The Prime Minister is on Top of Things.

Now it might just be me, which typically it usually is, but I am growing a tad tired of Kevin Rudd’s increasing tendency towards providing a running commentary on things that are so fundamentally irrelevant to his primary role of running the country.

While many people are worried about where their next pay packet is coming from and whether they can afford to pay the bills and feed the family, our little “prince of politics” is fannying about positively glistening with feigned outrage over matters that are usually constrained to the rightful domains of women’s magazines.

The little tit-for-tat exchange between Tracy Grimshaw and Gordon Ramsay earlier this week for example, was, apparently, of significant national importance to warrant the Prime Minister’s intervention in news bulletins that are currently making headline news around the world with peach cheeks declaring Gordon Ramsay “a new form of low life.“

Even the Deputy PM, Julia Gillard felt it necessary to voice her disgust in the escalating national security drama of “the chef and the show host” by adding:

“I understand from the publicity that Gordon Ramsay is a good chef,” Ms Gillard said. “I think perhaps what he should do is confine himself to the kitchen and make nice things for people to eat rather than make public comments about others.”

“Nice things to eat?” Well said Julia. Thanks for your contribution to this signficant issue of international current affairs.

As perhaps the nation’s two most important officeholders, I’m glad to see that the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister have their attention firmly focused on the issues that matter.

Sadly however, the matter doesn’t rest there.

In another startling revelation, this week Woman’s Day magazine published photographs of the Prime Minister’s wife Therese Rudd exercising in the gym. Big deal you might think.

Well, you’d be wrong. Once again traversing into the now familiar territory of Women’s rags turf, the PM started up again with more feigned disgust:

“Most women in Australia would feel that they should have some privacy when they go to the gym,” Mr Rudd said.

“If magazines choose to photograph people training at the gym through their cameras without their consent, well, I presume it’s a matter for those magazines.”

Feeling that the PM might be on to something with this new style of “new idea” commentary, the Opposition Leader, Sir Malcolm Turnbull went even further than Mr Rudd, describing the photos as an “unfortunate invasion of privacy”.

Clearly this is a matter of national significance that we should all be concerned about.

And just as you were beginning to wonder whether things couldn’t get any more absurd, they did.

Following criticism that his frontbench re-shuffle heralded a predominantly male line-up of factional heavyweights, the PM dismissed the claims with an unusual term “fair shake of the sauce bottle, mate.”

Kevin clearly thought he was onto a winner here, so much so, that he used the term three times during an interview on sky news.

In his defence, he is from Queensland, but is “fair shake of the sauce bottle” really the sort of thing that we want our nation’s highest elected office-holder to have beamed around the world as Australia’s take on issues of major political significance?

It seems the Kevin Rudd we know today is a far cry from the man we knew 18 months ago as Kevin 07.

But it’s nice to know he’s on top of the issues that really matter to ordinary Australians.

Alcopops Bill Takes Aim at Double Dissolution

In what could be described as a masterstroke of political tactics, the Federal Government is set to reintroduce its previously failed Alcopops Bill to Parliament.

The move will simultaneously paint the Opposition Leader, Malcolm Turnbull as an Obstructionist – a perception that is beginning to take shape in the public domain – as well as potentially bring on an early election if the Bill is once again knocked back.

The Australian reports that if the Liberal leader refuses to reverse his opposition to the $1.6 billion tax increase, Senate rejection of the bill could provide a constitutional trigger for a double dissolution of the parliament and a fresh election, depending on the nature of the bill and the timing involved.

While the Treasurer stressed that the Government was not planning an early election, his deliberate move to raise the possibility, combined with a savage attack on Mr Turnbull as obstructionist, heralded a marked shift in government tactics to paint the Opposition Leader as negative and out of touch.

As health groups applauded the Government’s push to revive its rejected tax increase, Mr Turnbull counter-attacked last night, saying the measure on so-called alcopops was a cynical tax grab and accusing Mr Swan of adopting the bullying tactics of a man unable to get his own way.

Family First senator Steve Fielding, whose vote was instrumental in sinking the first alcopops bill in March, said he would reject it again unless the Government agreed to ban alcohol advertising during television broadcasts of sport.

When the Senate rejects legislation twice with a three-month interval between each vote, the Government has the right to seek the Governor-General’s permission to dissolve parliament.

Asked about this yesterday, Mr Swan said: “Malcolm Turnbull might load the gun, but we certainly have no intention of firing it. What we want to do is put our legislation up into the Senate and have it passed.”

Mr Swan said Mr Turnbull had opposed a string of government initiatives, including the alcopops tax, a national broadband network, two economic stimulus packages (including the biggest school modernisation program in Australian history and cash payments to pensioners and carers) and new spending on hospitals.

The other side just want to be opportunistic and play politics with a serious measure that deals with a serious public health problem,” Mr Swan said.

“Mr Turnbull and the Liberals have been negative, they’ve been obstructionist.”

Mr Turnbull told The Australian last night he did not necessarily accept that the alcopops bill could be an election trigger, because the Constitution was very complex.

But he said he had no intention of supporting the bill and rejected the claim that he was being obstructionist. “This is what every bully says when he can’t get his own way,” Mr Turnbull said.

It will be interesting to see how this pans out and whether Fielding will repeat his last performance…

Govt Deceives Public Over Pulp Mill “Approval”

Yesterday, it was reported in The Australian that the Minister for the Environment Peter Garrett announced new conditions for the Gunns pulp mill project – effectively withholding final approval for a vital environmental impact management plan.

Gunns has until March 2011 to complete detailed hydrodynamic studies to prove that 64,000 tonnes of effluent to be released daily into Bass Strait will not harm marine life.

This means that final approval for the EIMP will not occur for at least a further 26 months. Continue reading

Rudd’s Staff making own WorkChoices

Recent reports suggest Kevin Rudd’s staff are leaving “in droves” due to the PM’s unrelenting work ethic:

THE pace of the 24/7 Government has taken its toll. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has lost about 40 per cent of all new appointments to his private office since last December, and his deputy, Julia Gillard, has lost almost 50 per cent.

Continue reading