How Rudd’s vanity corrupted our national priorities

Posted on Sat 11/20/2010 by

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Andrew BoltBy Andrew Bolt

Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was deposed as Prime Minister in what amounted to a Party Room coup, and he was replaced by Julia Gillard. Following the recent election when Labor was returned with to a minority Government, needing the support of Independents to retain Government, Rudd was then installed as Australia’s Foreign Minister. It is widely accepted the Rudd is actively seeking a high profile position with the UN, and in an effort to curry favour and gain votes from other Countries, it would seem he was sending Australian taxpayer dollars to some of those other Countries in the form of ‘Aid’. It might also seem from reading this article detailing the cutbacks in funding for ASIS, it might also seem that there could be a case made for, “well, you don’t spy on me, and we’ll see what we can do for you.”…..TonyfromOz

When Rudd was Prime Minister, he had millions for this:

AUSTRALIA will pump more than $400 million in foreign aid into Africa by 2015, as Prime Minister Kevin Rudd chases a seat on the United Nations Security Council.

Aid funding for Africa will more than double – from $163 million this year – despite Australia having few historical ties with the continent… (T)he money will also help promote Australian rules football, provide bicycles and furnish poor communities with thousands of desks.

And this:

AUSTRALIA will soon open an embassy in Ethiopia in what is widely seen as an attempt to bolster the campaign to win a prized seat on the United Nations Security Council

And even this:

KEVIN Rudd has defied the public service to appoint Tim Fischer as Australia’s first resident ambassador to the Vatican. The Department of Foreign Affairs as recently as this year urged parliamentarians not to embrace a full-time post, privately raising concerns about the $1million cost.

But while Rudd had hundreds of millions for new embassies and diplomatic initiatives to boost his votes and his personal UN ambitions, he had no money for foreign posts actually looking after Australia’s national interests:

AUSTRALIA’S foreign spy agency has closed six of its international intelligence stations in eight months, including the crucial Baghdad post, despite pleas from the US to keep it open.

In a remarkable step for the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, (ASIS) the closures have been privately blamed on a ‘’cash freeze’’, although some intelligence sources are doubtful that an agency whose budget has grown by almost 350 per cent in a decade is starved of funds.

‘’There are cuts [to the network] in the Middle East, and they are savage,’’ a source told the Herald…

The cuts mean Australia will have less on-the-ground intelligence about the world’s most troubled and strategically important region. This lack of information could compromise the safety of Australians working in the region, including diplomats, military staff and business people.

The minister responsible for ASIS, the Foreign Affairs Minister, Kevin Rudd, who was prime minister when the decision was made, would not comment yesterday…

In a politically loaded move, the US deputy chief of mission in Iraq is believed to have made representations to the Australian government in March, asking it not to close the Baghdad station. Four months later it was closed.

Andrew Bolt is a journalist and columnist writing for The Herald Sun in Melbourne Victoria Australia.

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Andrew Bolt’s columns appear in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and Adelaide’s Advertiser. He runs the most-read political blog in Australia and is a regular commentator on Channel 9′s Today show and ABC TV’s Insiders. He will be heard from Monday to Friday at 8am on the breakfast show of new radio station MTR 1377, and his book Still Not Sorry remains very widely read.