Kevin Rudd – Protecting his hide, not empowering the people

Based on first-hand experience, I have come to the conclusion that Kevin Rudd does not trust the common sense, good judgement and decency of the average Australian.

And although masked by feel-good notions of empowering the people, Rudd’s party “reforms” – which are now collapsing in tatters – are really about protecting his own hide and motivated by his insatiable appetite for revenge.

These conclusions were made clear to me following my recent involvement in Joe Hildebrand’s mini-series for ABC2 – “Shitsville Express”. In the final episode, we had the opportunity to articulate frankly and honestly our “big idea” to solve what we believe to be the biggest problems facing the nation today.  We were to pitch our vision to a group of captive schoolchildren, in the presence of the soon-to-be-recycled prime minister, Kevin Rudd.

When it was my turn to spill my “big idea” – which is to make our politicians truly accountable by empowering the rank-and-file between elections – he rejected it outright. Although it was once Labor policy, it is clear that he does not believe Australians can be trusted to apply their good judgment to make common sense decisions in the best interests of our nation. Typical of his class, it would seem he believes he is superior to the average elector.

Australians are increasingly disappointed in our politicians. So it is not a surprise that, whilst holding a gun to the heads of the faceless men, Kevin would try to secure his occupancy of the top job. At the same time he is falsely presenting this to the people as a solution to their concerns. However he has failed to address the principle, but not the only problem in the ALP – that is the blatant gerrymander through the bloc votes the union bosses control. Remember, union bosses are no longer real workers who have risen from the shop floor. Instead, they are factional apparatchiks – inner city elites – parachuted in to do the factions bidding.

Leaving the party to the faceless men leads not only to bad government, but to corruption – and that applies to the other mob too. This will inevitably attract an ICAC style investigation.

Although Kevin Rudd is still riding a honeymoon period, his resurrection will change nothing. It is a hoax to suggest that changing a prime minister is the same as changing the government. We must remember that Australia does not operate under a presidential system – and the proof is in the pudding. The policies which have been applied over the last six years have all been faithfully supported by Kevin Rudd, whether as prime minister, a minister or a back bencher. They are policies of the Labor party, with the prime minister only the first amongst equals.

If Kevin Rudd is genuine about empowering rank-and-file Australians, he would, at the very least, introduce some form of US style primary – that is allowing rank-and-file Labor supporters a direct say in the pre-selection of their local candidate. In fact, all sides of politics should have candidates who are chosen on merit, not for their allegiance to some faceless powerbrokers.

Australians would flock in droves to the political party which demonstrates true leadership by becoming open, democratic and transparent and by putting their money where their mouth is. This will be by showing they are serious about making politicians truly accountable. And not just in blank cheque election every three or four years, but on every day, of every week, of every month and of every year. Just as Australians are in their jobs.

Jai Martinkovits is is Executive Director of CANdo and recently co-authored "Give Us Back Our Country" with Professor David Flint, published by Connor Court. Follow Jai on Twitter at @jaimartinkovits. 

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Jai Martinkovits