Re­al­ity of Rudd’s sum­mit fail­ure still fresh a decade on

The Courier-Mail - - OPINION -

OH DEAR. I’ve up­set Kevin Rudd, and on the 10th an­niver­sary to­day of his most laugh­able stunt.

The former prime min­is­ter is fu­ri­ous that I mocked his “Aus­tralia 2020” sum­mit, where 1000 of our “best and bright­est” were sum­moned to our Par­lia­ment House to tell Rudd how to run the country.

This was a fas­cist vi­sion – of care­fully hand-picked “rep­re­sen­ta­tives” cheer­ing on the Great Leader in do­ing what he al­ways wanted.

But what re­ally an­gered Rudd were these words of mine: “As for big, new and good ideas, there was not one which Rudd ever en­acted, nor which any­one re­mem­bers.”

Rudd (pic­tured) wrote a stinker, typ­i­cally rich in abuse, and named four things he thought met my test.

“For the record,” he said, “the 2020 Sum­mit rec­om­mended the Na­tional Dis­abil­ity In­sur­ance Scheme, the Aus­tralian Civil­ian Corps, ABC for Kids, and the Or­gan and Tissue Author­ity.”

Oh dear. How Rud­desque to list the NDIS above all.

True, the NDIS is a big idea – a $22 bil­lion-a-year idea at last es­ti­mate. The NDIS is so vast that a Gold­man Sachs anal­y­sis es­ti­mated it cre­ated as many as 50,000 jobs last year, plus 1950 at the NDIS HQ. And what a honey pot. More than 50 lawn-mow­ing and gar­den­ing com­pa­nies were re­ported last year to have signed up as providers, to ser­vice clients in­clud­ing even the able-bod­ied par­ents of chil­dren with autism.

So, yes, here was a big idea from Rudd’s sum­mit, but not nec­es­sar­ily a good one. Nor was it new. The Whit­lam govern­ment first came up with the idea – how omi­nous – although it took Rudd to fi­nally agree that this megabu­reau­cracy would do more good than harm.

And what of the Aus­tralian Civil­ian Corps? Sure, it’s nice that it keeps a list of up to 500 civil­ians pre­pared to help tackle dis­as­ters over­seas, but is this se­ri­ously a big idea?

Nor was the ABC’s TV chan­nel for chil­dren new, big or much good.

ABC for Kids was first launched seven years be­fore the sum­mit.

Cash then dried up, but trust Rudd to open the purses again in his great spendathon that started this un­bro­ken record of 10 big deficits – and count­ing.

Yet a decade later, there Rudd fumes, un­able to tell the dif­fer­ence be­tween suc­cess and fail­ure.

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