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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Kevin Rudd, vision and backbone

Kevin Rudd, in spite of the polls favouring his leadership and predicting his ascension to the role of Prime Minister, is still an unknown quantity in so many ways. We have not heard anything from him - at least that Miss Eagle can recall - on vision items, the big picture stuff. True, the task at hand is to get rid of John Howard and Miss Eagle is right behind that. But vision stuff is not only about painting pictures. It gives us an idea of the principles imbued in the person. The stuff that he will stand firm on. The stuff from which he will not resile. The stuff on which the nation can rely when his backbone needs to remain straight and firm and solid.
Kevin now would be a good time to display the state and quality of your backbone and the extent of your vision. There are times when agreeing with good ideas of the incumbent government is great. It reassures the electorate. Makes the opposition look as if they can rise above petty politics. But - and remember Labor and Tampa and border security - there are times when you can look to have a spine of jelly, no vision and precious little principle.

Show us your vision, Kevin, in relation to the First Nations of Australia. Show us something of your approach to meeting the needs of some of the most disadvantaged people in this nation. Or, Kevin, is all this not on your wavelength. Are you no more able to come to grips with the Aboriginal spirit of this country than John Howard has been? Silence on this issue is not golden, Kevin.

Claire Martin's leadership in this whole concern is highly questionable. The one Labor leader who has had the gumption to make a credible protest has been Alan Carpenter, the West Australian premier. Why has he been able to attack so confidently and competently? Because his government has some runs on the board - runs of the kind which fit with the Howard criteria of what should be done - and is armed with the refusal of WA requests to the Howard Government for partnership and assistance.

It is good to see Warren Snowdon up front and questioning. Warren's track record is good. As a parliamentary secretary in the Hawke-Keating governments, Warren looked after his NT electorate well. He has a ready ear and an energetic disposition. He wants to get things done and has been in there doing it for years. Trish Cross, one of NT's Senators, is in there pitching too. So there is a good distribution of opinion: Wazza from the desert and Trish from the Top End.

More power to your arms.