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The ever-annoying Kevin Rudd carbon tax factoid

If it is true that venom has medicinal uses, the leading figures of the Australian Labor Party must be the healthiest people on Earth.

Entertaining stuff, but one thing keeps bugging me. In about half the articles giving background information on Kevin Rudd I read, I see something like this:

When Gillard, then deputy prime minister, moved against him in 2010, she did so against a backdrop of internal disquiet and profound electoral disappointment.

Rudd had back-flipped spectacularly on an important pre-election pledge to introduce a carbon tax and his sky-high popularity with voters had slumped. (One of the major figures who urged him to listen to the mining and business lobby and jettison that promise was the deputy who would later depose him.)

You would think from that that the righteous planet-protective wrath of the Australian people was directed at Rudd for his failure to fulfil his pledge to introduce a tax (actually an emissions trading regime) intended to retard global warming. Cobblers. He had backed out of laying the tax because the voters loathed the idea. In fact so unpopular was the proposed carbon tax that it also resulted in the ousting of the opposition leader, Malcolm Turnbull, from leadership of the Liberal party, he having offered bipartisan support for the scheme. While it is true that voters do despise retreat and will punish a politician who backs down even when they howled for him to do so, the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme was only politically attractive in the sense that the song of the siren was attractive to Odysseus. Any Australian political leader who began to find that tune catchy had better hope that his Parliamentary colleagues had tied his bindings firmly and plugged well their own ears.

(Ears. Plugged. Rudd. Don’t think that thought too late.)

Nor has the curse abated since then. One big reason for Julia Gillard’s unpopularity is that she in turn “back-flipped spectacularly on an important pre-election pledge” not to introduce a carbon tax. I studied Australian politics at the University of Tim Blair’s Blog and I know that much. Why doesn’t the Guardian?

Robin Horbury at Biased BBC made a similar observation about a BBC story in July 2010. The link to the BBC story is dead, but, trust me, it was one of many.

Added later: another story from the Guardian exhibiting the same symptoms:

Ms Gillard’s once famously popular predecessor as Labor leader, Kevin Rudd, lost first that popularity and then his leadership partly because he failed to steer through the legislation he had promised to deal with what had earlier been called “the greatest moral, economic and social challenge of our time.

11 comments to The ever-annoying Kevin Rudd carbon tax factoid

  • Alisa

    Does ear wax have medicinal uses too?

  • Gareth

    From the Guardian:

    Rudd had back-flipped spectacularly on an important pre-election pledge to introduce a carbon tax and his sky-high popularity with voters had slumped.

    Correlation is not causation. They have attributed his slump with the u-turn.(Not a back flip – you end up facing the same way with a back flip.) Do they not engage their brain when writing this kind of thing?

    This was plain enough at the time. How has the media so misunderstood it in retrospect now?

  • Chris

    Rudd’s slump from his sky-high popularity had more to do with people returning to their usual party-based voting intentions after 2 years. He went from an approval in the 60s to the low 50s when he was dumped.

    Think about that. He was still far more popular on a two-party-preferred basis than his opponent, yet was dumped. His successor (usurper?) has consistently (for the past year) polled in the mid 40s on the same TTP basis, which would indicate an almost unprecedented election loss.

    Consider this graph(Link). It charts the number of people who indicate an intention to vote for the Coalition (ie, against the current Labor party). Apart from the dramatic blip in female voters around the time of Gillard’s elevation to the top job, the trend is very worrying for the Labor party.

  • Rudd is hated by the people who have worked with him like nobody else I am familiar with, practically in the world. He makes normally mild mannered people froth at the mouth. The truth is that the MPs of the Australian Labor Party used his fall in popularity as an excuse to dump him, which they wanted to do so much that they were almost willing to lose the election over it. It is really quite amazing.

  • Paul Marks

    I used to be interested (very interested) in whether BBC/Guardian types believed their own lies (in which case they would, technically, no longer be lies).

    However, it longer interests me. One can not reach them by rational argument or by pointing out basic facts (such as the Carbon Tax being opposed by the vast majority of Australians).

    Nor is it the official left (such as the BBC) the “free market” establishment (the Economist magazine and so on) are basically the same (to them also the Carbon Tax is automatically good – so…..).

    Basically a certain class of people went to school and university and instead of thinking to themselves “what a horrible lot of nonsense, on every political matter, the teachers are comming out with” they “internalized” it.

    It is part of them – and they serve it.

    Whether or not they actually know that the fact contradict their ideology no longer really interests me.

    As they do not just serve the ideology (of which the environment stuff is only a part) the ideology is them – they are just an extension of it.

    Rather like a hive mind.

    “But that means you do not regard them as fully human”.

    No I do not.

  • Shaun Bourke

    In politics, there is nothing more enjoyable than being able to put one’s feet up and watch the intranecine warfare within a Socialist based grouping such as the Australian Labor Party.

    The current ‘fight to the death’ looks like it will eclipse the bloodbath of the mid 50s, that left the ALP in the electoral wilderness for over 20 years.

    With a bit of extra luck this time round, the ALP will destroy itself………

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    There is no need to make a big thing out of this- we just need something to watch until our southern hemisphere sports season starts up soon! Then I can watch my Sharks team choke after a few early wins, same as last year!

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    Late-breaking news- the Real Julia has won. That Ruddy man kevin will go to the backbenches where he can plot what to do if Julia doesn’t improve, no doubt, whilst expressing loyalty of an undying kind to the leadership. Soap opera over, for a while…..

  • J.M. Heinrichs

    According to a study from the late-60s/early-70s, ear wax can be a useful shark repellent.


  • 'Nuke' Gray

    If ever you wanted a modern example of ‘Cut off your nose to spite your face,” this is it! Rudd is loathed in the Labor party, so they don’t want him as P.M. BUT the Aussie public would prefer Rudd to lead the party! They might even win the next election if they did! They prefer to lose under unpopular Gillard than win! And all because Rudd wouldn’t toady to factions or play party games, preferring to micro-manage everything.