Kevin Rudd: Literally the most incompetent and cowardly Prime Minister in Australian history

by on 6 May, 2010

Geoff-Rossiter Kevin Rudd's track record speaks for itself, writes Geoff Rossiter.

By any objective measure, Kevin Rudd has now completely botched or abandoned nearly every ‘Kevin 07’ election policy.

(See:  Economic Conservatism, Australia 2020 Summit, Grocery Watch, Fuel Watch, Housing Affordability, Defence Funding, Border Protection, “Building the Education Revolution”, Computers in Schools, Childcare Centers, GP Super-Clinics, Indigenous Housing, National Broadband Network, Internet Censorship, Home Insulation/Fires/Deaths, “Ending the Blame Game in Health”; and now the ETS).

Now, to be absolutely fair, I can think of two ‘Kevin 07’ election policies that have not been completely botched or abandoned by Rudd in Government.  These are the Commonwealth’s Apology to the “Stolen Generations”, and the rolling-back of WorkChoices.

However, the Rudd Government’s approach to public policy has become farcically predictable:  A smiling Kevin Rudd fronts a press conference with a big policy announcement and some slogans.  The policy ‘outputs’ eventually trickle-out late and over-budget.  The policy then systematically fails due to negligent Ministerial acts/omissions.  Rudd hides from the media for 1-2 weeks.  An expensive review of the program is announced (from amongst the Labor spin defending the failed program) by the ‘responsible’ Minister.  Rudd then re-appears with a new big policy announcement or a distraction, whilst the failed program is quietly delayed or abandoned.  The policy’s failure then leaves any employers, employees, individuals or stake-holders that have relied upon the program much worse off.

The implementation and administration of the wasteful ‘school halls program’ and the disastrous ‘home insulation program’ are two key examples of the Rudd Government’s inability to implement its own policies in government; and of its unprecedented incompetence.

The Rudd Government’s latest policy failure (at the time of writing) is its abandonment of its ETS.  Rudd ridiculed Brendan Nelson in early 2008 for the Liberal Party’s policy of wanting to wait until after the Copenhagen Summit before deciding whether to unilaterally impose an ETS upon the Australian economy; and Australian jobs.  But, in a staggering feat of hypocrisy, this is now essentially Rudd’s policy in mid-2010.

In 2009, Kevin Rudd stated that:  “Climate change is the greatest moral challenge of our time”, to delay would be “absolute political cowardice” and “an absolute failure of leadership”; and “To delay is to deny”.

Rudd now stands condemned by his own words.

A number of Rudd Government Ministers have since blamed Rudd’s decision to abandon his ETS in an election year, on the Liberal Party’s opposition to “Kevin Rudd’s Great Big New Tax on Everything” in the Senate.  This is Labor spin.

Kevin Rudd can still pursue his ETS anytime he chooses to, and he knows it.  The Commonwealth Constitution provides a mechanism to resolve deadlocks in the Senate through a double dissolution.  This is an option that Kevin Rudd can use right now if he wants to, but the reality is that he lacks the political courage to face Tony Abbott in an ‘ETS election’ in mid/late 2010.

Rudd’s excuse for this is that “The Australian people expect Governments to serve their full-term”.  This is more Labor spin.

In 2009, Kevin Rudd refused to rule out double dissolutions; and only last week, the Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan alluded to the possibility of a double dissolution over the private health insurance rebate.  And further, even if a double dissolution was announced today, the Rudd Government would still serve a “full term”.

If Rudd had any integrity, any courage, any conviction; and if Rudd sincerely believed that his ETS was part of the solution to “the greatest moral challenge of our time” he would move to re-introduce his ETS legislation in the Senate; and when it failed, face Tony Abbott in a double dissolution ‘ETS election’ in mid/late 2010.

In his own words, Kevin Rudd’s latest policy failure demonstrates his “absolute political cowardice” and his “absolute failure of leadership”.

Geoff Rossiter is a Liberal Party Branch Secretary and is currently studying an Arts/Law Double Degree at Monash University in Melbourne.

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