“Megalomaniac”, “vengeful”, “unstable” and “a b*stard” with a “vicious temper” who put “his own self-interest ahead of … the country as a whole.”
That’s how some of Kevin Rudd’s Labor Party colleagues have described him to the press. Members of the Coalition have been just as critical in their appraisal of the temperament and character of the former Prime Minister.
Now, background character assassinations are the stock-in-trade of many in parliament but rarely has such personal vitriol been so openly levelled at a former PM.
His track record is well known. He presided over one of the most dysfunctional governments in the history of the nation, amassed a public debt and implemented a spending binge from which we are yet to recover.
Now he has asked the Australian Government to nominate him as a candidate for the position of United Nations Secretary General. That decision is a matter for the Turnbull Cabinet.
As usual, Labor are playing politics with the situation, claiming Rudd is eminently qualified for the position despite their own experience. Having been betrayed by Shorten because of his hopelessness, the hypocrisy of Labor’s position cannot be lost on anyone.
Privately, Labor bigwigs confirm Rudd’s dysfunction but feel compelled to fall into line because of the solidarity movement. In other words, they are prepared to compromise global diplomatic relations to save their own skin in the Labor hierarchy.
Little wonder they recorded their second lowest primary vote in eight decades at the last election.
However, the decision now falls to the Cabinet. Some claim that supporting his nomination is no endorsement for the role but it would be hard to see it as anything other than a validation of his disastrous national stewardship.
While Rudd is unlikely to win the position, how in good conscience, having lived through the Rudd leadership and destabilisation, can any of us suggest he is fit for the role he seeks?
Now I know some readers will take the parochial position of wanting to support an Aussie for any position they seek, but we do have our international reputation to think about.
Others will seek to justify the nomination by highlighting the embarrassing track record of the UN in installing other ‘unworthies’ to positions of influence. Libya and Saudi Arabia as chairs of the human rights council are excellent examples, but that doesn’t mean we should abandon reason and suspend critical judgment simply because others do.
The world is in a difficult state. We face almost unprecedented levels of global debt, terrorism, social dislocation and a crisis of confidence in government. Whatever its failings (and there are many), the UN attempts to resolve some of those problems and needs the best possible leadership.
Why would we make their job any more difficult by throwing Kevin Rudd into that mix?