Bruce Hawker is a leading campaign manager with 30 years experience advising leaders in business and politics. As MD of Campaigns & Communications, Bruce manages crises and plans and executes communications campaigns.

Rudd is the Libs' sum of all fears

This article originally appeared in today's Daily Telegraph.

In recent days there has been a discernible rise in aggressive anti-Rudd rhetoric by those most concerned about a return to the Labor leadership by the former prime minister.

This is despite the fact that Kevin Rudd has made it clear there will be no leadership challenge. The good ship Rudd set sail a year ago when the Labor caucus came down to the dock to wish him bon voyage.

Liberals and their supporters, however, are most anxious about a Rudd return and it's showing in the volume and vehemence of the articles now appearing in the press.

Bill Woods' piece in The Daily Telegraph this week descended into attacks on both his record and his character. It attacked Rudd's handling of the global financial crisis, his apology to the stolen generations and the NBN.

In fact Kevin Rudd took decisive and immediate action to protect Australia from the worst effects of the biggest international economic downturn since the Great Depression. Furthermore, while banks were collapsing like a house of cards all around the world, not one bank closed its doors in Australia.

This didn't happen by chance, it took careful planning and a targeted stimulus program built around the greatest school modernisation program in this country's history. Credit where credit's due, Bill.

The success of this program was in the economic results - unemployment stayed low at about 5 per cent, keeping it at a lower average level than under John Howard. Add to that the lowest deficit and debt ratios in the western world and the retention of the Triple A credit rating and you have some idea of the magnitude of the Rudd government's achievements.

The campaign against Rudd also always includes an unhealthy dose of NBN bashing.

Let's not forget that during the Howard years there were no less than 18 plans put forward to deliver high speed internet coverage across the country. However, only people in big cities stood to benefit. Labor's NBN delivers for rural and regional communities.

Rudd's plan - now being rolled out - had a vision to deliver super fast internet connections right across the country, linking schools, hospitals and businesses wherever they are situated.

His lasting legacy will be the realisation of his belief in a fair go for all.

The lowest blow by the Rudd demonisers is to trivialise his apology to the stolen generation. John Howard stubbornly refused to apologise, despite the pain felt by those who had their children ripped from their arms in raids on Aboriginal communities over many years.

Rudd had no idea how strong the backlash against him would be. As it turned out, it proved to be one of this nation's proudest moments. Since then the government has negotiated a national agreement on closing the gap as Australians overwhelmingly agree that something serious must be done to end indigenous poverty.

I would never seek to prevent the Rudd detractors from putting their views in print. However, it's a real shame that they cannot bring themselves to admit that he did more in just three years to protect and advance the living standards of Australians from all backgrounds than generations of Liberal governments managed to achieve.


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