Our Great Lost Leader, Lindsay

Listening to Lindsay Tanner last night and thinking back to the day Rudd fell and how I hoped he, Lindsay, would come through the middle and be Prime Minister at the end of it, until that same afternoon when he said he was leaving politics and then went AWOL from his duties for two months, ensuring Bandt’s election and a hung parliament, I note once more his and Gillard’s transmillennial enmity (he beat her for a preselection once, and described her then as a ‘conscienceless chameleon’) and his respect for Rudd, who had every right, he said, to go off his tree now and then in the bad days of the global meltdown. But I think he has forgiven the haughty little greaser for too many sins and covered up the real reason why he was felled.

This was that he was told the roof-batts were unsafe and might kill people, and he carelessly, impatiently chose to go on with them. Garrett warned him, in writing — or so I hear — and he ignored the warning, and some young men died, and this was noted, and Labor’s lead evaporated; and, when he thereafter, soon after, went back on ‘the greatest moral challenge of our time’ in a tired, ill-worded doorstop, went down the toilet.

It was not just that his leadership style annoyed and irritated and exhausted people, including himself, and seemed to some involved like a mixture of jet-lag and unsoothed groin rash, it was that it caused people to die — or so I here conjecture, I might be wrong, I might be wrong — and so ended Labor’s long calm rule in the big states, Victoria in particular, and put the whole movement at risk with his preppish tempestuousness and prissy unwilingness to admit he was wrong.

The roof-batts are his primal sin (if they weren’t, he would have sacked Garrett and blamed him for them), and the movement won’t forgive him for it or have him back.

This is not to say he would not have won, with Tanner and Faulkner staying on, and Debus, perhaps, and Kerr (perhaps) persuaded to recontest their seats thus thwarting Bandt and Wilkie and Louise Markus the Liberal member for Macquarie. But it is to say why he was loathed, and unforgiven, and will never, never, never, soil the party from a great height again.

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  1. Conjecture is a useful word.
    Tragic as the deaths were of those young fellows it was more a case of a failure of administration at a much lower level that allowed shonks to carry out the work.
    Garrett and Rudd were not to be found lurking in the rafters of every house having them installed ensuring that every little thing was exactly right.
    Thousands of homes were cosy and more energy efficient last night because of the scheme.
    With the BER I haven’t heard anyone demanding that their school hall be removed and the same goes for the many thousands of homes with batts installed.
    With Brumby and his arrogant bunch in charge I would never have called Victoria ‘calm’ in the last bit of his reign;trashed Labor and totally on the nose.
    Nothing to do with batts.
    Rudd is still extremely popular in Victoria.
    Lindsay, who it was possible to speak to in the local Supermarket when he was there (he knew the price of weetbix, unlike Swan) is a real man. You know he’s hit a nerve when the squealing starts from the Conroy’s and Creans et al. By doing so they just add to the problem.
    If Cabinet Ministers were to resign because of stuff ups and incompetence our front bench would be a fascinating sight at the moment.

    • “administration at a much lower level” Not so. It was from the highest levels that a non service-oriented department was tasked to oversight this political promise being carried out.
      From the audit report, ‘lack of staff, training opportunities and IT systems’, inadequate supervision and reporting systems led to waste and dangerous practices linked to four deaths and 197 fires. The report into the fiasco also showed that the assumptions made by these non service delivery- oriented departmental employees were ridiculous, including this howler “that householders would check the quality of the installation work”. As was pointed out, only someone totally out of their depth would see pensioners climbing up those tall ladders!!!! To the credit of the department, though, they did see difficulties and wanted a five year roll-out to correct them first, but were directed to do it immediately by the highest levels in the bureaucracy so as to fit into the political timeframe for the stimulus (and Rudd cops that political responsibility).

      • Economic Stimulus.
        Global Meltdown.

        What was the projected unemployment rate when the BER was launched?

        What was the complaint rate the department received from schools? 0.7%?

        Howard got us into how many illegal wars and is responsible for how many deaths?

        Sir Thomas More was a bomb thrower too. Mark Arbib…who is Mark Arbib? Karl Bitar? These guys collect a pension?

      • M. Ryutin tells me ““administration at a much lower level” Not so.”

        M Ryutin then proceeds at some length to carefully explain to moi, half a brain,that it was.

        How odd.

        • Your reading skills are a bit lacking methinks (unless by ‘lower down’ you mean merely one step lower - say Departmental head or Co-Ordinator General - and we all know how Rudd was so hands off all the time don’t we?).

          Thedse wwere decisions taken at the highest level of government and unless you know zero about Rudd’s manner of working (heads of the military and departments standing outside god’s door at 5am for the Master to direct them) you are just wrong.

          When the minister gets the danger/danger message AND passes it on to the PM it is just silly to try and blame it on the lower lights.

          • 1. My reading skills are easily as good as yours.

            2.As long as your bum points to the ground you have no show of convincing even the half brained Labor supporters that Rudd and Garret were involved in the minutiae of installing Batts.

            3. Lower level doesn’t mean the tea lady.

            • Chris, get real will you. There is no question that Garrett (and probably through him Rudd too) had high level, repeated (13 times) warnings from all sides, including the industry AND unions that this would not work and, specifically, that it was VERY dangerous. They also had pointed out to them NZ concerns and actual bans on use of materials. Yes, underlings performed these tasks but there is ample evidence that the leaders not only did NOTHING to stop, delay or correct the forthcoming disaster but, as the evidence shows, they DIRECTED IT TO CONTINUE against actual advice FROM the underlings!!!!!

  2. I’m not sure that you factor in enough the effect on the nation as a whole of deposing a Prime Minister undemocratically Bob. No wonder people are cynical and don’t want to vote at all a lot of the time.

  3. Just on the BER point. Anyone read in the paper the reason why Labor built so many School Halls and School Libraries and not one School Toilet?

    Even though so many schools needed a new toilet blocks, or needed repairs to their outdated smelly old ones - they got a school hall instead.

    In the best tradition of ‘Yes Minister’ - no Labor member wanted a plaque or the honour of cutting the ribbon on a new toilet block! :lol:


  4. Easy, Frank, did you not know that you can clean the smelly toilets.

    Any woman knows that, no need to build a new one every timen the men about the house miss the toilet bowl…

    • Frank needs a he wee.

      • I need a Leigh Sales doll that spits out witty lines such as ‘hah! Gotcha!’, ‘How do you feel about collecting a pension you don’t deserve?’, ‘How can there not be logic in that?’ and ‘Cut that, edit that, you can find the unedited version of the interview on our website’; oh and “You’re not trashing the party? What are you doing then?”

  5. Our great lost leader? And now just an arsehole, seems to me. Where is the loyalty to the party? Each time the Labor Party and Gillard gain some momentum out of the woodwork come the Rudd white ants. Question. Both Tanner and Gillard are from the Victorian Left. I assume Rudd is something like a Queensland Middle-Right. How do you figure?

    • Answer- It is all about them, not the party

      • No, he signed up to do a book and delivered it in, probably, May. It was due to come out now. He had no idea when writing it what Labor’s fortunes would be looking like in September. He can’t, he can’t, be blamed for the timing.

        I thought you would know that.

        • I will take your word for that; but the pulping of this book would be the best course. Tanner was a good and effective minister, and a man I thought would have been a better choice than Rudd for PM; but that is all water under the bridge.

  6. I can’t really believe that I am writing this. Apart from the pink batts fiasco being “the real reason” for the assassination of Rudd (and the usual political seat-winner optimism), I agree with all of this post. Who would have thought it?
    How unerringly perceptive was Tanner with the “conscienceless chameleon” eh? And we know that ‘the greatest moral challenge’ backdown was led by that same conscienceless chameleon.
    As for the pink batts, anyone with half a brain had to know that Rudd was informed. When unions, industry and everyone else were giving written warnings to Garrett, you knew that Rudd had to be informed or Garrett would have disappeared for his general, all-round incompetence, this pink batts disaster being the most obvious excuse to do it whilst attracting little adverse public comment.
    As for the rest of it, who knows and these theories and ‘what would haves’ by the rusted-ons are as valid as anyone elses.

  7. That seems about right, Bob. Rudd had to go, and his removal should have been handled in a “more in sorrow than in anger” fashion.

    Much has been mishandled over the last few years, errors of presentation and PR promotion mostly, which have succeeded in keeping the rag-tag rabble that poses as an opposition not only in the hunt, but leading in the polls for many months.

    It has led to far more grey hairs than most of the Party’s supporters would prefer!

    A follower of Macchiavelli might wonder whether it was all a plot to ensure that when the State governments went feral (oops, Liberal) the Federal Party was not too far in front on the polls.

    Any thoughts?

  8. None whatsoever

  9. Bob, you cannot delete everything you don’t agree with.

  10. Will somebody please set out a chronological account of how Abbott waited for Turnbull to be overseas, then hatched and executed his assassination of his leader?

    The way the media is riding, it’s as if the Liberal party orchestrated a mature and decent transition from Nelson to Turnbull to Abbott - no blood, no bile, no remnant resentment.

  11. Further to my last post:

    Will somebody please describe the pink batts fiasco? Every page Google returns is affiliated with the Liberal Party, or so-called grassroots groups as CanDo (patrons include Alan Jones).

    It seems to me that on the downside, a few small businesses (the engine room of the economy) decided they had the same right to rip off the taxpayer as large businesses (and the same right to exploit workers); on the plus side, thousands of homes now have insulation which will save the occupants a lot of power costs all year round for years to come.

    Has nothing good come from the scheme?

  12. Dali, some fly-by-nighters took advantage of the sceme, as has been an Aussie custom for yonks…

    But otherwise it went well and I know many happy customers, our place was done before at a quite considerable cost (huge country property), that was a pity :)

    • You see??!! You see??!! Thanks to Mr Yutin’s link, i see that some 1.1 million roofs have been insulated!

      Helvi, condolences on missing out, but at least you didn’t have the night-flyers infesting your roof!

      I think it’s time Abbott’s denigration (with the assistance of the Mudrock Press) of any of labour’s schemes, was exposed for the myth it is.

      At the time Abbott was in dickhard expectation of a sudden election and drooling at the idea of moving into the Lodge with his adoring female entourage.

      Those days are gone forever. I think even John Howard now knows his anointee has failed to grab the ring.

  13. Getting rid of Rudd will go down in history as the biggest F/U since the Labor party formed.

    If not for the female vote it would be over for Labor. The party has been hijacked by a gaggle of feminists and academics who in the main, couldn’t find their own arse holes with both hands.

    A certain union I am a retired member of, is very cognizant of the problems and is going to make changes, of that, be rest assured.

    Tanner should just go away and spend the pension the long suffering tax payer has provided for him for doing F.A. and shut up.

    Rudd would have won the next election as P.M. easy, all the rest of the navel gazing is just bollocks.

    • Actually, Kevin Rudd as PM was going to hit the wall. It couldn’t continue as it was, and the alternative ending would have been far messier, and far more public as he wittingly and pathetic-needfully dragged us all through his breakdown.

      He was, in fact, very fortunate to have it go the way it did, as sentiments such as these remain for him.

      Any way you look at it, it was never going to be pretty. He was done a favour.

      • Disagree. Rudd for his faults was a winner. The public loved him and he would have shit the election in. Rudd was the victim of the ego of an over ambitious women.

        I don’t know why, I don’t even understand why, Gillard is not liked. I have been a member of the Labor party for a lifetime and the consensus among people I meet is, Labor pulled the biggest boner sincee Federationon getting rid of Rudd.

        I still believe Gillard will win the next election, not for her stewardship, but because Tony Abbott should be on a cement mixer some where and not in politics. A drovers dog comes to mind.

        • Abbott should certainly be in a cement mixer. As for why Gillard is disliked it is obvious. Rudd was and is extremely well liked. A survey on ABC found 69% agreeing with Lindsay Tanner. It is make or self destruct. 10 months to go and counting down

          • Indeed. Although I still think Gillard can pull it off. The womens vote will be their saviour. I have friends who hate Gillard, it is indeed strange.

            However having said that, bring back Rudd, I have a grand to wager he will win, end of.

        • I understand those sentiments.

          The problem was Rudd was running out of people he could work with, to get the job done. And then that the job was getting less and less done.

          The public would have worked him out, eventually, and many did very quickly.

          He’s not a winner, merely an excellent, though sneaky, strategist. And a good actor, but not in the class of John Howard, who remains our greatest actor of all time. But Rudd knew how to look the part. Basically, he thrives off the love of the people, a love he sells himself to create, and falls apart when the illusion evaporates and reality hits home. He’s demented in public need.

          He doesn’t represent the party. He represents himself, and the public got to learn that pretty quickly, too, sick of it as they’d become with Howard doing same.

          Rudd was going nowhere but straight into trouble. He was saved a very public slaughtering - by them, that is.

        • And the only time Rudd listened was to his high school political advisors! Indicates it all.

          • Much of what you say is true, but to say Rudd is/was not liked by the electorate and they were ” On to him” is fanciful.

            Howard was given the arse because it was the end of his turn, and granted, he made bullshit a science. In his case like Tony Abbott though, he had a compliant media.

            There will be no more Menzian tenures in the lodge.The electorate (The young) are more educated.

            If they bring back Rudd, he will win the election. Yes he’s an actor and to my mind a sleeze, but aren’t they all. Like Bob Hawk was working class, Yea sure he was.

            It’s not about them it’s about an ideology that granted is fading fast. But anything is better than the coterie of social mis-fits and shysters they call H.M. Opposition.

            • Absolutely accept Rudd is still liked, if not loved, within the community, esp up north.

              The thing is that his administration was choking itself, and to ultimate death.

              They can’t bring him back, for reasons mentioned elsewhere here, and yes, it’s crook in tullarook. Best.

              • Rudd didn’t belong to any faction. The party thought they could use his popularity to win and then discard him. That was a big mistake because he being different is why he is liked so much, The young love him. He presents himself as a man of the times. Defending Gillard and her fuckwits who scored a damning own goal is just plain delusionary.They should have accommodated Rudd, They are the ones that weren’t willing to change.The people want change. Change of style is not a bad thing which Rudd exudes to the delight of many. Yes woman dislike Abbott, but they will vote in the main against Labor for all their faults. Governments lose elections Opposition don’t win them. A return to Rudd would restore the corrective political conciousness of many. Australians like a gamble and Rudd’s return would pique their interest. Boring Gillard and company Mark 2 is just not on. Change to Rudd or change to Abbott. Simple as that. I am sure the backroom boys of the party are running over all the possibilities of a change to Rudd. They would absolutely be a traitor to the viable future of Labor if they didn’t.

                • True. I believe that the Liberal party are in the same boat. They’re waiting on the return of Rudd to off load Abbott. I don’t think they can win with this lose cannon, as I am sure they do.

  14. The Moe Diaries cont.

    Man : You told me “Just say No” and I’d be PM by now.

    Mirror on the Wall : Not quite, I said if you just keep saying no to everything, eventually the electorate would give in and acclaim you as PM.

    Man : I suppose you told Peter Costello the same sort of thing?

    Mirror : I told him he just had to outlast John Howard; it’s not my fault that Howard wanted to still be PM today and break Menzies’ record.

    Man : So when will I be PM?

    Mirror : Soon, all you need to do is win an election.

    Man : But there isn’t an election until late 2013!

    Mirror : Patience is a virtue, Tony.

    Man : Don’t ever call me Tony!

    Mirror : Temper temper . . . don’t even think of punching the wall!
    It’s time you went to see the Cardinal again about your anger management.

    Man : Hmm, yes before that Leigh Sales interviews me again. What is it with these women? Chris Uhlmann and I get on really well, Alan Jones tries to give me orders, but he seems to be onside. Even Bob Ellis and I get on real blokey together. Its the women that worry me. Why can’t I say that as they do their ironing the power bills will go up? Its true!

    Mirror : (God give me strength) Just keep saying “No” and don’t try to get creative. And try not to punch or shoot anything, and try not to stare stonily into a camera for 72 seconds.

    Man : I was misquoted!

    Mirror : But you didn’t say anything?!

    Man : My silence spoke volumes : I shivered and shook and treated the question with masterful contempt!

    Mirror : Hmm, perhaps you could try that approach with world leaders after you become PM?

    Man : That’s the best thing you’ve said in months!

    Mirror : (Phew, that was close. He still takes the shadow boxing thing too seriously . . .)

  15. At least you try DQ.

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