Rudd said of the book, “it’s bullshit.”
“There’s a real danger we become road kill or collateral damage in this” – former PM @MrKRudd on Australia’s relationship with China and Trump’s ability to seal the economic deal with Beijing. Who thinks there needs to be a Trump vs. KRudd hand ball comp to settle it? pic.twitter.com/gswgcRbMjg— The Project (@theprojecttv) August 27, 2019
Apparently it was shocking to the panel and audience that Rudd said a swear word. Do they not know his private dealings revealed him to be the most potty mouthed Australian Prime Minister?
Rudd also knows why Labor lost the unloseable election back in May. Speaking at the Canberra Writers Festival, Rudd saw the reasons as voters not liking Bill Shorten – “They didn’t like him or trust him” – and the tax increases Shorten proposed, “I just think it’s nuts. It’s absolutely nuts”.
Shorten was one of the key players in Rudd’s removal as Prime Minister in 2010, so it is unsurprising that Rudd would want to dump on his failed bid to become Prime Minister.
Kevin Rudd in this renewed publicity campaign has been promoting his new favourite hobby, the game of handball. He is hosting handball matches around the country to promote the National Apology Foundation for Indigenous Australians. The apology to the stolen generations in 2008 was also one of Rudd’s own highlights during his Prime Ministership.
He has played handball matches with local celebrities – Kyle Sandilands from Sydney’s KIIS radio, and on TV show Saturday Night Rove on Network Ten, which has been cancelled after just two episodes.
Rudd responded to mockery of his latest cringe-worthy attention-seeking stunt by claiming it was all directed by the Murdoch media.
Rudd believes the Murdoch News Corp Media is a cancer on our democracy (another reason, he claimed, why Labor lost the election). But of course, as Prime Minister, Rudd was all too eager to gain the approval of their newspapers’ editorial staff.
Rudd has also urged Scott Morrison to enlist him in a campaign to enshrine an Indigenous voice to parliament in the constitution. He also suggested he could team up with Tony Abbott during the campaign:
“Use [Tony] Abbott, use me, use anybody who’s previously been Prime Minister to go and fashion a consensus for Indigenous Australians and with the other constituencies in this country, and bring something forward which can work.”
Kevin Rudd, shut up! Your Prime Ministership is now such a distant memory it feels only like a bad dream. With Australian politics now entering a new era of stability, the last thing the public wants or the nation needs is Kevin Rudd trying to influence government policy.