RUDD INTEGRITY ON THE LINE
Kevin Rudd could yet pay a vary high price for cozying up to Brian Burke:
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's political honeymoon has been hit by new allegations concerning his relationship with Brian Burke.If this story continues to develop along these lines our Prime Minister might be making another apology; a very personal one.
It is now claimed that while he was Opposition foreign affairs spokesman -- with an eye on the party leadership -- Mr Rudd engaged in sustained email exchanges with the former WA premier regarding his ambitions.
When the allegations were put to Mr Burke he declined to comment. However, The Sunday Times has been told by a very reliable source that Mr Burke has retained all copies of his email exchanges with Mr Rudd.
If the claims are true they would raise further questions about Mr Rudd's integrity. It's understood at least two people, apart from Mr Burke, have seen the emails.
When the initial storm over Mr Rudd's contacts with Mr Burke blew up in March last year, Mr Rudd admitted to phone contacts with Mr Burke and to having met him three times.
But he painted the contacts as almost accidental -- largely social and a result of a shared friendship with former WA federal Labor MP Graham Edwards.
Mr Rudd never addressed the question of email contact. But he specifically denied that he tried to enlist Mr Burke's support for his tilt at the Labor leadership, citing Mr Burke's longstanding friendship with former Opposition leader Kim Beazley.
"At no time had I ever asked Mr Burke to support me to remove Kim Beazley and be replaced by me -- never, ever, ever, ever,'' Mr Rudd said at the time. "That's just an absurd allegation.''
But the source, who spoke to The Sunday Times on condition of anonymity, said Mr Rudd's engagement with Mr Burke was much more subtle; that rather than making a direct pitch for the former WA premier's outright backing, Mr Rudd instead asked for advice concerning his ambitions.
The advice he requested, said the source, was aimed at drawing on Mr Burke's experience to "ask how he (Burke) would go about mounting a leadership campaign if he was in Rudd's shoes''.