Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rudd-eeee Hell!

I have just heard on the radio news that the Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, has been dumped as leader and replaced by the Deputy PM.

Having lived on two occasions in Australia, in the late 1970s for 13 months and for about 8 years in the late 1980s to early 1990s, I know that the ALP (Australian Labor Party) is ruthless with their leaders. They have a history of putsches and purges. They circle like sharks in the water at the slightest weakness. I'd rather surf Sydney's notorious Shark Island than be an ALP leader!

Rudd didn't even complete one term as PM. He won the election with immense popularity, but has stumbled recently over immigration and mining. Aussies don't like foreigners boating up to their shores and trying to get a piece of the Lucky Country. They are one of the most multicultural countries on the planet, but they still cling to very Euro-centric ideas of Australia where the white man is king. They fear Asians will swamp their society and they like to sweep their dealings with indigenous Aboriginal Australians under the carpet.

Having lots of desert, the country is a miner's paradise and mining employs a lot of people. Despite the fact that mining is usually an exploitative process run by huge multinational companies which siphon a lot of the economic benefits offshore, Aussies are very sensitive to anyone buggering around with mining. To quote that wonderful Australian rock band, Midnight Oil, on the title track of their album, "Blue Sky Mining": "Nothing's as precious as a hole in the ground."

So a proposal to start taxing mining profits was probably Ruddy's death knell.

Goodbye, Ruddy, you came across like the class nerd, but you seemed like a decent bloke with a bit of a moral compass. I don't think they should have jettisoned you so callously.

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