September 20th, 2009 at 03:04am
News Limited papers today are carrying a story by Glenn Milne about Kevin Rudd’s latest outburst, and it’s rather interesting to see the various adaptions of it which are being run by the various editors of News Limited newspapers.
News.com.au is running the story from Melbourne’s The Sunday Herald Sun with the headline “PM Kevin Rudd swears at MPs over allowances”, Adelaide Now (Adelaide’s Sunday Mail) has the headline “Cranky Kev blasts MPs in @$%#! tirade”, while over at Sydney’s The Sunday Telegraph it’s “Rudd’s ‘f***ing’ rant at factions”.
The Adelaide and Sydney papers are running the same version of the story with minor alterations from the papers’ editors. The opening paragraph of the Adelaide edition reads:
KEVIN Rudd has had another expletive-laden brain snap – this time in front of a group of Labor’s faction bosses, including three women MPs.
Sydney is the same, except for using the term “brain explosion” rather than “brain snap”.
Anyhoo, the story…Kevin had another outburst, this time aimed squarely at his own parliamentarians.
The outburst on September 7, which shocked even the hardened ALP operatives who witnessed it, occurred after the faction leaders met in the Prime Minister’s Parliament House office to object to government plans to slash MPs printing allowances from $100,000 to $75,000 a year.
At the meeting were MPs Sharryn Jackson, Maria Vamvakinou and Senator Carol Brown, all from the Left faction and Senator Michael Forshaw, South Australian Senator Don Farrell and Senator David Feeney, from the Right.
Three of the MPs present put an initial case to the Prime Minister to retain the printing allowances, which the Government has decided to scrap after a report into parliamentary perks by the Commonwealth Auditor-General.
It was when Senator Feeney, a former Victorian State Secretary spoke up, that Mr Rudd “exploded”.
Mr Rudd then said: “I don’t care what you f—ers think!”
Singling out Senator Feeney, he said: “You can get f—ed”, before asking in regard to the printing allowance issue: “Don’t you f—ing understand?”
A much more detailed expletive-riddled verbal onslaught followed.
This is really a double-edged sword for Kevin Rudd. On the one hand, there are a lot of people who will identify with him as an “ordinary bloke” which will probably do his popularity a world of good in the short term, but more importantly it is another blow to the public image which Kevin and his PR team have worked hard to produce of a well-mannered diplomat with amazing negotiation and placating skills.
A lot of the credit for Kevin Rudd’s 2007 election victory belongs to his public image, and the fact that his public image is unravelling has to be a cause for concern…although as long as the opposition has a bigger concern in their rudderless leader Malcom Turnbull, Kevin’s job is almost certainly secure.