October 08, 2007 | Graham

How serious is this man about global warming?

That’s what the headlines should have been when it was revealed that Kevin Rudd and his wife have been looking for beachfront property to buy.
Although I don’t agree with ALP front-bencher Tony Burke that the politics of envy are dead in Australia. When Rudd drops in popularity, being a mogul will be one reason for that.

Posted by Graham at 7:11 am | Comments (5) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. How serious does Labor Leader Rudd expect us to take him?
    How serious is he about housing affordability? Not!
    how serious does he want us to believe anything about his interest or what he can really do about housing loan interest rates, or the monthly costs of interest?
    Paying $5m for a holiday house does not contribute to housing affordability. It does contribute to driving up prices, driving up average housing (as opposed to just holiday home) values, driving up States’ land tax collections and driving up Council Rates. With increasing housing prices, comes greater monthly interest bills for those of us who need to borrow (but few could compete with the sort of cash that Mr Rudd and family have at their disposal). Further, although it has been a habit in the past to buy holiday houses and drive up the 120 or 140kms from Brisbane for the weekend, but isn’t this having an affect on the environment through car emissions alone?
    It is a us and them thing. It’s those with their feet on the ground, vs those with their collectve heads in the clouds. Its us and those Labor MP’s trying to convince us they have solutions when they seem to be part of the problem.

    Comment by Derek Sheppard — October 8, 2007 @ 10:28 am

  2. Come on guys! Hasn’t the Liberal line always been that if we criticise wealthy parliamentarians on the basis of that wealth, we just discourage successful people from public service?
    And as Therese Rein’s probably going to have to divest herself of her business soon, they must be entitled to invest in real estate, right? (It must be intended as an investment, as ts looking increasingly likely that they’ll be entitled to occupy two other pieces of prime real estate soon)
    As for the global warming bit, is that a criticism of the probable energy consumption in a large house, or because buying close to the water is an indication that Rudd doesn’t think sea levels are going to rise? If the latter, perhaps he’s planning to fix it by signing up to Kyoto and is putting his money where his mouth is 😉

    Comment by Jason — October 8, 2007 @ 2:23 pm

  3. Hi Jason, not sure how Derek votes, but I don’t have an in principle problem with Rudd buying a $5M house. Just pointing out that the punters will, sooner or later. It’s the investment you make after you leave office, not while you’re still there.
    And the point on global warming was rising sea levels, and I think you’ll find that signing Kyoto won’t make any difference to those under any set of scenarios that anyone’s advanced. Kyoto makes a few months’ worth of difference to warming. It’s just a diversion.

    Comment by Graham Young — October 8, 2007 @ 3:13 pm

  4. You may well be right about the house Graham – I remember how Keating fashioned a rod for his back with his stubbornness over the infamous piggery. It reminds me of the adage I was given by an old Fleet Street hack turned academic who I worked with in the UK: “Tory scandals are always about sex; Labour scandals are always about money”.
    The other line of attack on the environmental front might actually be more promising – conservative critics of Al Gore in the US never tire of pointing out that he lives in an energy-hungry mansion. On environmental issues, the behaviour of individuals taking a public stand on global warming can, perhaps rightly, undermine their message.

    Comment by Jason — October 8, 2007 @ 4:43 pm

  5. Wealthy people buy grand houses all the time. Whoever pays these sorts of huge prices for real estate still fuels price, tax and rates pressures. And I have no doubt that many Labor voters have helped fuel housing price increases by benefiting from a strong, stable, growing economy with almost full employment, by trading up and profiting from capital gains in real estate.
    There are gross differences between Rudd and his Labor Party, and between Rudd and his pronouncements and policies vs his own actions. For years there has been a fairly obvious wealthy elite within Labor that separates and distinguishes Labor from its roots and its traditional base. Like Howard, Rudd and crew have moved towards the political centre, to the extent that the wealthy Rudd family seem more comfortable wearing a capitalist, employer tag than many even in the Liberal Party, and this causes a serious disconnect between the rhetoric and grand, empathetic sounding speeches of Rudd and his actual lifestyle and personal spending habits. He’s nothing like the people who have traditionally looked to Labor and voted for them.
    Kyoto was comprised of grand ideas, simplistic, unachievable targets, and nowhere near enough action which governments can later say sorry for when they don’t actually happen. This is the sort of declaration that suits Labor right down to the ground. Lots of noise but little action. All grandstanding and gloss but no substance.
    Change in humans effect on global warming must start with each every individual in their daily lives. Labor always takes this sort of responsibility away from individuals by having them believe that government will fix it – this, of course is patent nonsense. Labor Governments continuously fail to live up to the expectations that they create.

    Comment by Derek Sheppard — October 8, 2007 @ 7:11 pm

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