It appears that no matter who leads the Labor Party, whether in Government or Opposition, the media always manage to dredge up some mud to throw at them.
When Rudd took over the leadership in 2006 they went into a frenzy over the story about him visiting a strip club in New York years earlier, or that he lunched with former WA Premier Brian Bourke. Bourke was painted to be evil, a disgraced person, therefore Rudd was not a worthy Prime Minister because, gulp, he had dined with him.
The Government at the time, led by John Howard, naturally chimed in. Howard was producing dirt files quicker than he was producing policies. Senior managers in my department were asked to gather as much mud as they could on Rudd’s wife, Therese Rein, who had had dealings with the department through her business interests.
Then there was Julia Gillard. Just look at how she was treated. Her achievements as Prime Minister were less important than who she slept with 17 years ago. And of course she was a ‘commie’ because she was a member of the union in her university days. The list of her alleged crimes of the past was endless, with each entry encouraging and attracting another mud chucking session.
She also had to cope with being labelled a back stabbed for replacing Rudd, aided of course by faceless men. Tags that never left them.
Rudd’s return was met with reminders that he was not popular with Gillard’s backers. He was a psychopath, if you were to believe the media.
There could be another election in six months if Abbott calls a DD. Whoever leads Labor going into it needs to be squeaky clean or the media will go in for the kill. If he is one of the so-called faceless men he’ll be murdered for it. If he or she was openly a Rudd or Gillard backer they’ll be exposed as someone who helped destroy the other’s leadership.
In a nutshell, the media will screw them on whatever flimsy evidence they can dig up. God help them if, at some time in the past, they had provided a personal referee for a priest later charged with pedophilia of had a history of pissing in shoes in Canberra restaurants, among other noteworthy ‘çrimes’.
At the moment there aren’t too many people in the party who’d be safe from the mud chucking. But anything will do. Kissing the wrong baby in 1985 or dumping a girlfriend as a teenager would be enough get the sharks circling.
In your opinion, given my assumption that the media would want political blood, who could thus be ruled out as the person to lead Labor at the next election?