After three weeks holidaying in remote parts of in the UK and Switzerland, I returned stunned to find few in Canberra are prepared to face the truth about Kevin Rudd.
Rudd is a very talented person and one of the best Australian political campaigners, but these talents do not extend to being a good prime minister.
This combination and the fact that Rudd could conceivably fight the next election as the incumbent prime minister adds a danger to the future of Australia and particularly to the business and investment communities.
Rudd’s colleagues dumped him just under three years ago because he simply was not up to the job and the cabinet was in chaos.
The mistake Julia Gillard and her colleagues made in June 2010 was not to explain this chaos to the Australian people who had elected him. To many Australians he remained a hero.
As it turned out Julia Gillard made her own set of mistakes and those mistakes mean that she is going to be minced at the next election (Seven deadly Gillard sins, April 30 and The comprehensive list of Labor’s lost chances, May 2).
In the current debate among government members Rudd’s past inability to run a cabinet and the country is often put aside, while his campaigning ability is seen by many as the only force that can avoid an ALP electoral disaster that might destroy the party. Nevertheless, few government members want him to actually win office at the election because he is not the person to do the job.
While in 2010 Julia Gillard did not explain to Australia why Rudd could not be allowed to continue to run the country as prime minister, the truth came out in February 2012 when Rudd challenged Gillard for the leadership.
Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan described Rudd as "dysfunctional". And Tony Burke revealed that the stories about Rudd’s temperament and Rudd’s inability to make decisions were true.
The Coalition has these 2012 statements by Rudd’s former colleagues on video and will use them in their campaign against Rudd should Rudd replace Gillard as prime minister.
Some government members believe Rudd has learned his lessons.
Bill Shorten, who played a big role in the dumping of Rudd, is not prepared to stand against Julia Gillard because he would then have two sets of blood on his hands which would make him very hard to elect as prime minister in the elections of 2016 or 2019.
I have always believed that when Julia Gillard realised that her mistakes made her unelectable as prime minister, as a professional politician, she would step down and that Bill Shorten would get the job (Why Shorten can be Labor’s next PM, February 19).
So far I have been wrong but I still believe there is at least a chance that this will happen.
Footnote: I spent most of the last three weeks on a Botanica small ship cruise around the UK. Most of the places we visited were via Zodiac and so out of the way of mass tourists. But there was a day in Dublin where I had the chance to talk with ordinary Irish people. I discovered that they have stopped blaming others for their plight. They blame themselves for being so stupid and borrowing vast sums for crazy adventures. Recognising a problem is the first step overcoming it. Julia Gillard and her team have not yet realised the mistakes that they made are the reasons why they are so unpopular.