QandA Scorecard: A very Ruddy farewell

3 September 2013

Written by: Liam Quinn

As the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end. With such famed words at the fore, we bid adieu to our #QandAScorecard.

Fittingly, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was the final combatant to get the snark-filled treatment, and even more fittingly, he may be changing vocation in the near future also. La Trobe University journalism lecturer Erdem Koç makes his scorecard debut, unable to resist the chance to help burn this sucker to the ground.  The scorecard, that is.

But, without further ado, the results.

RUUUUUUUDYPrime Minister, Kevin Rudd




Liam Quinn: It’s hard to imagine a scenario our Prime Minister would enjoy more than this: a single spotlight, an hour to spew his dulcet tones into the ABC studio – only to be interrupted by those pesky voters and the Silverfox, and ultimately the chance to perhaps savour the final remaining morsel remaining on his leadership plate.

Erdem, this hour was the perfect summation of Rudd’s immensely divisive nature with the “Australian public”. Those who march to the drum Kev beats would blush at the chance to watch their preferred PM – and potential Twitter follower – in his absolute element; charismatic, chatty and just the right blend of “dad-humour”.

Those less inclined to side with the Prime Minister were assumedly hurling abuse at TV screens as our blustering, boisterous, blemish of a leader spending too much time enjoying the sound of his own voice, and his status as a celebrity politician.

With such a clear appeal dichotomy established, Erdem, I slumped into my middle-class sofa – popcorn at the ready.

Ultimately, it was something of a fizzer for mine.

With no one really in the position to challenge KRudd’s assertions, the program descended into an hour-long ALP talking points promo.

Erdem, you might disagree – usually how it goes – but I couldn’t help but feel this would’ve been a more effective exercise in the early days of the campaign. Last night, in the likely dying embers of Labor’s time in leadership, most voters had either already made their decision, or were leaning heavily in one direction. With all due respect, the budgie-smuggler wearing horse has already bolted.

It’s easy to imagine Rudd lingering in the studio as the lights faded to a low dim; elongated his final bow at the centre of Australia’s political stage.

So long Kev, we hardly knew ya.

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Erdem Koç:  Interestingly, the best part of the whole night came nearly at the end with the question on gay marriage. Thought Rudd did really, really well addressing this topic. When asked why as a Christian he believed homosexuals can marry, he reverted to other, more scary elements of Christianity, and gave slavery as the example. The applause from the audience said it all.

I watched the program with my mum, who’s an undecided voter in a marginal seat.  English is her second-language. At some point, she turned to me and said: “What is Kevin Rudd actually saying?” I couldn’t answer the question.

And herein lies the problem.  Most commentators were critical of Julia Gillard’s ability to talk “directly to the people” and get her message through. But what was the message?

This remains the problem with Rudd and Labor, and this shone through loud and clear last night.

But, weirdly, this is in direct contrast to how well he performed at the campaign launch on Sunday.  I think he delivered a brilliant speech, focusing on what “Labor governments do”.

I’m not sure I agree so much on the “ALP talking points” comment you make, Liam.  I thought Tony Jones did well to push him on issues like the $70 billion black hole claim he made, saying that’s simply not correct.

Something tells me that even if Rudd loses on Saturday – as the polls are indicating he very well will – this is not his “final bow” as you claim.

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Liam Quinn is a third-year Bachelor of Journalism student at La Trobe University, and the politics editor of upstart. You can follow him on Twitter: @Quinn_LP

Erdem Koç is a lecturer in journalism at La Trobe University. You can follow him on Twitter:@erdemkoc