Saturday, September 07, 2013

Election 2013 - Why did Kevin Rudd lose?

Why did Kevin Rudd lose?
Was it because?
34 reasons and counting …

He largely stopped talking about emissions trading schemes (as the "the great global moral, economic and environmental challenge of our age"), he stopped talking about national desalination plants, urban water funds and solar futures.

He mostly stopped talking about "the education revolutions", “education tax refund”, childcare rebates, petrol and grocery prices and his “watch” schemes.

He stopped threatening the states about fixing hospitals with the warning that if they did not, he would take over the health system by …. Was it mid-2009?

He lived in a world of grandiose statements and white paper pronouncements that, by and large, led to nothing.

His more humane asylum seeker policy, you know the one that led to the lure of fifty thousand asylum seekers to Australia and the deaths of over a thousand in trying to arrive.

He declared, "the reckless spending must stop" and then went on spending without precedent ensuring future taxpayers will spend decades paying it off.

He declared he was an economic conservative in 2006, then after the financial crisis, a “social democrat” and then recently stated, "I am an economic nationalist". He is a man of many contradictory political personalities, contradictory depending on who he is addressing and the time at which he states it. A man with settled beliefs that keep changing! What did you ever really stand for?

As Wayne Swan claimed, he does not hold any Labor values.

The leadership shenanigans of the past 3 years. We recall your words of 2011.

“Nobody should be in doubt about who will lead the Labor Party to the next election” says Kevin Rudd
In a statement that should provide some provisional and much needed respite to Julia Gillard, the Foreign Minister firmly rejected any suggestion that he was once again seeking the Prime Minister’s job.
“Julia Gillard being one of the toughest women in politics will continue to lead us effectively with the full, unconditional and unequivocal support of the caucus”, Mr Rudd told reporters this afternoon.

Your parties (not Tony Abbott’s), empty promises about delivering a surplus

The debt, the ALP has created. The harsh reality is that this government has us in debt to the tune of nearly $300 billion and the servicing cost of this is over $15 billion a year in interest. 

Came off a commodities boom and still debt soured

Of the structural budget balance

We really didn’t know who our deputy PM was, you know, the one before “Albo”.

The one who asked, “If the 2013 Australian federal election is framed as, “Are you better off under six (6) years of Labor then Julia Gillard (now Kevin Rudd) is going to lose in no uncertain terms ….” Was right

The number of people without jobs has gone up by over 220,000 between 2007 and 2013, and the government has classified around 350,000 people receiving unemployment benefits as “non-jobseekers” so that they won’t show up in the official count.

Your Governments attack on free speech

Your predecessor in Julia Gillard contributed because like you, voters could not work her out. Her political identity, her policy substances, her true ideological convictions, values and beliefs were a mystery like Rudd’s. Many elected leaders across the world subvert effective policy creation to opportunism and pragmatism, but the degree to which our Julia has done so both during her rise and, as Prime Minister defies logic and lends itself to questions of a paradoxical nature. We distinctively knew what Hawke, Keating and Howard stood for by the time they became leaders and mostly this was reflected in their policymaking during their tenure as Prime Minister. Conversely, Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd presented as a fluid, unconstructed persona, driven only by political opportunism, pragmatism and a misleading appeal to romantic sentimentalities. More here … 

He and the party relied too heavily on unions and their workforces not realising that union density in Australia peaked in the late 1940’s and today it’s a shadow of itself with less than 20% of the workforce belonging to unions in the public sector while over in the private sector the figure is less than 10%. 

The images of federal Labor stuck in voters’ minds ... Ah yes, those images ...

The NSW branch

Just the cost of living maybe?

His Government created gender wars by setting women against men and who will forget the needless misogyny tirade against Tony Abbott.

Or maybe because former treasurer Wayne Swan launched silly class wars that Kevin Rudd attempted to sustain.

You promised a form of politic that was to be, "... a little kinder and gentler" and then broke your own rules by embarking on a fiercely personal attack on Tony Abbott's character during the campaign.

Too many thought bubbles when polls went bad, high speed rail (something spruiked by Labor at every election), and that silly proposal to move the Navy from Sydney to Brisbane at a cost of billions of dollars and the loss of thousands of jobs.

The unbelievably dishonest declaration that Treasury, the Department of Finance and the Parliamentary Budget Office had costed the Coalition's policies and found a $10 billion hole, prompting the Government's most senior economic bureaucrats to come out and say it was not the case.

He flip-flopped on the carbon tax, border protection, car subsidies, foreign investment and even gay marriage – master of populist politics.

He consistently made policy announcements (FBT Changes) without consultation with the industries affected even after promising a “new way” as Rudd 2.0. 

The world-beating stimulus spending that went way over the top. Indeed, why Australia, an economy highly dependent on foreign borrowing, deployed fiscal stimulus more aggressively than most other G20 economies remains a mystery. 

Your own party truly hates you and voters have come to realise this. The you tube video at the link is an embarrassment! Said James Button, Rudd's staffer and speechwriter:
The truth is, Rudd was impossible to work with. He regularly treated his staff, public servants and backbenchers with rudeness and contempt. He was vindictive, intervening to deny people appointments or preselections, often based on grudges that went back years.

He made crushing demands on his staff, and when they laboured through the night to meet those demands, they received no thanks, and often the work was not used. People who dared stand up to him were put in “the freezer” and not consulted or spoken to for months. The prodigious loyalty of his staff to him was mostly not repaid. He put them down behind their backs. He seemed to feel that everyone was always letting him down. In meetings, as I saw, he could emanate a kind of icy rage that was as mysterious as it was disturbing.

He governed by - seemed almost to thrive on - crisis. Important papers went unsigned, staff and public servants would be pulled onto flights, in at least one case halfway around the world, on the off chance that he needed to consult them. Vital decisions were held up while he struggled to make up his mind, frequently demanding more pieces of information that merely delayed the final result. The fate of the government seemed to hinge on the psychology of one man.

Maybe somebody in the know was correct when stating:
“Rudd has never understood what it means to govern. He has never understood that to accomplish something, a minister or a prime minister must design it, think of the risks and take measures to prevent them, assemble resources, map out a plan for implementation, follow through on it, and deliver results. He believes that governing mostly consists of making grand statements.”

He failed to offer a narrative, never mind a Keating-style narrative, any narrative to coherently package a message, an economic agenda or whatever.

All of the above, that's right, a myriad of reasons and suddenly, SURPRISE SURPRISE voters (maybe even the likes of David Koch!), just stopped believing him.

If by chance Penny Wong were to read the above she would probably think; that's your opinion. To which I would add:
and it appears, the opinion of voters Penny.

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