Monday, March 05, 2007

Rudd getting caught up in lies?

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.


Anonymous said...

Harry you say he is a convicted criminal but wish to take his word on it.
Let me tell you you need a minimum one month's notice to organise something like this not a week.

You are also assuming that Burke being a lobbyist leveraged an innocent dinner as one 'organised 'by himself.

Nor can you explain how two members of Bombers inner sanctum were there to organise numbers for Rudd.
Nor can you state why Rudd would talk on his leadership tilt ( which no-one had heard of at that stage) to businessmen not voting ALP politicians.

Finally you have to sayt Graeme Edwards is lying about all this. Remember He is possibly the most respected person in parliament.

Not thinking well Harry

Fred Argy said...

Harry I respect and enjoy reading your economic commentaries but your political commentarties are so blatantly partisan they really have no credibility. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Fred, A fair bit of this post was based on Laura Tingle's analysis in AFR this morning p4. I picked up the hypocrisy line regarding Iraq from CL (OK CL has clear political views) and on the AWB from Peter van Onselen in the AFR today (p. 63).

If I am partisan then so are others - Tingle is not generally described as such. Even The Age nmade similar complaints. But am I being partisan or am I offending your political priors?


Anonymous said...

I perceive Tingle to be left partisan - I was quite surprised to see how critical she was of Rudd (and the negative political commentary in the AFR overall).

Anonymous said...

Sinclair, I am surprise at the sensitivity of the left generally to criticism of Rudd's integrity. The facts speak for themselves and even Rudd acknowledges the foolishness of his actions.

But what galls me most is the hypocrisy that the left displays in relation to criticisms of Rudd.

The last few years have seen an ending stream of attacks on the deceit of John Howard - some even call him a 'Rodent'. Whatever JWH may or may not do his actions do not involve seeking personal advantage.

Rudd of course as the post points out has been a major source of such hypocritical attacks.


Fred Argy said...

I do not deny Rudd has made some mistakes and deserves criticism. But let us be balanced. In accusing Rudd of being ‘indebted’ to Burke (which is Howard’s claim) you have left some gaps in your logic which Anonymous has pointed to. I want to add two further comments.

First, the charge that Rudd has somehow offered future favours to Burke in exchange for political support is so serious it would, if even half true, require Rudd to resign. Rudd has now categorically denied it. If one believes him, as I do, the onus is back on Howard. Has he the right to character assassinate in this way without hard evidence? If he has hard evidence he should put up. If not, he should shut up (and even apologise). If he persists, he is a moral coward and a lesser person than I thought he was.

On Iraq, the big “lie” was not that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction but that they posed an imminent and direct threat to world security, that the UN inspectors could not deal with the problem and that only military intervention could deal with the problem. That was the lie.

Matt Canavan said...

" ... they posed an imminent and direct threat to world security, that the UN inspectors could not deal with the problem and that only military intervention could deal with the problem."

Fred, how is this a lie? It is a judgement call. It's like saying the weatherman 'lied' 'cause he predicted it would rain today.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Matt. I had already copied that quote to make exactly the same comment before I read your comment. Argy's comment is an abuse of the plain meaning of the English language. Shame on you Fred.

Earlier he said: "your political commentarties are so blatantly partisan they really have no credibility"

Pot, kettle, black Mr Argy.

Fred Argy said...

Deliberate manipulation of the flow of information in order to exaggerate the severity and imminence of the threat from WMD's and in order to give the incorrect impression that Saddam had links to Al Queda was being deceitful. Whether one chooses to call this "lying" or "prevarication" or "telling half truths", the bottom line is that we went to war on a falsehood.

Anonymous said...


I can tell you no-one in the medium to high echelons of the Defence forces thought Iraq posed a threat to almost any country because of the very poor state of their armed forces and very dated equipment.

Funny enough Howard never asked them for their opinion

Matt Canavan said...

Fred, I take your point but tit is much easier to prove lying about facts than lying about judgement calls.

And, anon, I thought the arguments weren't so much about Iraq's capabilities to attack but their ability to pass on nasty chemicals to others with more sophisticated delivery mechanisms.