Posts Tagged Wayne Swan

Huge victory over Rinehart by Fairfax and its supporters

Fairfax Media

 

Remember when Gina Rinehart was being viciously attacked for buying shares in Fairfax by people who were trying to ‘preserve Fairfax’s editorial independence’ and were ‘concerned’ that she would have ‘too much control’?

Well, I guess it’s time to congratulate the ‘why is Gina Rinehart so fat and greedy?’ brigade, it seems that Australia’s most wealthy and successful businesswomanperson has been driven away from Fairfax, possibly for good:

Gina Rinehart seeks to downsize Fairfax stake.

Mining magnate Gina Rinehart is looking to further cut her stake in Fairfax Media, offering to sell around 117 million shares, or 5 per cent of the company, sources with knowledge of the sale say.

Broking firm Morgan Stanley is acting for Ms Rinehart. It has been approaching potential institutional traders offering the stake at 50 cents per share.

Yup, showed her!

… hooooooold on just one second.

How much per share?

Fairfax shares closed at 51 cents, down 9.7 per cent, just off an all-time low of 49.5 cents hit earlier this month.

Waaait.

So that means…

Earlier today, Fairfax … slashed the value of its newspaper titles by $2.8 billion and posted a steep loss, saying it saw no early turnround in the worst advertising conditions in more than 30 years.

If I’ve got this straight (and I do), Rinehart is selling her shares for 10% less than she bought them for. The dramatic drop in share price is because Fairfax is bleeding money and will go out of business unless it can pull some kind of miraculous turnaround out of a place that I’d rather not name.

Sounds like what Fairfax could use is a massive injection of capital to keep it afloat for a little while. You know, like, say, a multi-billionaire who can absorbe a loss of tens of millions of dollars deciding to by-up as many shares as possible.

Yeah, that would do the trick.

Oh, wait a second…

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More on defence spending and the South Pacific

Despite not being the “shadow CIA” that Julian Assange tried to pretend it was (mostly so that hacking them could seem like a big deal), strategic consulting company does provide some useful analysis.

In this week’s dispatch, Stratfor director George Friedman has analysed the strategy of Australia, trying to answer the question of why a country that seems both secure and wealthy would take part in so many wars that do not directly affect its security.

As Friedman details, the answer is that Australia must contribute to our strategic alliance with the Us in order to guarantee US support in our own region. As I have pointed out, the maritime routes in the South Pacific are not quite as secure as they seem, and will probably be the subject of some conflict over the coming decades.
Australia’s Strategy | Stratfor.

This leads to Australia’s strategic problem. In order to sustain its economy it must trade, and given its location, its trade must go by sea. Australia is not in a position, by itself, to guarantee the security of its sea-lanes, due to its population size and geographic location. Australia therefore encounters two obstacles. First, it must remain competitive in world markets for its exports. Second, it must guarantee that its goods will reach those markets. If its sea-lanes are cut or disrupted, the foundations of Australia’s economy are at risk. …

Australia is in a high-risk situation, even though superficially it appears secure. Its options are to align with the United States and accept the military burdens that entails, or to commit to Asia in general and China in particular. Until that time when an Asian power can guarantee the sea-lanes against the United States — a time that is far in the future — taking the latter route would involve pyramiding risks. Add to this that the relationship would depend on the uncertain future of Asian economies — and all economic futures are now uncertain — and Australia has chosen a lower-risk approach.

This approach has three components. The first is deepening economic relations with the United States to balance its economic dependencies in Asia. The second is participating in American wars in order to extract guarantees from the United States on sea-lanes. The final component is creating regional forces able to handle events in Australia’s near abroad, from the Solomon Islands through the Indonesian archipelago. But even here, Australian forces would depend on U.S. cooperation to manage threats.

Once again, Australia is secure because we have played our strategic hand very well over the past century, but this may not necessarily be the case in future. Reducing our military — and especially naval — capabilities by cutting defence spending, as the Government is, is a huge mistake.

There is no shortage of Government projects that could be cut back instead of defence . We can start with some of these ridiculous middle class welfare/pork-barrelling measures that my favourite treasurer has just introduced, or that useless bid for a seat on the UN Security Council that has been our top foreign policy endeavour since 2009.

What is the point of having a vote in the Security Council when we are a military non-event?

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I think I’ll start cutting myself

I keep seeing things like this:

Cuts to foreign aid hurt those who need our help.

I was shocked on budget night when nearly $3 billion was stripped from foreign aid spending (”Foreign aid vow broken”, May 9). Not only has a bipartisan promise been broken, but the government has chosen to save fewer lives and to help fewer children receive basic education in the name of a wafer-thin budget surplus.

That itty-bitty surplus could have waited another year. But instead, the child who has no access to clean water will wait. The community that is afflicted by hunger, or the mother who can’t immunise her children will wait.

The government may have achieved its surplus, but there will be deficit nevertheless: the 250,000 people whose lives will be lost because of it.

Rachel Achterstraat Manly

Which is why I was happy to see this, albeit in a publication with far less views:

The politics behind the ‘cuts’ to foreign aid.

The aid program has only been “cut” to the extent that the government has not delivered on promises to ramp up aid spending so that it reaches 0.5% of GNI by 2015-16. The government has maintained its commitment to increase aid to 0.5% of GNI but pushed back the target date to 2016-2017. Sticking to the 2015-16 target would have meant aid spending in 2012-13 of around 0.38%of GNI.

I looked up the word “cut”, here is the definition that I think would apply most here:

Remove (something) from something larger by using a sharp implement

  • – I cut his photograph out of the paper
  • – some prisoners had their right hands cut off

People seem to be following EU thinking, which is not really congruent with — you know — reality. Increasing spending less than you would otherwise have done does not equal “cutting” spending, it’s still an increase.

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Arab democracy blooming from Spring, but not what you’re thinking

An item in the International Herald Tribune reveals that Jordan is beginning to develop a genuine civil society that is independent of Government. What has led to this? Well, not the common people rising up against their dictator — King Abdullah is one of the Arab rulers who looks to be emerging from the “Spring” mostly unscathed. Also, if there’s one lesson from the past year, it’s that in most cases the Arab public do not want democracy and will not vote for progressives or reformists — rather, they overwhelmingly support the Muslim Brotherhood.

The civil society that I am referring to, in fact, comes from the hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the carnage in Syria and one very wealthy Jordanian man whose conscience couldn’t bear to see them suffer.

Jordanian Donors Privatize Relief – NYTimes.com.

RAMTHA, JORDAN — Nearly every day, Thaer Al-Bashabsheh drives his BMW to the end of an unmarked road in Ramtha, in the northwest of Jordan, to check on the hundreds of refugees who occupy a five-building apartment complex donated by his family to house people fleeing from Syria.

In the past four months, aid workers say, more than 10,000 refugees — mostly from the southern Syrian city of Dara’a and central Homs — have made their way through the camp. Mr. Bashabsheh says one woman, who arrived with a bullet wound in her shoulder, recounted how she had been carrying her 3-year-old son when government forces shot him in the head, the bullet going through his skull and out the other side through her shoulder.

A 25-year-old man who died of a heart attack at the border is buried in the Bashabsheh family cemetery.

“When I’m go through the camp teardrops come to my eyes because I see kids my son’s age. It kills me to see them shoeless and dirty,” Mr. Bashabsheh, 36, said in an interview. “There’s a guy who lost his leg, and I see an old man, 95 years old, who cannot move and is sitting under the shade of a tree.”

“This is not a life.” …

The family subsidizes the camp for Jordan’s Interior Ministry at a personal cost of about 280,000 Jordanian dinars, or $395,000, per year. They also provide food, water, clothing and cigarettes for those who have fled President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, Mr. Bashabsheh said. The camp is supposed to hold only 600 people, but at one point it overflowed with 2,000 refugees, according to local news reports.

“You know, daily, my father is taking from the bank 1,000 Jordanian dinars, going to the camp, coming back in the night” without a dinar left in his pocket, Mr. Bashabsheh said, puffing on a Cuban cigar.

As I have mentioned many times, elections are the final step towards democracy and not the first. Steps like wealthy Jordanians feeling obligated to spend their personal money helping those less fortunate is a step towards democracy. This is the start of the classic Hobbesian “social contract”, whereby the society is united by common values and the ruling class is a part of that society and not a separate entity that spends its time consolidating power and wealth (as is the case in the vast majority of Arab states).

This idea can be exemplified by people like Andrew Forrest, the mining magnate who today outlined his new initiative to employ Indigenous Australians. He laments the decades of well-meaning enslavement of our Indigenous community through keeping them poisoned through welfare and not affording them accountability for their own actions. Instead, he is taking them into his company on his own initiative and giving them the skills they need for the dignity of being productive citizens.

Work is the key to living free of the curse of welfare and shame | thetelegraph.com.au.

There will be some who will dismiss this great cause if I neglect to mention an important truth. A truth I have seen best taught by Aboriginal elders, leaders and scholars – some of whom are in this room.

I understand what they are saying to me: “When it comes to having the respect of others, being Aboriginal is not an achievement in itself”. It is not a right, a reward, or anything else that one earns by effort. It is a simple fact of birth which can be upheld with respect or cheapened by the actions of the indigenous individual. The same is true for all of us.

Those parents of Aboriginal youth who stereotype their own people through misbehaviour cannot turn a blind eye to the impact of their example. Nor can they blame anyone else. The family unit so deeply and traditionally honoured in indigenous culture means elders and parents take responsibility. No longer can they say: “There are no jobs, there is no place for me.”

The expectation is no different for Aboriginal people than for every other Australian. No segment of our society can excuse or blame bad behaviour on Aboriginality.

But we must make sure that the opportunity to work is well and truly there, and our expectation of their duty just the same as for any other Australian.

Of course, Forrest has been made a nemesis by Treasurer Wayne Swan, who figures that he — not Forrest — should be determining how Forrest’s money should be spent (probably on more welfare).

Meanwhile, as the Project on Middle East Democracy has reported, Tunisia is also seeing an incredible amount of civil society activity and looks to be the only Arab revolution that may actually lead to democratic rule. The situation in Tunisia is largely because Tunisia has been the only Arab country that did not elect an Islamist majority in Parliament — the ruling Ennahda party has had to form a coalition with secular groups. This is more proof that the centralisation of power is the enemy of freedom, a lesson that many in Australia could do well to learn.

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A thought on Union mentality and Australia

Paul Howes on the HSU debacle:

How HSU betrayed all workers | thetelegraph.com.au.

IT hasn’t been a great week to be a union official. Once again the ongoing stories of alleged corruption and unethical behaviour at the Health Services Union (HSU) have dominated the headlines.

The actions of a few in a union of 77,000 members have tarnished the reputation of the entire union movement which represents two million Australians.

… Unfortunately, with a small minority in our movement giving our enemies free kicks things have become that much harder for the rest of our members. But at the end of the day what we seek to achieve for working people is the right thing.

Providing strength and unity for workers is still necessary in our society. That’s why taking action against the enemy within was the right thing to do for the labour movement — and will be the right thing to do in the times to come.

What strikes me about the two million workers he speaks of: that is less than 10% of Australians. By most accounts, it’s around 18% of working Australians. So even assuming that the Unions all do their best to represent their membership (which they don’t – say what you want about HSU, but I can’t believe that there is no uncovered corruption going on elsewhere in the movement), that means that the Unions are an interest group representing less than one in every five workers and fighting for what those workers want.

Yet this group has 50% of the internal votes in Australia’s only real social democratic party and numerous other ties, which means that leaders like Kevin Rudd who are not especially pro-Union can never be allowed to last long. It also seems to mean that the Labor party can never get passed its anachronistic dogma about what’s “good for workers”, in spite of very clear evidence to the contrary. It also makes Wayne Swan’s bizarre conspiracies about “vested interests” look even worse.

The sad thing is that unionised labour is actually a great idea in theory and once worked very well. There is a lot to be said for people who work uniting democratically in order to achieve better conditions for themselves. Unfortunately, the Union movement in Australia has long ago ceased to be anything resembling this.

Also, will someone please point me to the Union leader in Australia who spoke out against worker conditions in China when the whole world recently focussed its eyes on Apple and conditions in its manufacturing plants at Foxconn? I would really love to see the person who pointed out that Foxconn really has better working conditions than most Chinese factories and we are letting an even bigger evil go completely unscrutinised. Thing is, that wasn’t a Union leader, it was an anti-Union leader. The Unions were too busy trying to distance themselves from HSU to notice.

For shame.

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Knockout punch for national treasure

Remember that awful, conspiratorial-sounding polemic by the man in charge of Australia’s economy the other week? Well it’s been responded to by… the Opposition’s communications spokesperson. Will somebody please get rid of Hockey?

Meanwhile, there is no commentary needed really. Turnbull absolutely destroys Swan. Just take a look.

Swan:

The 0.01 Per Cent: The Rising Influence of Vested Interests in Australia | Wayne Swan | The Monthly.

Today, surveying the wreckage of the worst global downturn since the Great Depression, many leading thinkers argue the ideal of the middle-class society is under mortal threat in the West, even as a growing middle class is lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty in the East. One of the most compelling contributions to the debate comes from Francis Fukuyama, who wrote in Foreign Affairs about the dangers of the erosion of the middle-class social base in the developed world. “From the days of Aristotle,” writes Fukuyama, “thinkers have believed that stable democracy rests on a broad middle class and that societies with extremes of wealth and poverty are susceptible either to oligarchic domination or populist revolution.” These are the extremes, but, as he goes on to argue, we are already witnessing “some very troubling economic and social trends … which threaten the stability of contemporary liberal democracies and dethrone democratic ideology as it is now understood.”

These trends are all too evident in a recently released and widely discussed report by the OECD, ‘Divided We Stand: Why Inequality Keeps Rising’. It found that starting in the 1970s and through the 1980s, coinciding with the Reagan–Thatcher revolutions, inequality in the West has widened considerably. Across the developed world, the top is accelerating away from the middle much faster than the middle is moving away from the bottom.

The catchcry of Wall Street’s Zuccotti Park and the Occupy movement, ‘We are the 99%’, has shone a spotlight on the top 1%. Between 1979 and 2007 in the US, the top 1% saw their after-tax incomes rise 275%, while the middle two thirds saw their after-tax incomes increase by less than 40%.

And Turnbull:

Not classy, Wayne.

Defending workplace re-regulation, he claims “Australia’s egalitarian social contract is also underpinned by a fair and flexible industrial relations system”. But evidence for this is dubious –most studies say increased labour market regulation is, on balance, detrimental to equality, because any boost to earnings, conditions or job security for insiders are offset by diminished opportunities and social exclusion for more marginal outsiders, including young people seeking to enter the workforce.

The Treasurer also cites “a quiet revolution under way in recent years in our tax and transfer system”, presumably referring to changes since 2007. Targeting of transfers indeed matters, as we will see. But OECD comparisons of household income inequality which show Australia in a fairly favourable light are only available to 2008 – so if any “quiet revolution” had an impact, it wasn’t his. The jury is out on whether Labor has increased or decreased inequality.

In reality Australia has above-average inequality in individual earnings by advanced economy standards, though not as unequal as the US. But inequality in household incomes has increased only slightly over the past decade, because our below-average spend on transfers as a share of gross domestic product is closely targeted, and we barely tax poor households at all.

… Swan pays lip service at least to the education part of this agenda. But in the end he completely fails to link his many words about inequality (the bulk of which refer to other countries, not to Australia) to the allegedly baleful influence of “vested interests”.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Swan’s Monthly piece brings to mind some unsavoury images

I finally got round to reading the controversial “anti-billionaire” essay by Australian treasurer Wayne Swan in The Monthly. There were some connotations there that seemed uncomfortably familiar. Something about the language he was using really made me concerned.

The 0.01 Per Cent: The Rising Influence of Vested Interests in Australia | Wayne Swan | The Monthly.

In the last couple of years, Australia has seen the emergence of our own distributional coalitions willing to use their considerable wealth to oppose good public policy and economic reforms designed to benefit the majority. The combination of industry deep pockets, conservative political support, biased editorial policy and shock-jock ranting has been mobilised in an attempt to protect vested interest. It’s reflected in how the Coalition under Tony Abbott has recently radicalised itself into an Australian version of the Tea Party, more than willing to kneecap Australia’s three-decade reform project for cheap political points.

There are many Australians of great wealth who make important and considered contributions to the national debate. I always welcome that involvement in the discussion of public policy whether I agree with them or not. What characterises the vested interests that I’m concerned about is how they misrepresent their self-interest as the national interest. There has been a perceptible shift in this country in recent years, and it is sadly very much in the American direction of stronger and stronger influence being wielded by a smaller and smaller minority of vested interests. Crucially, much of our media seems more and more inclined to accept that growing influence.

… The latest example of this is the foray by Australia’s richest person, Gina Rinehart, into Fairfax Media, reportedly in an attempt to wield greater influence on public opinion and further her commercial interests at a time when the overwhelming economic consensus is that it’s critical to use the economic weight of the resources boom to strengthen the entire economy. Without a blush, her friend and fellow media owner John Singleton let the cat out of the bag when he told the Sydney Morning Herald that he and Rinehart had been “able to overtly and covertly attack governments … because we have people employed by us like Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones and Ray Hadley who agree with [our] thinking”.

I fear Australia’s extraordinary success has never been in more jeopardy than right now because of the rising power of vested interests. This poison has infected our politics and is seeping into our economy. Though these vested interests have not yet prevailed, every day their demands get louder.

… Instead of capitulating to the demands of the vested interests, and allowing the benefits to amass disproportionately to them, we have a chance to bend the extraordinary shift in the global economy from West to East to the advantage of all Australians. This is neither the fierce pro-market capitalism that got us into a global financial fix, nor is it anti-market socialist ideology. It’s simply the best way to keep growing Australia’s economic pie so ultimately we all end up better off. Ensuring the social contract does not erode is vital if we want to avoid a hollowed-out capitalism assured of its own collapse.

Then it clicked.

Wilhelm Marr, founder of the League of Antisemites, in Victory of Judaism over Germanism, 1879:

Highly gifted, with great flair for activities like these, the Jews dominated retail and wholesale trade as early as the Middle Ages and outwitted the hard working common folk.

The common people realized that their own sense of ethics was not shared by the Jews, because these, rather than striving for emancipation preferred to accumulate wealth.

… The same goal, disintegration of the Germanic state for the benefit of Jewish interests, is consistently pursued everywhere.

The daily press is predominantly in Jewish hands, which have transformed journalism into an object of speculation and industrial production, into a business with public opinion; critique of theater, of art in general — is to three quarters in the hands of Jews. Writing about politics and even religion is — in Jewish hands.

… After Jewish hustle and bustle had reduced journalism to a trivial but commercially successful enterprise directed at the mob’s liking of gossip and scandal, it had found the largest possible audience for its attempts at Judaizing. Centuries of a factual predominance of Jewish realism had done its preparatory work. Jewry dictated public opinion in the press.

…And in Germany, who carried off the prize of raw, material advantage? Jewry, represented by a handful of Jewish bankers; Semitic brokers. We Germans got the abstract, imaginary result — to be “Friends of the Reich”, to console us with the “Reich of dreams”.

… Starting from modest beginnings, [this Semitic people] outgrew you, it corrupted society in all of its aspects, squeezed all idealism out of it, occupies the most controlling influence in trade and daily life, penetrates ever more into public office, controls the theater, forms a social-political front and has left almost nothing for you, except raw labor which it itself has always shunned; it has tranformed talent into shiny virtuosity, pimpish advertising into the godess of public opinion and — rules you today.

… In our parliaments, where the topic of usury is paraded about as of burning importance, one can as usual, only hear — twaddle. The dogma of “individual freedom”, which really stands for the impertinence and gall of the most unbridled avarice, has become such a basic tenet of society, that our valiant representatives — what a despicable picture they offer — attempt to make an omelette without breaking the egg. Why! One might also have to curb the unbridled manipulations of big industry and of big capital and this is the reason why the question of usury remains without practical response and does not advance beyond theoretical resolutions.

The doctrinarism of our Judaized society is an aid in getting around the cliff of usury. The impoverished members of every layer of our society remain victims of usury and of its corrupted German helpers, who with the help of Jews would love to make 20 — 30% per month from the hardship and misery of the poor!

Note: I am very aware that Swan did not mention Jews or Israel anywhere and his essay is not remotely antisemitic. I am in no way equating him with the architect of Nazi-style antisemitism!

What I am doing is illustrating that his style of rhetoric and the specific accusations that he is levelling at Reinhart et al are polemical, conspiratorial and reminiscent of some extremely dangerous ideas from an earlier era.

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Reasons for Rudd’s resignation

As everyone living in the 21st Century should know by now, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd has just resigned. This comes after months of speculation on his coming back to power, fuelled by and a massive media beat-up. The whole thing started when poll results started to show that more people favoured Rudd as Prime Minister than Julia Gillard. This is a meaningless exercise, asking someone that question when Gillard is the leader and Rudd is not is entirely different from asking when Rudd is the leader and is under the scrutiny that the position brings.

Nevertheless, the press seized the idea and constantly spoke about it, to the point where it seemed like Q and A panelists could discuss nothing else. Then, ABC’s Four Corners began 2012 with an episode on Rudd’s ousting by Gillard, revealing that *shock horror* Gillard had not just woken up that morning and challenged Rudd, but had planned the takeover. I suspect that they are currently investigating whether or not the Pope is indeed Catholic.

This piece of non-news was beaten-up to the point where all the media could talk about was a Rudd challenge. Columnists around Australia, from Fairfax to News Ltd to the ABC, all threw in their two cents on the matter. Some were more subtle than others; Andrew Bolt, not known for his subtlety, even seemed to be actively campaigning for Rudd.

This was all satirised brilliantly by Imre Saluszinsky this morning in The Australian.

Column to end all Rudd v Gillard columns | The Australian.

IT appears a showdown between Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd is inevitable.

Three things must now occur: Rudd must openly declare if he is challenging; Labor MPs must decide who they want to lead them; and, above all, another column on the Labor leadership must be written immediately. The thousands of previous opinion columns written on this issue have only skimmed the surface.

They have resolved nothing.

Leadership tensions have escalated to a point where no column, however flippant, can afford to ignore them.

A completely new column is needed.

It is understood this column could now occur “as early as next week”.

So, in what has been accurately dubbed a ‘soap opera’, Rudd has now stepped down from the Foreign Minister role. What does this mean? One of three things:

1. Rudd is going for Gillard

This is the media’s favourite outcome as everyone loves a good soap opera and because it vindicates all of their columns. It does seem like he has been deliberately encouraging this idea, which may be because he knew that doing so would make it more likely to eventuate.

I am skeptical about this. From what I gather, his internal support in Labor is not very strong and he would have little chance of actually winning. This seems especially true as some very high-profile MPs have been attacking him tonight. Wayne Swan, for instance:

Prime Minister Gillard and I and the overwhelming majority of our colleagues have been applyingour 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 includingour caucus colleagues. He sought to tear down the 2010 campaign, deliberately risking an AbbottPrime 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 tobe damaged by somebody who does not hold any Labor values.

That last part is a little rich coming from Swan, an extremely mediocre Treasurer who rode Rudd’s coattails into power. It’s amazing that everyone seems to forget that Rudd defeated Howard and brought Labor into power in 2007 – and that was Rudd, not Labor. That election victory was almost entirely down to his personal popularity. Swan had nothing to do with it, he just happened to be in the right place at the right time – a skill that later won him accolades as Treasurer.

2. Rudd is doing the right thing

Could be that he saw the damage that all the leadership speculation was doing to the Labor party and he genuinely felt bad about the fact that his leadership status was distracting Australia from the important issues, so he decided to just end it all and disappear into obscurity for a while. This doesn’t seem like him, however – last time he did something like that he (allegedly) started leaking information to the press to damage Gillard’s campaign.

3. He’s giving Gillard one last “fuck you”

This seems like the more likely option to me. A lot of accusations are coming out that Gillard had grown sick of the leadership talk and was planning to fire Rudd next week anyway. It could be that Rudd knew this and decided to get in ahead and pre-emptively quit in a manner that would really stick it to Gillard, so he decided to:

  • Call a press conference from Washington at 1:30am so that he would hit the peak social media time – just after work finishes – and be all over the evening news, without giving Gillard any time to respond before the newspapers go to print tonight.
  • Dramatically hand his Foreign Minister duties at high-profile conferences over to some officials, making his resignation really look like an emergency.
  • Give Gillard some time to sweat while he flies back to Australia without announcing what he intends to do.

All the while knowing that Labor can’t afford for him to resign from Parliament completely, as they would not only lose his seat but probably the current election in Queensland.

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