A year on, K-Rudd hasn’t grown on me. He’s still a triumph of symbolism over substance. What has he done? Not much. Annabel Crabb, still my favourite political commentator, obtusely reviewed his year in office… complete with Shakespeare reference. I’m still in awe of her. She is brilliant.
And then, in a story on his dropping the d word – “defecit” in parliament yesterday – highlighted this little gem from the PM’s first post trip question time…
As he arrived for question Time, at 2pm, the Prime Minister scanned the Opposition front bench and performed a double-take when he espied the employment spokesman, Andrew Southcott, whose Movember moustache has survived a sickly infancy to become a luxuriant ornament to his upper lip. Noticing the PM’s surprise, Mr Southcott told him: “I grew it – while you were away.”
The comment was a palpable hit; even the row of disciplined countenances along the Government’s front bench betrayed the odd appreciative smirk.
Anyway, a year of Labor in power. Interest rates have plunged – which would be a good thing, if they hadn’t been raised first. But in isolation it’s quite a positive – shame about the rest of the economy – and the deficit… politically a bad move, given a budget surplus is generally understood by the population as being a marker of successful fiscal managment. I think a deficit is not necessarily a bad thing – provided it’s contained to spending on infrastructure. What’s the repo man going to do? Take away our roads and ports? The rest of the population is happy to borrow beyond its means to finance a lifestyle and to invest – why isn’t that thinking extended to the government? Anyway, Rudd will have to be prepared to die by a sword of his own making – given that he promised a surplus budget. The Coalition will no doubt continue hammering the fact that they paid off Labor’s debts and they do still have a reputation of economic management – conveniently the Global Economic Crisis really began to be noticed under Rudd’s watch, and there blame will be apportioned. The global economy is largely out of governmental control. I’m more interested in Rudd’s bad policy moves in emissions trading and other decisions that will ultimately cost jobs and make us less competitive – and the fact that he’s the most boring Prime Minister in the world with a massive reliance on cliche and cheap buzz phrases like “a bridge too far.”