Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Will the real Kevin Rudd please stand up?

By Peter Costello - posted Friday, 18 May 2007

Kevin Rudd, an economic conservative?

A few years ago Mr Rudd spoke candidly about his philosophy. “I am an old-fashioned Christian socialist” he told the Australian Financial Review in 2003. Now Labor is running TV ads with Kevin Rudd claiming “I’m an economic conservative”. Socialist or conservative? Mr Left or Mr Right? Which one is telling the truth here?

Let’s look at the record.


In his time in Parliament and as a Parliamentary candidate Mr Rudd has been quite consistent. He has consistently opposed economic reform.

Kevin Rudd opposed those measures which balanced the Budget and paid off Government debt. Mr Rudd opposed the introduction of the GST claiming that it would be the “highest form of fiscal vandalism”.

He has supported a nationalised telecommunications sector. He opposed the privatisation of Telstra. He opposed legislation to enhance competition. He opposed the tariff reduction schedule for manufacturing industries.

He opposed industrial relations reforms. He supported union control of the waterfront. And when the Government introduced tax cuts in the 2005 Budget, he took the left-wing route, opposing them too.

Every time a hard economic reform has been made Mr Rudd has been on the opposing side. Just like an “old fashioned socialist”.

Now some people might say that he was just toeing the Labor Party line and that despite his words, his actions, and his parliamentary voting record, he really did believe in economic reform.


That would be a forgiving view of cheap, opportunistic and dishonest conduct. But those who want to believe it should look a little closer.

Mr Rudd has not just opposed the government’s reforms, he has opposed them with gusto, employing a scorching rhetoric that bespeaks a passionate opposition to recent economic reform. As recently as last November Mr Rudd was delivering a lengthy fire and brimstone diatribe on how conservative economic policies in Australia had created a brutal  “Brutopia”.

While true economic conservatives were applauding balanced budgets, repayment of debt and industrial reform, Mr Rudd wrote that they amounted to “unrestrained market capitalism” where the “neo-liberal experiment has now reached its extreme”.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

61 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Peter Costello AO is a former, and longest serving, Commonwealth Treasurer. He is a company director and a corporate advisor with the boutique firm ECG Financial Pty Ltd which advises on mergers and acquisitions, foreign investment, competition and regulatory issues.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Peter Costello

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Peter Costello
Article Tools
Comment 61 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy