Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Days of Christmas - Number 10 - Kevin Rudd's Report Card for 2009

This is a bit like my school reports as a kid: Kevin could do better if he tried. In fact Kevin could do better without even trying.
This has been a pretty disappointing year for those of us who had some hope for this government. Very disappointing indeed. Here's how I read it:
  1. The internet nanny filter: Kevin, you and Stephen Conroy just need to get over this. I WILL vote against you if you implement this as you are proposing to do. I know I'm not alone by a long chalk. Let's agree on a few things first: paedophillia and other similar material is abhorrent but you don't need a net filter to get rid of that. You have ample laws in place now to stamp on that stuff. As for the rest of it, you would do much better if you looked hard at the violence in films and television. You want to filter out sex on the internet but it isn't sex that does harm, it's violence that does harm and the biggest feed of unacceptable violence is in television, film and video. Change the censorship laws to get stricter on violence and you will do a lot for society. As for censoring the internet (and it's not just sex you want to censor), sorry that's like China. We don't like it when they do it and we don't like it when you propose it. Beyond the obvious we are big people and able to decide for ourselves. Bluntly, we don't trust you, we don't trust you not to filter valid dissenting content like China or Iran do. We don't trust any politician with that sort of power. Spend your effort elsewhere not on this.
  2. The intervention in the Northern Territory. Fail, Kevin, fail. The approach that the previous government took was one of command and control. You have followed that approach. You have insisted on taking control of community resources in return for action. You don't need to. What you need to do is things like working with the Territory government to get the housing money they have already, actually doing some good. You need to do something sustainable about health in these communities and you need to do it now. To much worrying about fighting for control and not enough action. Apologies are important but real, meaningful action needs to follow and it hasn't;
  3. Rudd the International Statesman. It's a fine line this. We like to see Australia playing a meaningful role in world affairs; we like to see meaningful international influence. We hate hubris. Watching you through the course of the year I felt that you slipped from playing a sensible and competent role on the international stage to displaying unacceptable hubris. Copenhagen was the worst of it;
  4. So let's talk about Copenhagen. Watching from the outside the appearance that we got was that a small group of nations, with Australia in the vanguard, tried to scam a deal and shove it through. You failed to get a meaningful deal and in so doing you appear to have created damage to our relationships with other countries, not the least being Pacific nations. Not good enough, we expected more and you promised more. The key issue was hubris in my view, an excess of it;
Kevin, those are the main things we want you to work on. Next year is a very important year, a lot rides on 2010 for you. You'll probably scrape through but you have that unpleasant fellow Abbott chasing you hard and I think he'll do a fair bit of catching up to you if he works hard. He won't catch you completely but he might give you a fright.
Whilst you're at it do something about the refugee issues that you've stuffed up. There are other things you'll have to work at but that will do for now.

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