Kevin Rudd should win an Academy Award for his performances on the public stage.
The hokey, nerdy, friendly façade is just that.
Scratch the surface to find an ego maniacal, arrogant, self-righteous character, hell-bent on ‘Kevenge’.
Yet the public doesn’t see it.
“I hope Kevin wins because he seems like a nice bloke,” my postmaster says.
The first time I met him was during the Kevin ’07 campaign.
“The f#*king Labor party,” he said, rolling his eyes. “They’re f*#ked.”
It was an unusual opening gambit from a man running for the highest office in the land.
Then the stories began filtering out from colleagues in Canberra: Impossible deadlines, chaotic work practices, bullying and abuse.
These were not stories concocted by the ‘hate media’ to discredit a Labor Prime Minister.
This was a deeply dysfunctional government.
It comes as no surprise to learn from Health Minister Nicola Roxon that he wanted to take over the entire hospital system with four days notice, or that Childcare Minister Kate Ellis overheard him describe Julia Gillard as a “childless, atheist, ex-communist”.
In response, Mr. Rudd has pleaded with the “faceless men” to call off the dogs if he loses the ballot.
Interestingly, one of Labor’s most powerful faceless men is Bruce Hawker, who’s been shaping strategy for the regenerated Rudd.
There are allegation Mr. Hawker advised him during his Prime Ministership, while acting as a lobbyist for Macquarie bank, pokie operators, and Sydney developers.
It’s like an episode of Yes, Minister.
The sad thing is, it could have been so different.
Cabinet Ministers and party elders should have confronted Kevin Rudd about his work practices.
Instead, a group of power brokers did the unthinkable: Remove a sitting Prime Minister.
For her part, the replacement deserves a Razzie Award.
The REAL Julia is warm, funny, and committed to social change: an effective communicator and brilliant negotiator.
But media training has turned her into a repetitive, monotone, caricature who avoids answering tough questions.
It’s no wonder shock jocks call her Ju-liar.
In truth, she doesn’t lie any more than other politicians.
The 24-hour news cycle requires them to come up with black and white answers to issues with many shades of grey.
I blame the media for dumbing down debate and focusing on personality instead of policy (and yes, I consider myself part of the problem).
Somehow, we’ve ended up with a leadership challenge between two people whose policies are fundamentally the same.
Both want a price on pollution, but each blames the other for trashing the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.
As Prime Minister and Education Minister, they were responsible for the Building the Education Revolution.
And they support government help for the car industry.
These are the kind of policies a Centre Left party is built on.
But instead of talking about that, we’re talking about dis: Disloyalty, dishonesty and disrespect. Frankly, it’s a disaster.
Like the black comedy, The War of the Roses, this bitter divorce will end with both being mortally wounded.
Unless the party unites.
In the words of my 7-year-old son, “Well, THAT’S not going to happen!”
So, for the 102 caucus members, the choice is clear.
It was wrong to roll Rudd. But two wrongs don’t make a right.
Vote for efficiency versus ego; substance versus style; debate versus dictatorship.
The novelist George Eliot once wrote, “Acting is nothing more or less than playing”.
For Kevin Rudd, the game is over.
He should take his bat and ball and go home.