That weren't no DJ, that was hazy cosmic jive

It’s upside-down Down Under

Australia’s Labor Party hammered out a working coalition government last week (huzzah!), and so then came the naturally arduous task of cabinet building. In a highly surreal twist, Australia’s new Foreign Minister is apparently… ex-PM Kevin Rudd? The same fellow who was unceremoniously ousted as Prime Minister by Julia Gillard short months ago?

Rudd’s now got the awkward task of representing the government of his vanquisher, and he’s starting right away. He’ll be in Washington this week, then to the UN General Assembly on Gillard’s behalf. I don’t envy him the task, and am very curious as to why and how he came to accept the role. It’s glammy, but what a bizarre career trajectory.

I’m trying to imagine Paul Martin naming Jean Chrétien as Defence Minister in 2004, or Gordon Brown placing Blair as a Deputy Minister for Health in 2007. It just confirms to me: I don’t get Australia.

In other weird Aussie political job-hopping news: ex-Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett has been moved from Environment to Schools, Childhood and Youth. That’s also a demotion. But so was going from rock star to MP, I suppose.


Filed under: International, Politics, , , ,

2 Responses

  1. ijlrab says:

    Didn’t you know? The southern hemisphere is bizzaro world… Aussie politics has taken a strange turn of late. Our Greens party voted AGAINST carbon trading/tax legislation, effectively killing the careers of Rudd and Turnbull, the two (opposing) leaders who wanted it, leaving us with the debacle of an election we just suffered.

    Rudd’s appointment as foreign minister makes a weird sense – he’s the best face Australia has to the world (he did a few decent things as PM, and he speaks mandarin), and it will keep him busy and out of the country. You know what they say: keep your friends close and your enemies in China.

    As for Garrett… I have no excuses. Hey, at least we haven’t elected former Hollywood actors (yet)!

  2. polygonic says:

    I dread the notion of Prime Minister Mel Gibson….

    Interesting about the Greens stand on carbon tax – in British Columbia (the organic-yoghurt-consuming Canadian province of my upbringing) the BC NDP (mainstream left and effectively the “Green voice”) also opposed a carbon tax (which nevertheless was passed).

    It seemed counter-intuitive, but they saw the tax for what it was: a simple tax on petrol with zero indication of how the revenues would enable car drivers to avoid being car drivers. Any new commuter trains built? Any subsidised hybrid vehicles? There was none of it… so even “green policy” can be cocked up or ulterior, and actual Greens ought to call them on it.

    Shame it destroyed Kevin Rudd… but I supose FM is the coolest job in government.

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