Nicola Roxon, Health Minister throughout the first Rudd government and Attorney-General during the Gillard government, has condemned Kevin Rudd, whilst delivering the John Button Memorial Lecture, in Melbourne.
Roxon called on Rudd to leave the Parliament, “otherwise the action of any Labor leader will always be tested through the prism of popularity compared to him”.
The now retired member for Gellibrand said the removal of Rudd in 2010 was the right thing to do but was handled “very poorly”. She described Rudd’s government as one of “dysfunctional decision-making” with a “lack of strategy”.
- Listen to Roxon (39m)
Roxon told her audience at Melbourne’s Wheeler Centre: “We didn’t talk about his rudeness, or contempt for staff and disrespect for public servants (a measure of this was public servants saving up briefs to send to the PM’s office as soon as Kevin went overseas because they got quicker and more thoughtful responses from Julia as acting PM). Removing Kevin was an act of political bastardry, for sure. But this act of political bastardy was made possible only because Kevin had been such a bastard himself to so many people.”
Roxon also disputed the argument that returning Rudd to the leadership saved seats in the 2013 federal election. “I don’t agree with the analysis that Kevin’s poll popularity saved us more seats than Julia’s more consistent and planned campaigning would have, but as there is never a control test I won’t waste limited time arguing the toss tonight – my point is broader than that.”
She said: “We know bums on seats in Parliament do matter – but they aren’t all that matters. If the damage to our sense of purpose, to our reputation for delivering good policy and for caring for the community is severe, this reputational loss, and lack of purpose, can take longer to recover from than it takes to win back seats here and there. And it is harder to win the seats back if your people don’t think you stand for anything. The polls can’t help you on this.” [Read more...]