I’m Kevin from Queensland and I’m here to help
The question of a role for Kevin Rudd in the new Gillard government is surely problematic. Kevin Rudd at his final press conference announced confidently that he would stay in politics, contest the next election, and would like to contribute in any capacity to the Gillard government in the future.
How can a Prime Minster, once sacked, sit around and play an active parliamentary role? He is not an ex-leader of an opposition that can be offered a shadow portfolio or sit it out on the back bench biding his time for more auspicious circumstances. Rudd was the Prime Minister of Australia. He was dumped because he was bad and damaging for Labor, and he was loathed. Still, he is Kevin from Queensland, and wants to help. Is this possible? He is like a headmaster of a school that has been sacked by its council for incompetence, and asks if he can go back to being Year Nine French teacher with sport on Saturday mornings. It would be stranger than strange to see him back in cabinet. And in what role? Foreign Affairs? Finance ? Supervising the insulation fiasco? …
Apart from anything else, the Rudd image would taint the new government. Surely the last thing Gillard and her new-hope government wants, like a hole in the head, is happy Kevin 07 popping up in television interviews to remind us all of what we have just escaped. That’s why they got rid of him, and judging from his teary, departing speech, he actually demonstrated absolutely no understanding of why he was rolled in the first place.
Maybe time for reflection will change his mind. He should flag his exit from politics. Or Gillard could offer him an irresistible place as Australia’s chief bureaucrat at the United Nations where, given the nature of that moribund organization, he could fill his time writing position papers, organizing enquiries and conferences — in the UN’s inimitable style, with no foreseeable outcomes — and do little harm.