July 04, 2013 | Graham

Rudd the C-3PO of Australian politics?

C-3PO or the Ruddbot?

C-3PO or the Ruddbot?

The stilted unidiomatic bureaucratese, the command of multiple languages which you hope is stronger than his command of his own, a lack of physical co-ordination, an overblown sense of self-importance and ability, extreme risk aversion, confusion of mind, and complete conviction he is always right in contradiction of the facts.

It’s Kevin Rudd and it’s also C-3PO the protocol droid in the Star Wars Trilogy.

It came to me as I was watching his performance on the 7.30 Report last night.

During the interview with Leigh Sales Rudd burped and bumbled his way around a series of questions, including the question of whether he had been “wrong” in his original policy on illegal boat arrivals.

I know what they think out in Western Sydney and the outer-suburbs of Brisbane, and all he had to do was admit he was wrong, even if he didn’t believe it, to convince us that perhaps there was a “new (real) Kevin”. Even a dishonest confession would show he’s at least learned to think strategically.

Labor’s problem was never just with the leader, it is the whole team, including the hired help, and their lack of competence, or control over their leader, was in evidence last night.

Rudd did the interview from his own office which was cluttered with bric-a-brac (including a poorly draped Australian flag and some hard-to-identify personal photos) and had a chintzy liberty print feel to it. It seemed to be a reflection of the state of his mind .

This is not a set that any competent media officer would have allowed, Rudd should have been in the ABC studio, if not in Sydney, then somewhere else. His interaction with Sales would have been better, and it would have sent the subliminal message that Rudd was engaged, not aloof and hiding behind the trappings of office and family.

During the course of the interview he invited ┬áTony Abbott to beat him up, challenging him to debate him on the economy at the Press Club, and declaring that Abbott has nothing to fear because he is a “boxing blue” and Rudd is a “kid in the library with glasses”.

Come in spinner – not. I don’t think Abbott is going to fall for the Brer Rabbit gambit, even though I think there is a good chance that he would beat Rudd. In fact Rudd is trying to have an each way bet – if he beats Abbott, then it’s brains beats brawn, and if he loses, hopefully it is so bloody that electors are turned off Abbott.

Abbott’s right. The test of Rudd’s mettle is an election campaign, not a series of debates at the Press Club. The challenge also betrays Rudd’s insecurity in his own “popularity”.

Challenging an opponent to a debate is the mark of the under-dog politician playing catch-up politics. The leader who is comfortably ahead doesn’t want to risk his dominance by putting it to the test in a gladiatorial arena.

Faced with the Ruddbot, Abbott would be best placed to play R2D2, the little robot that could, and did.

Or just ignore him altogether.

We’ll see Abbott on the 7.30 report tonight and be able to see how they shape up.

My bet is that after seeing both of them, even many of those who like Rudd, will start to decide that if you’re choosing someone to play poker against leaders of the world like Barack Obama, Xi Jinping,┬áSusilo Bambang Yudhoyono, or even Frank Bainimarama, the protocol robot is not your man.

P.S. For another, equally damaging take on Rudd, check out Wednesday Night Fever from last night.

Posted by Graham at 8:02 am | Comments (5) |
Filed under: Uncategorized


  1. This is so good – can you do a similar job on Tony tomorrow? Or are you just a tad one-eyed in your perceptions? We all see what we want to see to a greater or lesser extent.

    Comment by Michael — July 4, 2013 @ 4:07 pm

  2. Good analogy Graham. As usual, with Rudd, it’s all about Rudd and his theatrical performance? Wind him up and watch him pontificate and or, back-flip.
    I didn’t much like John Howard, but even when in trouble, he stuck doggedly to his core beliefs and conviction.
    I mean, could one ever expect either Howard or Abbott for that matter, doing a complete about face on marriage equality, just for the sake of improving the polls?
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — July 4, 2013 @ 5:48 pm

  3. Looks like 7.30 didn’t have Abbott lined-up after all Michael. Or maybe he decided to let the Pink Batts story be the headline.

    Abbott’s boxing style is what they call the swarmer – he’s all over his opponent throwing punches everywhere until one lands and it’s all over. It is the pugilistic equivalent of shock and awe and requires a lot of stamina and durability to pull off.

    That’s been his political style as well, but he’s actually been evolving as a politician. Pulling back and letting events take their toll on Rudd is an intelligent, “out boxing” ploy, and he seems to be deploying it. A sign that he may be quite mature as PM.

    Comment by Graham — July 4, 2013 @ 10:06 pm

  4. It astonishes me that the political hardheads in the ALP never saw that Kevvy’s record as PM would be scruitinised.

    It is obvious they forgot why Kevvy was booed at Lang Park.
    What are they going to do when Kevvy falls below Abbott as preferred pm and the ALP to less than 28% in the polls.

    Comment by IMAJULIANUTTER — July 5, 2013 @ 8:45 pm

  5. Brilliant article!

    There is something phoney and insincere about Rudd,similar to a programmed erratic robot.
    The secret of selling yourself is sincerity and phoneys can be spotted immediately

    He has Julia’s problem-will the real Rudd ever appear?
    Obviously he quite rightly considers the real Kev would not be electable,so we probably are spared a rather ghastly spectacle.

    As he is such a bad manager,no amount of elaborate gab about the brilliant policies he wants to introduce can hide the fact that these probably never will be more than brain farts ,but in any case would prove the usual disasters if enacted.

    Comment by Mike — July 8, 2013 @ 2:28 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.