May 23, 2008 | Graham

Q&A and the Kevinator

I couldn’t help thinking watching Q&A that as a Prime Minister Kevin Rudd makes a good Opposition Leader, and that whatever his Mandarin speaking skills, he’s a creditable Mandarin.
Large numbers gushed in answer to every question, and at one point he even referred to the Opposition as the Government. So it was billions of dollars into this or that, and then a swipe at his opponents. I am very impressed that he can remember the details of so much policy, but will the electors be so impressed if the economy starts to slow down? For Kevin it seems to be all too easy to sound like a “feral abacus”. His advisors need to school him on what $20 billion of tax cuts mean to the average taxpayer. How many extra litres of fuel, or haircuts, or school shoes does it add up to. That’s what working families want to know.
He also needs to work on his personal conviction. If John Black is right that Rudd won on the evangelical Christian vote, then saying that your Christianity won’t play a part in your cabinet deliberations is not a good tactic. Next time he should stop and ask himself “What would Dietrich Boenhoffer say?” And he compounded it by saying he was only a “common garden variety Christian”. I can hear a shuffling in the pews and the sound of three cock crows.
He also needs to work on his empathy. Looking and sounding like a good public servant and laying out the 7 year plans and saying you can’t do any better is not what voters want from Prime Ministers. It didn’t take him long to say the equivalent of “this is as good as it gets”, and he’s only been in the job for not quite 6 months.
I think his media advisors will keep him away from live audiences for a while. Full marks to the ABC for getting the “interns” into the office to ask the hard questions. They might do well to introduce the format to Lateline and the 7.30 Report as well.

Posted by Graham at 1:34 pm | Comments (3) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. Graham,
    I know i have my biases but i feel like you and i watched two separate programs.
    My wife (who is not an enthusiastic Rudd supporter) and i both thought he looked relaxed and comfortable.
    He was at ease with the format, was very candid and his “personality” came through.
    Thought his response re religion was spot on to confirm his personal convictions but not scare the horses re people concerned that he not blur the boundaries between the religious and the secular. Although my wife felt he did hedge a little on religion to begin with.
    Time will tell who is right.

    Comment by barney — May 24, 2008 @ 11:18 am

  2. I didn’t see the programme, I must confess, but along with Barney I’d have to say it sounds like your assessment is a “minority report”, Graham. A lot of what I’ve read suggests he turned on the (slightly nerdy) charm quite successfully.
    Still, you’ve probably had the Rudd charm in person at Griffith “clinics” Graham – how does that compare with the on-screen version?

    Comment by Jason — May 24, 2008 @ 5:56 pm

  3. I think he presents much better in the flesh. I’ve always been impressed by his speeches at school functions. Light touch and pertinent, and sometimes a rep from another level of government would turn up and make him look even better!
    Very few pollies know when to shut-up, but he seemed to. The other night suggested he’s losing that touch, or just doesn’t have it in that medium.

    Comment by Graham Young — May 25, 2008 @ 6:32 pm

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