August 19, 2007 | Graham

Rudd stripped bare

This morning’s revelations that Kevin Rudd visited a strip club called Scores in New York will probably help his campaign for prime minister. That’s a reflection of people’s desire to change the government. It doesn’t matter what Rudd does, it will be interpreted in his favour – the teflon factor. So this post is for posterity.
There are a couple of things that intrigue me about the matter. The first is why Rudd is apologising for being in the club. I’ve been to a strip club, and I imagine most males have at some time or another. It wasn’t a particularly edifying experience, but nothing to apologise for. So why is Rudd apologising?
The apology lends weight to the suggestion that he might have embarrassed himself at Scores. But if this amounted to being so drunk that he can’t remember, again, so what? Most Australian males have had an alcoholic seniors’ moment.
From my limited knowledge of strip clubs there are a number of levels of interaction. You can treat the stripping as wall paper and have a drink at the bar. Then there’s the poll dancing, where you might even slip some money into a girl’s waistband. And then there are cubicles where less salubrious, but still legal, things happen. So, to what level did Rudd go in the club? Maybe Warren Snowden, who was there with him and who appears to be a little more forthcoming, might be able to explain. Or perhaps no-one’s asking the right questions?
For a future PM Rudd has a problem with the truth – it’s a job that sometimes requires you to lie, and he’s not very good at that. Added to that he has a propensity for demanding higher standards of others than he demands of himself. “I’m not into this Captain Perfect Captain Morality stuff” he says, which is just the problem, because the only reason he needs to say this is because he is. In a few years time he will be vulnerable to the 21st century version of Gough Whitlam’s attack on Joh Bjelke-Petersen as a “bible bashing bastard”.
And at the same time that he claims innocence he can viciously turn the attack on to someone else. Today when asked if he thought it was the beginning of a Liberal Party smear campaign he referred questionners to Alexander Downer and his staff. It’s not immediately apparent to me why. Glen Milne, who wrote the piece, is known to be close to Costello, but this is the first suggestion I’ve heard that he writes for Downer as well.
And even if he does, why couldn’t he have got the information directly himself? I’d be surprised if the newspapers didn’t have little bombs they were working on ready to pop around each of the leaders as the election gets closer. This was an “off the record” event involving a Newscorp senior editor. Perhaps Col Allan, the editor, put it “on the record” to some of his colleagues when he visited Australia recently. Outing politicians for off the record comments is a recently popular Australian journalistic blood sport, as Costello, Milne’s pick for Liberal leader, knows most recently to his own cost.
Could it be that Rudd is hoping to deflect the blast onto one of his enemies, who, because the event occurred overseas and he is the Foreign Minister, is sufficiently circumstantially connected to be smeared as well? As journalists and politicians often know more about sources than they can let on, Rudd may have grounds, so I’m just flagging a suspicion, not making an allegation. But, if my guess is correct, Rudd is certainly no “Captain Perfect”.
If this is all there is, then Rudd is safe. Of course, if it is only the first fussilade in a series, then things could change. “Future PM groped me – stripper” would not be a pretty headline, particularly if her picture accompanies it. But if it is accurate, it is still likely to be accurate in all respects, including “future PM”.

Posted by Graham at 6:30 pm | Comments (3) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. I thought poll dancing was something you did. Perhaps you mean pole dancing?

    Comment by Susan — August 20, 2007 @ 9:23 am

  2. Why bother to report it or comment on it? And why be anonymous, Ambit?

    Comment by Robert Gunter — August 20, 2007 @ 10:47 am

  3. The problem with blogging is the lack of an editor.

    Comment by Graham Young — August 20, 2007 @ 11:15 am

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