When I watched the Prime Minister of Australia prance cutely up the stairs of his plane I thought he needed a lesson in moving like a man. A swagger like John Wayne, a ramrod stride like Robert Mitchum, perhaps, even a normal homo erectus march would be better than the merry munchkin frolic of Kevin Rudd. T.V stations played his ascent over and over again and there was plenty of discussion about his jerky farewell at the top of the steps. Frankly, he looked like a silly schoolboy on a first date. I’ve said it before, in politics impressions count.
Rudd’s demeanour does not support the reality of a brain that is astute. He is charming and speaks well. In time, his odd mannerisms will be overcome as they were with John Howard. That’s what image-makers are for.
What cannot be excused, however, is a trend that is appearing in Rudd. He has caused offence to some people and now to a country which is Australia’s biggest trading partner.
The Jewish population was deeply offended when Rudd organised a summit of 1000 of the best and brightest brains of Australia. It seems as if the Prime Minister’s office does not have a calendar which would have shown him that the Talkfest was to be held on Passover. It is a most inappropriate date and rather than change the date as he should have, Rudd is putting on a special mini Jewish Talkfest in Sydney. This has got to be the silliest idea. Why would a group of Jews want to get together for four hours instead of taking part in the Australian event?
Needless to say, Jews were offended and there are not many volunteering to travel from interstate to have a chat with fellow Jews. The purpose of the original symposium was to collect new ideas from various groups. Jews do not appreciate being isolated from the rest of the Australian community. This mini, pseudo, bandaid Jewish gathering or ” Chat amongst yourselves” four hours is a sop to the Jewish community and they are not amused.
And to top it all off, I have been informed that the 2020 Canberra proper Talkfest of 1000 will be serving kosher food as an option. This sounds like an April Fool’s joke to me. If you are religious enough to be kosher why would you travel to Canberra during Passover?
If this insult is small bickies, then how can Rudd excuse himself from visiting Japan on his 17 day tour of world capitals. Not only is he not visiting Japan, he has yet to speak on the phone to the Japanese Prime Minster. Rudd has evidently been a very busy man since his election on November 24th.
I must admit that I applauded the Japanese journalist who asked Rudd why he omitted Japan from his trip and why he hasn’t spoken personally to Mr Fukuda.
In trying to win over new friends, one shouldn’t ignore old trading partners.
As for trying to repair diplomatic ties with Japan after the fact, Rudd is now planning to make two separate visits to Japan at a later date. Sound familiar? It’s a bit like the special Jewish mini-Talkfest, isn’t it? It will only highlight the fact that Japan wasn’t important enough to be included in the initial itinerary. No matter what spin one gives it, it doesn’t make up for the original offence.