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Federal Government

WITLESS: Gough didn’t die but federal Labor had its latest near-death experience

GoughwhitlamSimon Crean. Kevin Rudd.

Two Labor politicians we’ve lashed more than most.

Crean yesterday appeared to take leave of his senses in a puzzling and apparently largely unilateral intervention into Labor’s leadership crisis by drip-feed where he announced he was 1) calling for a spill, 2) hadn’t consulted prospective challenger Kevin Rudd about it, 3) intended to support Rudd, 4) intended to run as Deputy, 5) even though Rudd had indicated if he did run he wanted another Deputy. It was hard to follow and only now makes some sense, if you squint carefully at the picture.

But, being generous to the bloke, it seems to us that in bringing the issue of endless (mostly NSW Right driven) weeks of leadership speculation to a head, even in the rather confusing manner that he did, he might have done the nation and his party a great service. Perhaps an unintended accomplishment but no less useful for a politically exhausted nation and a politically troubled government.

Being sympathetic to Crean is not our normal editorial position, as some might have noticed.

His actions seemed indulgent but were perhaps rather more self-sacrificial and honourable than we could have imagined. He’s no longer minister for two portfolios where he evinced an unnatural enthusiasm, his staff are without a boss and possibly a job and he didn’t end up nominating for deputy leader. So he’s given up quite a bit.

The end result as he clearly communicated on ABC 730 is that the Rudd-resurrection game is over. The highly regarded and able Rudd-backer Richard Marles – who resigned a gig as Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs where he helped bring home the UN Security Council vote with countless visits to unglamorous places – has said Rudd will never be PM now.

So Crean flushed it all out. The long national leadership nightmare is over.

And even Rudd, who desperately wanted to be Leader again, didn’t run despite the obvious temptation to test the resolve of the PM’s backers. 

Some will say he squibbed it, he didn’t have the courage to run. But in a way, it took just as much courage not to continue with the momentum Crean created. He certainly didn’t have the numbers and was never close on any credible analysis.

For all that, we don’t think it’s too generous to acknowledge that Rudd did the right thing, finally. There’s so much nonsense written and remembered from his boning, some attribute to polls, when that was always a cloak for a much more serious problem of leadership that alarmed his colleagues enough to take radical action. They’ve not shifted their view of him since.

Like all rogues do, I suppose, Rudd insists he’s a changed man. 

For the first time, he demonstrated yesterday that that might well be true, to some extent.

This government, this party, has occupied too much brainspace of the nation for their own good.

Yesterday was a massive intrusion on all of us. And while Crean did a wrong thing, he possibly had noble reasons in mind, and even Rudd, after indulging dreams of a spectacular return eventually pulled his head in. So we’ll be forgiving here of a day of abandoned and neglected tasks,. But we doubt the voters will be as understanding.


Boned shock jock turned Channel 7 social commentator Derryn Hinch tweeted – in his sensitive style without confirmation – that Gough Whitlam died yesterday. That was a surprise to Whitlam’s office and the great man himself apparently. He’s alive and kicking and would no doubt love to give Hinch a kicking if he was in better health. Hinch has been whining up a storm about Herald Sun’s coverage of his private situation. There is talk of complaints of breaches of journalistic ethics to the Press Council. They haven’t  yet reported Hinch could get on the popular US television reality show Cheaters.

It was a timely false report by Mr Hinch because this government has supplied all the drama and intrigue and self-indulgence of the Whitlam era, used by many in politics as a cautionary tale to be studied and avoided.

It’s a terrible shame because they’ve done more good than most governments and have certainly been far more competent and cautious economic managers than the Jim Cairns/ Junie Morosi crowd.

Canberra sources told VEXNEWS there was a celebratory triumphalist atmosphere last night among Labor MPs and staffers aligned with the PM, with drinks in Senator Conroy’s office in good cheer, even scoring a drop-in visit from the PM herself. It’s probably the last celebration they’ll be having for a while.

When the time comes, and it would have been even worse if they’d changed leaders, if Labor continues the self-indulgence, they’ll cop an absolute hiding that might make 1975 look like a good result.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Statement from Spokesperson for the Hon Kevin Rudd MP

Mr Rudd has said consistently over the last 12 months that he would not challenge for the Labor leadership and that he would contest the next election as a local member of Parliament at the next election. That position has not changed.

Furthermore, Mr Rudd wishes to make 100 per cent clear to all members of the parliamentary Labor Party, including his own supporters, that there are no circumstances under which he will return to the Labor Party leadership in the future.


Comments are disallowed for this post.

  1. It’s funny how the idiots in the ALP can’t even organise a spill. Boganville lives on even though Tim had already packed his two bags. I am glad Kevin was born with no balls. The worlds biggest workfare slave trader has no business in the ALP, let alone be in charge.

    Posted by WE ARE US! | March 22, 2013, 11:43
  2. “Canberra sources told VEXNEWS there was a celebratory triumphalist atmosphere last night among Labor MPs and staffers aligned with the PM, with drinks in Senator Conroy’s office in good cheer, even scoring a drop-in visit from the PM herself. It’s probably the last celebration they’ll be having for a while.”

    LOL more like the Fuhrer’s bunker in April 1945. The sooner these right wing factional hacks are purged from the ALP the better and the sooner that wannabe Gonzo journos such as yourself are pissed off into history the better.

    Posted by Lucius Cornelius Sulla | March 22, 2013, 11:45
  3. at least you had a go simon.not like Dean Mighell who has fled in disgrace like a thief in the night.see you at mediation.

    Posted by jimmy | March 22, 2013, 11:51
  4. The bottom line is this. Gillard can’t win. The punters have already made up their minds (it should be obvious from the polls).The ALP will be decimated at the next election it is really as simple as that!!

    Posted by Anonymous | March 22, 2013, 12:41
  5. There are conspiracy theorists out there that claim Simon Crean sacrificed himself to put an end to Kevin Rudd’s challenge rumors.

    Kevin Rudd has been constantly undermining and destabilising the Labor Government ever since he lost the leadership.

    The white-noise and background static was drowning out what is an impressive message and record of good governance. The economy is growing, we have relatively low unemployment and the government has embarked on a impressive and progressive agenda of social reform.

    Clearly Kevin Rudd has not acted honourably.

    Rudd should have taken the lead demonstrated by Ted Baillieu who, having lost the support of his caucus, resigned and moved silently to the back bench.

    He was extended an olive branch and allowed to retain the portfolio of Foreign Affairs. Something that was generous to say the least.

    Kevin Rudd and his ego was his own undoing. He placed his personal interests above the interests of the Party and that of the country.

    Much of the white noise came from a lazy media that could not take the time to report on policies and issues of substance. Instead they became embroiled in the media feeding frenzy of false information and leadership speculation. Even when there was a snow flakes chance in hell of Gillard being ousted.

    Julia Gillard, in my view, has been an outstanding leader. She has pursued an ambitious and progressive policy agenda and held together a parliament that was predicted to faulter. Her successes are our successes. She deserves our support and thanks and gratitude

    Hopefully we have seen the end of Kevin Rudd’s campaign of destabilisation and the media will reject and resist any temptation of rumour mongering and adding fuel to the disgruntled and spiteful members of the ALP caucus and the opposition to undermine her success.

    If any journalist again reports or speaks of a leadership challenge without naming names you can bet for sure that this another example of unprofessional and untrustworthy reporting.

    Simon Crean in calling on the challenge said he did so to provide a circuit breaker. It might not be the circuit breaker he had first sought but hopefully it has and will provide the necessary break and clean air that is essential if Australia is to duly assess the choices we will have to make in September.

    The choice is clear Tony Abbott or Julia Gillard.

    Gillard in my view has, by far, more integrity then Abbott.

    I have known Gillard for near on 30 years she was my branch president and I served on the executive with her for six years. I knew her when she was John Brumby’s Chief of staff. She is more than capable of leading the ALP and is the best choice. I have no doubt that she can win the next Federal Election

    She has and continues to maintain my full support


    Posted by Melbcity | March 22, 2013, 12:46
  6. wow AV, you have been hitting the Canberra Kool Aid sauce early today. Australia do not wan’t Gillard leading they country and they don’t want Abbott. They did not want that choice three years ago and they don’t want it again. Perhaps it is time for a comedian to step up and do a Grillo. Barry Humphries for PM!!

    Posted by voodoo man | March 22, 2013, 13:05
  7. Crean/Rudd couldnt defeat Gillard but dont worry, 176 more days and the Australian voters will get her and annihilate the ALP in the process.

    Posted by Anonymous | March 22, 2013, 13:22
  8. Using Sussex Street creative accounting, I can turn an actual 37 votes into a notional 48, possibly 58.

    With these skills I should have been made federal Treasurertard.

    Posted by grub richo | March 22, 2013, 13:48
  9. Gillard turning this around you must be joking Melbcity, you are proof that excessive masturbation leads to a degeneration of cognitive capacity.

    Posted by anon | March 22, 2013, 14:16
  10. The Shorten/Combet shit fight post-election for the scraps will be something of legend. You thought Rudd/Gillard was bad.
    Jesus Christ, who will be left? Clare and maybe Burke, possibly Smith.

    Posted by Ragool | March 22, 2013, 14:44
  11. @ Posted by grub richo | March 22, 2013, 13:48
    Yes this was all about the NSW Right (Terrigal) aligned unions and MP’s terrified of a wipeout in Western Sydney that drove this madness and a spectacular failed coup attempt. They know that a wipeout will lead not only to the possibility of the ALP a few terms in opposition but it will also mean a severely decimated NSW Right and their destructive influence in the party. Frankly, that will be a good thing for the ALP if the NSW Right are largely wiped out. They were prepared to further destabilise the ALP for their own selfish sakes. If you had your ear to the ground the last couple of weeks the coup plotters were telling anyone who would listen that Rudd had the numbers, Gillard was finished and Rudd would call on an election by the end of April early May as it was anticipated the independents would say all bets were off. Clearly, the NSW ALP Right have again underestimated how pissed off right thinking people in politics are with their bullshit and the way they taint not just the politics in the party and unions it is the whole character of this faction, they have more in common with the Liberals than with Labor and you have to wonder how close some of those relationships are in the parliament.

    Posted by Anonymous | March 22, 2013, 15:01
  12. You only need to look at the faces of those backbenches who were standing behind Rudd yesterday. No talent there that’s for shore. All SL members. How quick they turn on their own. Gillard was loyal to them and they have clearly shown no loyalty to her. Senator Kim Carr should resign

    Melbcity spot on.

    Posted by Anonymous | March 22, 2013, 15:12
  13. Can’t wait to see the faces of the Gillard lovers/supporters (who are the vilest of vile) on election night knowing the silly cow has earnt the party a primary vote of around 23%.

    Posted by anon | March 22, 2013, 15:22
  14. Infrastructure NSW Chairman Nick Greiner should not be allowed to continue in his role whilst Bradken case continues.

    Posted by Sydney Girl | March 22, 2013, 16:41
  15. The sooner Rudd assumes the leadership the better. I don’t want to be in opposition for 10-12 years.

    Posted by Anon | March 22, 2013, 16:46
  16. Rudd attempted to give Murdochs Sky control of the Australia Network – the biggest and most successful English language broadcaster in the Asia region. If he had succeeded we would have had a version of Fox and Friends picking fights for us all over Asia.

    Rudd is the lowest snake ever to have led this country. You are a first class piece of shit.

    Posted by Sydney Girl | March 22, 2013, 16:50
  17. Good. Julia has to own everything, she took over the media deforms just in time to have it all fall apart and, I could give numeris examples where she took over disasters in the making. Now, she will own the Sep 14 blood bath.
    The only person happier with this result than me would be Abbott himself.
    Julia does what’s best for Julia the party comes second and the country third.

    Posted by Scott | March 22, 2013, 17:39
  18. No story regarding the corrupt Dean Mighell joining bob katter.

    Posted by Stephen/Fiona | March 22, 2013, 17:44
  19. Union firebrand Dean Mighell has joined bob katter running his industrial wing he has to be fucken kidding the most corrupt ETU official ever and is still under investigation regarding a full audit and mediation with justice williams.

    Posted by Jimmy | March 22, 2013, 18:30
  20. Melbcity you are so out of touch with the real world, you are obviously an ALP insider. Gillard is leading the ALP to a defeat of 1996/1975 proportions if you think otherwise you need to ask actual ‘people’ what they think of the ALP

    Posted by Anonymous | March 22, 2013, 19:24
  21. Gillard is nothing than [deleted] so wrapped up in her self importance that she is prepared to have working people suffer under the next 15 years of Abbott. I hate you so much Julia you have destroyed my lovely party with your own ego, greed and incompetence.

    Posted by Working Family | March 22, 2013, 20:46
  22. Melbcity – I have known Julia Gillard for 29 years. She was not a member of the ALP 29 years ago so you could not have had her as your ALP Branch President 30 years ago. There is a little time shifting going on and a lot of airbrushing of history.

    At the time you speak of (1983) the Australian Union of Students was on its last legs. ALP students were organised into a socialist left dominated organisation known as CALPS – Council of ALP Students – and they had a caucus separate from the general unaligned and CPA left.

    Julia Gillard was closely aligned with the broad left but was not an ALP member and derived her support from the Communist students and general left.

    I always found her to be quite honourable but her views were not really aligned with those of the CPA or even the SL of the ALP – she was far more conservative and reached out constructively in dialogue with various student groups.

    When she sought to join the ALP in Victoria, she was cleansed through the Socialist Forum along with a number of ex-CPA leftists.

    She was not accepted by the Carr controlled SL and she found succour in the right – gaining positions on the staff of senior labor unity ministers.

    This has continued to this day. The broad SL still does not support her – people like Tanner and Albanese despise her. Tanner had the good sense to leave at the last election – taking with him most of the ALP’s economic credentials. The inner sanctum under Rudd of the PM, Deputy PM (Gillard), Swan and Tanner was really only functional when Tanner was listened to. His misgivings about the extent of the cash splurge and debt binge were not accepted as the other three panicked into pumping the economy full of cash – most of which ended up as part of our current account deficit and required foreign debt to balance. It was great for Chinese jobs and helped Harvey Norman and JB HiFi shift a lot of flat screen TV’s but nothing of lasting value to the economy.

    It was like a sugar hit for a diabetic and turned the budget from surplus into perennial deficit territory.

    Sure, in percentage terms the debt is on a global basis a relatively small percentage of GDP compared to other advanced economies but compared to the budget surplus in the Asian economies, it is a travesty.

    Tanner’s departure was a big blow indeed.

    Of the remainder, Simon Crean and Martin Ferguson were two of the most highly regarded Ministers within the business community because they had experience and were prepared to argue the case for a more wealthy Australia.

    Now both are on the backbench along with some other talented people who supported Rudd.

    Of course, Vexnews, being true to its origins in the mainstream Victorian ALP right, will be delighted that senior positions have opened up for people like Michael Danby who undoubtedly would be make a better foreign minister than the current incumbent.

    Posted by Giuseppe De Simone | March 22, 2013, 22:52
  23. Oops – I met Gillard in 1980 so I have known her for 33 years not 29 years. I had a seniors moment. Sorry.

    Posted by Giuseppe De Simone | March 22, 2013, 22:53
  24. Giuseppe knows enough about the inner-workings of the ALP that he probably only narrowly missed out on his coal mine.

    But he is full of crap about our debt. It’s low, extremely low compared with every advanced economy including the Asians.


    Posted by grub richo | March 22, 2013, 23:39
  25. will michael danby finally get a ministry? has labor truly sunk that low?

    Posted by evil bastard | March 23, 2013, 0:01
  26. Danby is one of few decent Labor MPs. My family and I vote Liberal except for him. He should be promoted.

    Posted by phillip | March 23, 2013, 0:20
  27. Jo DeS I have known Gillard longer than I have known you. or at least around the same time. I recall her from AUS days. I met her first when I was in Young Labor. She had just moved to Melbourne to study at Melbourne University. I was at RMIT, as you were. And yes it was just shy of 30 years ago give or take a year. I moved into Carlton in 1985 prior to that I lived in St Kilda and Prahran ad Eltham where I Joined the ALP in 1979. We had worked on many campaigns including Nanawading by-election . Gerry Hand was the local Federal Member.

    Yes you are having a Micro Bee moment. You were also a member of the Liberal Party not the ALP. I can assure you Gillard was very much a member of the SL. I was a member of the Independents and later joined Labor Unity having served on the Municipal Executive and employed by Evan Walker. I also served on the Carlton Executive for 6 years with David Cragg.

    Posted by Melbcity | March 23, 2013, 0:49
  28. Gee, AvdC, [deleted]
    BTW ,Any one seen Emilys List around this week? Must be in the Sweat Lodge whilst those silly boys play their games.

    Posted by Old Cobber | March 23, 2013, 1:33
  29. Gillard’s pragmatic shift to the right/centre of politics did not come until the mid nineties when she took up the job of Brumby’s Chief of Staff. Yes she was aligned with the Labor Forum group, the big split came around the time she joined forces to oust Neil Cole. The Left were very vindictive and Kim Carr and his SL base began to slide as we moved into the late 1990’s. The SL was fractured and the right played to their strength and weaknesses and deals were cut to unite the Victorian branch of the party. Gillard played a significant role in it’s reformation and was very much a team player

    With all this going on and the divisions that followed after Joan Kirner. (Gillard was close to Kirner and Emily’s List) Julia showed consistent loyalty to the party and was a stabilizing influence. She always put the interests of the party ahead of factional or personal interests. She was highly active in fundraising and political discourse within the broader party.Union movement. So I do not think you knew her well at all. Acquainted yes, but you were not in the same camp

    Posted by Melbcity | March 23, 2013, 1:37
  30. Melbcity – “She was highly active in fundraising…” Did any of the fundraising come from a certain union friend?

    Posted by Anonymous | March 23, 2013, 14:19
  31. Sources close to the White House have denied today that Simon Creame has been contacted by the Pentagon weapons division but would not confirm that a prominent US General had unfortunately compared the fall out at Cambera to Nagasaki.

    Posted by long gone | March 23, 2013, 14:53
  32. It would be interesting to hear Tanner’s take on Gillard. He couldn’t wait to get out when she took over.

    Posted by heinrich | March 23, 2013, 16:32
  33. Accept the delete but most would see it as a comment on AV’s infatuation with JayGee. Re Voodoos nomination of cross dresser Humphries as P.M.is ludicrus when that outstanding Statesman, Sir Les Patterson,has expressed interest in once again saving Australia single handed as he did in The Coral sea, Lae,Borneo,Kokoda,Darwin, Lords and the MCG. Mysoginious?-never-a Woman lover from pubity to pensioner. It’s Sir Les for P.M.RISE UP AUSTRALIA AND DEMAND AN ERECTION NOW!

    Posted by Old Cobber | March 23, 2013, 19:07
  34. Accept the delete but most would see it as a comment on AV’s infatuation with JayGee. Re Voodoos nomination of cross dresser Humphries as P.M.is ludicrus when that outstanding Statesman, Sir Les Patterson,has expressed interest in once again saving Australia single handed as he did in The Coral sea, Lae,Borneo,Kokoda,Darwin, Lords and the MCG. Mysoginous?,never-a Woman lover from pubity to pensioner. It’s Sir Les for P.M.RISE UP AUSTRALIA AND DEMAND AN ERECTION NOW!

    Posted by Old Cobber | March 23, 2013, 19:09
  35. Guess Tanner new she would lead the ALP to electoral oblivion

    Posted by Anonymous | March 23, 2013, 20:56
  36. Tanner knew only too well, she was nothing more than a [deleted] and would destroy the ALP.

    Posted by heinrich | March 23, 2013, 21:56
  37. Couldn’t Vexnews buy Tanner a beer and see what he has to say ? It’d be well worth it.

    Posted by heinrich | March 24, 2013, 2:21
  38. The ALP can now start preparing to do what they do best – fight over the spoils of defeat

    Posted by Anonymous | March 24, 2013, 9:16
  39. And so Wayne Swan’s fate is sealed. Cannot wait until world’s best treasurer is given the electoral brown-eye he so thoroughly deserves. As for Gillard…….ugh!

    Posted by iheartjinglee | March 24, 2013, 19:22
  40. So Anthony was the double agent in the employ of Julia. Hmmm he will be as popular as a turd sandwich I would think.

    Posted by Anthony | March 25, 2013, 13:50
  41. So Anthony Albanese was the double agent in the employ of Julia. Hmmm he will be as popular as a turd sandwich I would think.

    Posted by Anthony | March 25, 2013, 13:50
  42. Fitzgibbon, Kim Carr and Ferguson threaten to cross floor to bring down Labor government by supporting Abbotts no confidence motion.

    Joel Fitzgibbon is a treacorous dog and every union man should mark him out as the enemy to the cause.

    Joel you are a first class turd.

    There will be no media gig for you old son.

    We all know what you are.

    You are a parasite.

    Posted by Simon Crean | March 29, 2013, 14:01
  43. Anthony was Rudd’s double agent

    Posted by Anonymous | April 3, 2013, 18:51


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