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Published: ABC The Drum Unleashed

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Whatever other influences helped shape Kevin Rudd, his time as a diplomat clearly had a major influence.

Kevin can talk. I wouldn’t say he mastered the use of the English language, rather he mastered the art of talking and saying nothing, which is a basic tool of diplomacy. He learnt the art of gift giving and the use of the media to gain maximum impact and as a representative of a middle ranking power, the art of spin.

He mastered the complexities of creating castles in the air with a match box in his pocket. He learnt the dangers of delegation to self promotion and the need to appear busy. He learnt that management by crisis kept criticism at bay. But above all he learnt that appearance and presentation enhanced success. As difficult as it was initially he learnt how to become a member of the elite and he has not forgotten.

It was drummed into him to keep every door open, to never discard an option or close an opening; matters of fact and substance to be avoided unless advantage is sought from rival or opponent.

Conservative and risk averse, the department of foreign affairs impressed upon him the need for distance; objectivity can only be achieved through dispassionate appraisal of a problem or handling of difficult issues.

He threw that advice to the wind when he apologised to the Stolen Generation, but it was only a temporary aberration. He is firmly back on track and as evidence we need look no further than his treatment of asylum seekers.

Rudd’s desire to get some quick (and easy) kudos from his aid program to the Australian people in the form of ceiling insulation has badly backfired, damaging his government, himself and the minister notionally responsible.

The episode demonstrates how lacking in common sense and the practical arts is this government. Why did no one in cabinet ask the basic questions concerning delivery of the program? Rudd wants to be hands on without knowing how to drive.

Rudd talks the talk on Afghanistan, but the war is unwinnable in the American sense of winning wars. Bombing civilians creates more supporters of the Taliban both in Afghanistan and abroad. It creates more opponents of the United States military and foreign policy in exactly the same way that Israel’s invasion of Gaza and the resulting deaths of innocents created more opposition to Israel. It is not difficult to understand, yet it seems to be for Kevin Rudd.

Australian departments and agencies have been dealing with issues relating to terrorism for the last four decades. For Rudd to try and beat up the issue at this time is little more than a diversion.

He understands nothing about the conservation and delivery of water and yet has muzzled Penny Wong to the extent that her pronouncements on the subject as the putative minister for water are mean and meaningless.

Water cannot and should not be sold. The licence system is not working; it will not and cannot deliver. Access to potable water is the right of every citizen. It is the responsibility of government to protect that right and to deliver water for the sustenance of life, sustainable agriculture and industry in that order.

Control of water is essential for government if they wish to retain sovereignty. Vested interests have no place in undermining the ability of government to meet the basic needs of people and to determine the best use of water in the national interest.

As important as mining and producing cotton is we have looked in vain for the government to give voice to the needs of people ahead of large vested interests. People are not impressed with the false and forced bonhomie of Kevin Rudd.

Things are not OK. Where I live social problems are increasing, not decreasing. No money has been spent on meaningful infrastructure, roads, railways, hospitals and schools for decades. The kowtowing to vested interests, failure to wrest control, plan and implement proper water planning on a national scale has seen communities and agricultural enterprises collapse.

The message is, Rudd spins, he cares about his career in politics, he doesn’t care about people, he doesn’t care about productivity, it is all words.

When all else fails trot out the hoary old terrorism fear campaign. More people will likely die around where I live from poor roads and an inability to access decent medical services than they are from an act of terror.

Grow up Kevin, get real and do your job as it should be done and as you are paid to do it on behalf of people. You are without clothes.

My suggestion would be that some of the many resources you deploy to spy on the ethnic communities, you deploy in all communities around Australia. ASIO should have a branch office in every major rural city. Your lack of action in meeting your promises, in addressing the major issues facing this nation and your lack sincerity or your cynicism in being so focused on yourself at our expense is radicalising ordinary men and women.

Be it on your head.