First published in the Daily Telegraph, 5 July 2013
That the recent leadership events in Canberra were a surprise to anyone is a surprise to me. Rudd’s Redemption: a great name for a race horse and a surer bet than Black Caviar.
Three years ago the Gillard- Rudd leadership boomerang was launched. It’s been frantically spinning ever since and finally returned full circle, as it was always going to do.
I remember well the 2010 coup that had Kevin Rudd replaced as prime minister by Julia Gillard. I was in New York being peppered with text messages about the unfolding drama back home, yet in my search of 36 TV news channels I could find no mention of it.
No information at all.
There are a few people in the community who tend to have an inflated sense of their importance and relevance in the world. The rest of us just get on with our lives.
Why this leadership boondoggle this pointless and unnecessary activity occurred is obvious. A sharp eye could see we are at the same place we were three years ago. The players are the same and their behaviours and actions over the last few weeks reveal their intent. Once again I am overseas facing a case of history repeating itself.
The then deposed prime minister Rudd dramatically reintroduced himself to the broader electorate with high profile television appearances, a national marginal electorates tour and a strategic roll out of supporters and messages.
Then incumbent Gillard countered with a proposed crackdown on skilled migration to appeal to heartland voters.
It’s not my Maltese heritage that alerted me to the xenophobic overtones of this strategy, it was the bad policy.
All the leadership behaviours of the central players have been about self-interest and not the national interest. There’s been no mystery. The tea leaves and tarot cards, the facts and common sense all pointed to the obvious outcome we got.
This latest switch is merely the next chapter in what has been a three-year malaise.
Policy, vision and the national interest have consistently been interest have consistently been trumped by an indulgent personal interest side-show.
A week on from the final episode of the prime ministerial soap opera starring Rudd and Gillard the dust has settled, but the way forward remains hazy. The big questions for the nation still remains: will this change in leadership do anything to restore the confidence and respect of the community in the Australian government?
At a time when other countries in our region and beyond are stepping up in an ultra-competitive global environment, our government has seemingly been content to has seemingly been content to cede our competitive advantages and in so doing imperil our position in the Asian Century our future prosperity. An election without delay is the only way to put an end to these indulgent political games which continue to take the community for granted.
We must include the Australian people in the leadership debate so we can reinstate a focus on the real priorities.
End the boondoggle. Go to the people. That’s the best bet.
Alex Malley is chief executive of CPA Australia