An interesting day. A man from Icon says he will make Mel read the Fred Hollows script and he would make a wonderful Fred if he wants the role, and Icon are now doing miniseries and he will read our Murdoch script Paper Tigers too.
Later for five hours I drink with a Labor backroomer and a journalist in Surry Hills. The Labor backroomer says Gillard is finished and Rudd likely, very likely, to be back as Prime Minister in a month in a desperate attempt to ‘save the furniture’ when Labor is inevitably defeated in an election that might be as close as October this year. We argue about this.
If Rudd were back, I shout — unanimously affirmed, let us say, by Caucus in June after the Budget fails to give Gillard a bump, which is possible — the following things will happen.
Swan, the world’s best Treasurer, will go to the back bench. Roxon, conqueror of Big Tobacco, will go to the back bench. Shorten will either lose all credibility and become Rudd’s Treasurer swearing ceaseless loyalty or, more likely, go to the back bench. Crean will announce he’s quitting politics and stay on for a year as Minister for everything. Gillard will announce that she wants to spend more time with her hairdresser and quit politics, staying on perhaps in her now marginal seat, the one where the car workers are losing their jobs, Altona, till the election this or next year.
Rudd will be sworn in as Prime Minister, replace Carr with Bowen as Foreign Minister, and make the abashed and baffled Carr Arts Minister. Carr will announce he’s leaving at the end of his term and recommend Wedderburn get his seat. Wedderburn will refuse it wanting the Representatives. Arbib will put his hand up. Carr will stay on, and attend opera a lot. Paul Howes will disaffiliate the AWU from Labor, or try to; or, at 30, leave politics; or be driven out of it. John McTernan, missing his family, will go home to England, thus halving the Labor backroom’s IQ overnight.
The Telegraph will then, within a week, run a story, What Really Happened At Scores, which will allege Rudd rubbed his nose in the cleavage of a stripper. It will be as false as the alleged Strauss-Kahn rape in the mouth of a woman twice his size in two minutes flat but it will do him harm and Labor’s figures will revert to where they are now, on 27, and then go lower.
By then it will be July 31. Rudd will continue to promise he will be less chaotic and self-regarding this time, he just needs another chance and his wife and family are praying for him. The Queensland polls will show in that state a surge to 25 percent of the Katter Party with Labor on 15. Labor will be looking at 17 seats at best in Federal Parliament. By July 15 Oakeshott will be sick of it, wanting to get home to his young family and announce he will support a No Confidence motion.
The figures, even money now, will depend on Slipper and Thomson. One more sexual allegation, false but Murdoch-driven, will cause Slipper to leave Parliament with his pension, forcing a by-election. That by-election, in September, will be lost and Brough be the new member and immediately embraced by Abbott as his new Shadow Foreign Minister. Abbott will bring on a No Confidence motion and Brough will vote for it. Rudd will advise an election on, say, December 1, 2012. That is, seven months from now.
Many, many Labor members will lose their seats or not stand, and Rudd will lose his and Smith his and Swan, if he runs, his. Among the seventeen left standing will be Shorten, Garrett, Combet, Albo, Clare and Plibersek and, in the Senate, Carr. Carr will be asked to swap with Garrett and be Opposition Leader and refuse. ‘I hate,’ he will say, ‘being Opposition Leader and I will never do it again.’ Clare will succeed Shorten as Leader after the 2014 Double Dissolution defeat and six years after that quit politics at 48. Howes, at 37, come in from the cold, will replace him. By then the Katter Party will outnumber Labor by 18 seats to 15.
Tony Abbott will enjoy twenty years in power after abolishing compulsory voting and retire in 2033 at 75. The Labor Party will be by 2025 in irreversible decline, like the Democrats five years ago. John Faulkner will write a book declaring the trouble all started when he, Faulkner, with his crucial casting vote put in Latham not Beazley; Beazley who would have won comfortably 2004 and yielded up the Prime Ministership to Shorten or Wedderburn in 2015; and then, at the book launch, have his first alcoholic drink at age 77 and quite like it.
It was a pretty depressing talk after a while, and the Labor backroomer, after many Carlton Draughts, allowed it might be a good idea not to bring back Rudd after all and another candidate, or even Gillard, was a better look.
While we were talking it became known that Brough had set up Ashby to gull, shame and scupper Slipper, and Labour won all over England, and the politics of everything altered, the way it does, into ever more different, more opalescent scenarios.
And so it went.
And the Rudd Redux Option began to slip away.