Convicted criminal Brian Burke organised a dinner, invited his clients along and promoted Kevin Rudd as the ‘guest of honour’. Rudd however saw his participation in this the dinner differently - as the result of a chance encounter with Burke brokered by friend, MP Graham Edwards.
Indeed Rudd didn’t even know there was an email circulating describing him as the ‘guest of honour’ even though he gave a 30 minute speech at the dinner on ALP problems. Nor did he ‘know’ that the then West Australian Premier had a ban in place preventing his ministers from talking to Burke.
Rudd’s claim is that Rudd wasn’t trying to win favours in the west for a leadership bid. This seems unbelievable given Burke’s role as a kingmaker in WA Labor.
How much is Rudd indebted to Burke? What could Burke say that would damage Rudd?
The discussion is shifting from Rudd’s lack of appropriate caution to his honesty and, what is galling, his blatant hypocrisy. His attacks on John Howard for meeting with businessmen contemplating a nuclear investment was bad enough – nuclear power is on the national agenda and the private sector must be involved. But yesterday Rudd went further:
Mr Rudd …. ‘I tell you what didn’t happen at these meetings and this dinner. I didn’t take Australia to war on the basis of a lie’.
What lie was that Kevin? I assume you are referring to the WMD that every country believed Saddam had and which you agreed he had. Yes you did!
Mr Rudd on Lateline 2004 ….‘there is no debate or dispute as to whether Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction. He does.’ (via Currency Lad).
Moreover, at the time Rudd was meeting Burke he was slamming the Liberal Party for ignoring ‘public warnings’ about Saddam’s abuse of the oil-for-food program. What about the ‘public warnings’ from the West Australian Premier regarding Burke?
While we await the next instalment in the Rudd-Burke saga Labor is getting away with murder in terms of their policy of rolling back Work Choices. This is a near complete capitulation to the ACTU. The Industrial Relations Commission will be re-empowered and the benefits of labour market liberalisation lost.
Howard should redirect his attacks to Labor’s foolish views on Iraq, industry policy, nuclear power and industrial relations. If he seeks to attack the dishonesty of Labor, attack the stench coming from the State Labor parties in NSW, Queensland, Victoria as well as WA. It is this enveloping stench that encouraged Rudd to dine with Burke in the first place. It is this stench derived from Labor's factional structure with kicks and paybacks that raises reasonable doubts about Labor’s ability to govern federally.