February 2nd 2008

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: TRANSPORT: End of the line for rail freight?

FINANCE: Sub-prime mortgage crisis paralyses credit system

EDITORIAL: East Timor's new beginning

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Economic storm facing new government

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: A stern test for multiculturalism

CULTURE AND CIVILISATION: Family values overlooked in the market-place

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Reading the signs for the New Year (Through a hedge backwards...) / Hijacking foreign aid / Sub-prime lending crisis / Was Hitler's defeat inevitable?

AFGHANISTAN: Confronting terrorists and the drug trade

WOMEN UNDER ISLAM: Silence of the "sisterhood"

EDUCATION: The threat to our literary heritage

OPINION: Who is the real Kevin Rudd?

Global warming? Stop and think! (letter)

Flaws in our voting system (letter)

Who is running the country? (letter)

Barack Obama on foreign despots (letter)

Alternative to capitalism and communism? (letter)

AS THE WORLD TURNS: Juvenile crime in Britain / Feminist magazine's anti-Israel bias

GOD AND CAESAR: Selected Essays on Religion, Politics, and Society by Cardinal George Pell

BOOKS: CULTURAL AMNESIA: Notes in the Margin of My Time, by Clive James

THE TORCH AND THE SWORD: A History of the Army Cadet Movement in Australia, by Craig A. Stockings

Books promotion page

Who is the real Kevin Rudd?

by Brian Peachey

News Weekly, February 2, 2008
Christians who voted for the Rudd Government will be betrayed before long, argues Brian Peachey.

The opinion piece, "Four factors that have shaped the new PM" by Jeffry Babb (News Weekly, December 22, 2007), was cobbled together from Kevin Rudd's parliamentary maiden speech and questionable promotional material distributed by Rudd himself and the spin-doctors of the Labor Party.

I have read Rudd's maiden speech and much more. I have also questioned his veracity on many occasions and do so now regarding his claim - and therefore Jeffry Babb's claim - that, following his father's death in January 1969, his mother "was left to rely on bleak charity of the time to raise a family".

Embellished story

Kevin was the last of the four Rudd children at home when his father died. On various occasions he has embellished the story by saying that they were evicted from the share-farm and were forced to live in a car. The truth is they were permitted to stay on the property until July when a new share-farmer would come to manage the 120 milking-cows.

During that period Margaret Rudd would have received a widow's pension and gratefully accepted the Marist Brothers' offer to waive the fees for Kevin to board at the prestigious college at Ashgrove, Brisbane. She returned to her former profession and worked as a live-in nurse at Mater Hospital. A short time later she purchased a house in Nambour using money from her husband's life insurance.

Babb states: "Four factors shaped Kevin Rudd's life" and "helped lift him from the obscurity of a Queensland farm to the Lodge". One of the factors was said to be "his religion". There is no doubt that the Christian persona he vigorously projected to the electorate would have gained many votes by softening the secular libertarian stance of the majority of Labor MPs and senators.

It is extremely rare to find a practising Catholic converting to Anglicanism for theological reasons. Some have said the reason Rudd preferred the Church of England was because it had fewer moral constraints. That may be so. But Rudd, being a politician with a driving ambition to become Prime Minister, could not resist using his church-going to great advantage with numerous media shots of his attending Anglican services. He also took communion at St Joseph's Catholic Church in Subiaco, Perth, during the requiem mass for the journalist Matt Price. One commentator said that he campaigned with a foot in both camps.

The recent election was in fact close, not a landslide, which illustrates how pivotal was Rudd's projected Christian image. Kevin Rudd and the ALP owe their election victory to just 0.1 per cent of the vote, after fewer than some 12,000 people across nine electorates decided the result. Only 12,000 people out of 13.6 million enrolled voters decided the outcome. The overall swing to Labor was an impressive 5.6 per cent, which was mainly gained in safe and marginal seats already held by the party.

Rudd's Christian convictions were brought into question during the debate on the Therapeutic Goods Amendment Bill 2005, related to the abortifacient drug RU-486. He did not participate in the debate but, on February 16, 2006, he voted for the bill.

He told ABC reporter Jennifer Macey: "For me, and for the reasons I have outlined, the life of the unborn is of great importance. And having tested these reasons with men and women of faith, and men and women of science, that I've decided not to oppose this [RU-486] bill".

It is important that News Weekly readers know that 18 of the 20 members of Rudd's Cabinet voted for the RU-486 bill, and that the current deputy prime minister, Julia Gillard, when Shadow Minister for Health, was the seconder of both the RU-486 bill and the November 2006 bill to overturn restrictions on stem-cell research.


My reading and close observing of the recent election incline me to agree with the Murdoch journalist, Piers Akerman, who wrote late last year: "My main concerns about his [Rudd's] character relate to what I perceive to be an unalloyed ruthlessness, a lack of his loyalty to anything but his own short-term political ambitions and his projection of a carefully constructed image that has little or nothing to do with Rudd the man." ("Rudd is not fit to rule", The Daily Telegraph, Sydney, October 14, 2007).

My prediction is that Christians who voted for the Rudd Government will be betrayed three times before the cock crows by the end of its first term - with the enactment of legalised euthanasia, homosexual unions and a human rights charter.

- Brian Peachey was WA state secretary of the Democratic Labor Party 1957-1964, and author of The Burkes of Western Australia (1992).

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