Monday, February 18, 2008


The Prime Minister admits to a lack of insight:
Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson today asked Mr Rudd whether he endorsed Foreign Minister Stephen Smith's comment about Mr Burke.

"That he (Mr Smith) had not spoken to Mr Burke, a convicted criminal, for more than a decade and wished more people had followed that example," Dr Nelson said.

Mr Rudd said "with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight" he would not have met with Mr Burke.

"As I've said on many occasions, I got that wrong".

Mr Burke has been the subject of an inquiry by the WA Corruption and Crime Commission.

Mr Rudd said Mr Smith, as the Labor Member for Perth, had the benefit of insight into politics in the west.

"I recognise his better insight on these questions," Mr Rudd told parliament.

"I wish I had that insight myself at the time.

"I take full responsibility for my actions."
What exactly does Mr Rudd mean? Is he saying he was unaware, despite extensive press coverage, of Burke's tainted history? If so, he's ignorant of events known by even casual observers of domestic politics. Or is he saying he knew Burke is a shady character he shouldn't have dealings with? Regardless, Mr Rudd was insightful enough to realize pissing Burke off wasn't a good idea. Thus Mr Rudd, apparently realizing having dinner with Burke could have significant repercussions, seeks to keep Burke at arm's length without alienating him:
Dear Brian,

I'm really sorry to do this but I am being stuffed around a bit by DFAT for the Hong Kong Ministerial WTO meeting.

They told me this morning that they now want the whole delegation in town on Monday. They may yet change their minds again – I'm not sure.

Rather than withdraw from the dinner at the last minute, could I be rude and put it off until next year – giving you and the invitees time to rearrange your Monday night. I would prefer to do this then have to pull out later in the week when DFAT finally makes it mind up.

Is that OK? Sorry to do this – out of my hands.

This sickeningly sycophantic email to a disgraced politician speaks volumes about Mr Rudd's character and does not bode well for his tenure as Prime Minister – it's Mr Rudd's questionable judgement and not lack of insight that's the problem.


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