Roxon Slams Rudd

October 17, 2013 by  

Roxon Slams Rudd, FORMER Attorney-General Nicola Roxon has delivered a blistering rebuke of Kevin Rudd, declaring his knifing in 2010 was an “act of political bastardry” justified because the former prime minister was “a bastard himself to so many people”.

And Ms Roxon, who quit the frontbench four months before Mr Rudd returned to the top job in June, said the vanquished prime minister must now leave parliament or the performance of any Labor leader would be constantly compared to Mr Rudd’s popularity.

Delivering the John Button Memorial Lecture in Melbourne on Wednesday night, Ms Roxon gave a stunning critique of Labor last term in office and defended the decision to dump Mr Rudd in favour of Julia Gillard during his first term.

“Removing Kevin was an act of political bastardry, for sure. But this act of political bastardry was made possible only because Kevin had been such a bastard himself to so many people,” Ms Roxon said.

Ms Roxon said while in the top job Mr Rudd had an “overwhelming inclination to focus on minutiae, as a way of avoiding the big, harder decisions”.

His foreign policy focus and “desire to fix the world’s problems” became exhausting for the former PM and debilitating for the government, she said.

“Kevin had a fatal attraction to everyone else’s problems. He never saw a problem that he didn’t believe he should try and fix,” she said.

Ms Roxon, who was health minister during the government’s first term, said such was the disdain for Kevin Rudd that public servants often sent briefs up to the Prime Minister’s Office as soon as Mr Rudd went overseas “because they got quicker and more thoughtful responses from Julia as acting PM”.

She said Mr Rudd had little regard for the lives of his ministers or his staff and that “good people were burnt through like wildfire”.

That was then: Nicola Roxon and Kevin Rudd during Question Time in Parliament House when she was Health Minister and he was Prime Minister. Source: News Limited

However she conceded his knifing wasn’t explained properly to him or to the public and Julia Gillard and Labor in general paid the price.

“If Kevin had been an employee, he would have won his unfair dismissal case. Not because there wasn’t cause to dismiss him, but because we didn’t explain the reasons properly to him, let alone to the voting public,” Ms Roxon said.

“We didn’t talk about his rudeness, or contempt for staff and disrespect for public servants.

“After the most brutal and speedy sacking, we got overcome with politeness and thought it would save Kevin pain to say as little as possible and move on quickly. What the rest of the world calls a polite white lie, became political poison. It was something that Julia unfairly wore as a heavy chain around her neck for her entire Prime Ministership, although we all truly bore responsibility for it.”

Ms Roxon also slammed the damaging leaks against Ms Gillard during the 2010 election.

“Even if you accept the method of his removal was unfair – nothing excuses persistently destabilising and leaking against your own team during an election, or as a senior minister or as a backbencher,” she said.

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