Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Rudd to appear on Q & A

Australia's Foreign Minister and former PM Kevin Rudd is scheduled to appear as a guest on Q & A on ABCTV on Monday April 4th 2011.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rudd the cover story of today's Financial Review

"Subject to the views of my pre-selectors, I will contest the next election. I believe I have a contribution still to make to Australian political life."
- Kevin Rudd, Foreign Minister

Why Rudd just won't go away.
Pamela Williams
Financial Review. March 24th 2011 p.1,60-61.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A nice week for Rudd

This week has been a horrific week for the people of Libya and Japan, but a relatively good week for Australia's Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd. Today the Security Council of the UN "approved a resolution permitting "all necessary measures" to impose a no-fly zone, protect civilian areas and impose a ceasefire on government forces" in Libya, an action that Rudd has been tirelessly campaigning for.

Rudd prays no-fly zone comes in time
By Jeremy Thompson
ABC News

Rudd's interview with Tony Jones on Lateline on Wednesday the 16th of March 2011 about the very worrying situations in Japan and Libya was an example of Rudd in top form, quite something to see. It is nice to see that the Foreign Minister is getting back to (not completely) normal.

ABC iview News and Current Affairs

As they say, it takes all types to make a world, and I think there is wisdom in the observation that ABC journalist Annabel Crabb has made more than once - that Rudd often shines in a crisis:

"And while evidence exists to support the contention that the Foreign Minister is a deeply, ornately strange human being, it's certainly fair to say that if ever global circumstances could suit the characteristic oddities of a man whose very favourite thing is to sit up all night phone-stalking the members of the UN Security Council, then these are they."

Kevin, um, it seems, ah, we (shuffle) sort of, ah, owe you an apology
By Annabel Crabb
ABC News
The Drum

Kevin Rudd issued a denial the morning after

Australia's Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd has issued a denial regarding the accusations in Julian Assange's question for Australia's PM Julia Gillard, broadcast on the Q & A TV program last night.

Full transcript of Julian Assange's question to the Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard on Australian TV on Monday March 14th 2011

The TV show is Q & A, broadcast on the evening of Monday March 14th 2011 in Australia on ABC television, Australia's government-funded TV station. Julian Assange is shown in a non-live, edited video from Norfolk UK, where he is under house arrest. Assange is shown in a shot of his upper body. Shortly before the showing of the video of Assange PM Gillard had been telling the audience that the Australian government has been looking after Julian Assange in just the same way that it looks after any Australian who has gotten into legal trouble overseas. PM Gillard has just returned from an arse-kissing tour of the United States in which she made a speech to the US Congress that made the US House Speaker John Boehner cry, (which isn't really that amazing at all).

Julian Assange -

"Prime Minister, you just got back from Washington, but what Australian citizens want to know, is which country do you represent? Do you represent Australians and will you fight for Australian interests? Because it's not the first time that you or a member of your cabinet has been into a US government building and exchanged information. In fact, we have intelligence that your government has been exchanging information with foreign powers about Australian citizens working for WikiLeaks."

The shot then changes to a closer shot of Assange's head and shoulders. This is a pre-recorded, edited piece of video.

"So Prime Minister, my question to you is this; when will you come clean about precisely what information you have supplied to foreign powers about Australian citizens working or affiliated with WikiLeaks? And if you cannot give a full and frank answer to that question, should perhaps the Australian people consider charging you with treason?"

Assange delivered his question in the style of an evil genius from a James Bond movie issuing veiled threats (pretty much his usual style).

PM Julia Gillard -

I did not take a full transcript of her reply. She had a rather patronizing smile while listening to Assange's question, and stayed cheerful while addressing his question. She said:

"I honestly don't know what he is talking about."

She denied exchanging information about people at WikiLeaks. She admitted that "we" do sometimes exchange information with foreign powers in matters such as following up "transnational crimes". She also said:

"No one in the US raised with me Mr Assange, no one."

When she made this statement she did her characteristic exposed palms patting downward gesture, rather like the gesture that one might make to a dog or a toddler who was jumping up and getting out of control.

Some thoughts that come to my mind after viewing this are:

Assange possibly intended to add to the many minor controversies about Australia's high-profile Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd in the part of Assange's question about people nipping into US government buildings to leak information. Would this be a big deal if it were true? I guess it depends on the information.

What information might our government be receiving in return for leaking information to the yanks?

Is Assange issuing a threat to Gillard or Rudd or some other party?

Is WikiLeaks transforming from a whistleblowing organization into a blackmailing organization?

Link to Australian press story about Assange's question:

Q & A