What were we really thinking all through 2007 ...
....as Kevin Rudd topped the polls
....as his me-too-ism made him a small target for the Liberal/National Coalition
....as Kevin and Julia made promises to business about AWAs
....as Kev courted people with religious affiliations who had never voted Labor - ever
....as Bill Shorten of the AWU and Greg Combet of the ACTU trumped pre-selection processes and long standing, faithful sitting members to gain pre-selection and election in safe Labor seats and then rewarded with positions as Parliamentary Secretaries
We - the trade unionists, those who cared about wage and income equity, those who marched for justice - kept putting our views forward persistently. We did not say what we really felt when the ALP policies were watered down into a new reality and The Greens put forward an industrial relations policy we found more understandable. The ACTU did not want to ruffle feathers and merely expressed disappointment.
We were realistic. We wanted Howard and his henchmen and women gone. We knew that this would be a big ask. We understood that Kev and Krew would have to play it cool to get across the line. We were not going to rock the boat. We would stay on message - even if it meant biting the anxious tips of our tongues off.
Kevin got across the line - but, just as Miss Eagle questioned during the campaign the state of Kevin's Spine, she now questions Kevin's gratitude.
There has been much watering down of industrial relations policy in an attempt to mollify business interests. Changes will not be fully in place until 2010.
Let's get frank now, Kev.
You were elected in December 2007. How would it be if we said to you, Kev, "Congratulations, Kev. You've won the election, Kev. You've beaten Howard, Kev. But, Kev, you will not take power until 2010. Until then Howard remains in power and continues to live at Kirribilli. He'll water down his behaviour and his hubris a bit. In fact, he'll try very hard not to use the numbers he has in the Senate to really rock the boat. But, Kev, go away and stay cool until December 2010."
Makes real sense, doesn't it Kev. Highly rational.
In fact, Kev, in 2010 we are due for another election and - if you lose it (I realise it is considered unlikely) - it could be that nothing of lasting consequence will have changed on the industrial front and you will go down in history as Kould-have-been, Kould-have-done Kev.
To my mind, Kev, this seems darned ungrateful and downright rude.
You see, Kev, all those corporations, business people, and corporate councils you mollified or attempted to mollify did NOT turn out the vote for you, Kev. If any of them changed their vote from Liberal to Labor for you, it was precious few and certainly not in tide-turning numbers.
Not like us, Kev. Not like us - the trade unionists, the justice seekers, the footsloggers in march after march. We worked. Agreed - some of us were in targetted electorates with huge support from the ACTU, campaign organisers, and organisations like PolMin. It was these resources - financial, organisational, and human - who turned out the vote for you, Kev. True, some of them - like Miss Eagle - gave their No. 1 to The Greens for their industrial policy while ensuring the final vote went to you. But even so, we turned out more votes for you and made the difference for you in a way that no other sector of the population did - and we did it for at least eighteen straight months.
Your Rights At Work Campaign on Election Day 2007.
So, Kev, guess what? We don't give a fig for 2010. We want industrial change now. We want equity now. We don't give a fig about what you had to say to business because we think your first loyalty is to us and not to them and that there are more of us in the Australian polity than there are of them.
I realise, Kev, that it is a long time since you and Therese felt the need to have the Union help you achieve some sort of justice for yourselves in the workplace. But perhaps you might pause to think how much Unions have helped you to Christmas Dinner at The Lodge. We ask you to think about that Kev, you and your Krew, and you might be a bit indigenous about it. It is pay back time. Time to show recipricocity, recognition and gratitude. Time to be well-mannered and acknowledge how you got to be Prime Minister. Thanks, Kev. Over to you and Krew.
Your Rights At Work Teams Celebrating Kevin Rudd's Victory, December 2007