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Rudd right not to run

  • 22 March 2013

There's been a lot of messy politics in Canberra this week.

A complex series of bills was introduced to Parliament regarding media regulation without any cabinet scrutiny. The bills could not be debated in caucus because any suggestion of amendment would have been seen as a threat to the Prime Minister's leadership.

The Government said the legislation had to be passed within a week, and that no compromises would be considered. Going down to the wire, the Government then turned and tried to cut a deal with the Independent Bob Katter who wanted changes to the legislation. Yesterday, the key bills were abandoned. In short, the legislative process was thwarted at every turn. Government was proved to be dysfunctional and the parliamentary processes were perverted.

All this took place against the backdrop of irreversible division and antipathy within the Labor Party.

On Tuesday, Kevin Rudd sent a clear message: 'Unlike others who have used the phrase, when I say I will not challenge for the leadership, I mean it. That means Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or beyond.' Yesterday morning's Australian reported that 'Rudd is resisting pressure from supporters to mount a challenge and is adamant he will stick to his promise, made after he lost a leadership ballot to Gillard in February last year, not to challenge the Prime Minister'.

When Parliament resumed yesterday morning, everyone was on edge. In a rare show of bipartisanship, the House of Representatives adopted an apology to Australian mothers who had suffered the fate of having their babies forcibly adopted. Most members of parliament sat respectfully listening to the speech of Stephen Irons, the Liberal Member for Swan, who had himself been a ward of the state. He started speaking at 12.58pm.

You could hear a pin drop as he recounted, 'As a six-month-old baby, I along with two of my siblings was removed from my family due to financial circumstances. We went to stay in institutions. At that point, I was separated from my other two siblings. Growing up in the Irons household, I often thought about my family — "Where were they? What did they look like? Was I the same as them? How many of them were there?"

'I used to walk into shopping centres or football games and wonder if my brothers or sisters might also be in the same place I was and how close they might be. But I knew I would not know