I’ve just been sent this statement from Wayne Swan, the Australian Treasurer and Deputy Prime Minister…
Prime Minister Gillard and I and the overwhelming majority of our colleagues have been applying our Labor values to the policy challenges in front of us and we’re succeeding despite tremendous political obstacles.
For the sake of the labour movement, the Government and the Australians which it represents, we have refrained from criticism to date.
However for too long, Kevin Rudd has been putting his own self-interest ahead of the interests of the broader labour movement and the country as a whole, and that needs to stop.
The Party has given Kevin Rudd all the opportunities in the world and he wasted them with his dysfunctional decision making and his deeply demeaning attitude towards other people including our caucus colleagues. He sought to tear down the 2010 campaign, deliberately risking an Abbott Prime Ministership, and now he undermines the Government at every turn.
He was the Party’s biggest beneficiary then its biggest critic; but never a loyal or selfless example of its values and objectives.
For the interests of the labour movement and of working people, there is too much at stake in our economy and in the political debate for the interests of the labour movement and working people to be damaged by somebody who does not hold any Labor values.
Julia has the overwhelming support of our colleagues. She is tough, determined, forward-looking, and has a good Labor heart. She has a consultative, respectful relationship with caucus while Kevin Rudd demeaned them. She’s cleaned up a lot of the mess he left her and has established a good, Labor agenda. She’s delivering major reforms, and getting things done that her predecessor could not. Colleagues are sick of Kevin Rudd driving the vote down by sabotaging policy announcements and undermining our substantial economic successes.
The Labor Party is not about a person, it’s about a purpose. That’s something Prime Minister Gillard has always known in her heart but something Kevin Rudd has never understood.
Swan certainly isn’t holding back his punches. This is a direct attack on Kevin Rudd.
From where I’m sitting across the Tasman, it seems like there are two possible things going on at the moment. One is that Rudd has withdrawn to the back benches to try and slip Julia up, and will attempt to stage a back bench rebellion. The more likely scenario is that he’s realised that not only does he not have the numbers (the number 30 is being thrown around, far short of what he needs), but he realises he never will. I’d imagine Gillard’s team also know this, and were preparing to dump Rudd at next week’s caucus meeting.
If this is indeed the case, Gillard has done the right thing, and I imagine her leadership will be a lot better off for it.