Killing time: part two

A thread for discussion of part two of the ABC’s documentary on the life and times of the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd government.

Last week’s opening instalment of the ABC’s The Killing Season treated us to the thrills and spills of the Rudd government’s first two-and-a-half years in government. In tonight’s episode, we move into the sharper end of proceedings. Here again as a thread for discussion of what transpires. Play nice, everybody …

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

194 comments on “Killing time: part two”

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  1. [“I’ve never liked Martin Ferguson, but he’s worse than some Libs these days.”]

    He’s telling us the truth about Gillard…

  2. The untold part to tonight’s show was how during that time, there were several here that ranted that all talk of disunity was just Murdoch press and was a beat up.

    Happy times indeed.

  3. I don’t want to re-open the Rudd-Gillard wars, but I will say this: whether this documentary is entirely fair or not, I’m not certain, but there is no question at all that Rudd comes out of the first two episodes looking far better than Gillard.

  4. I didn’t know about this thread and posted on the earlier thread as follows:

    bemused@144 on Killing time | The Poll Bludger


    Windhover uses a lot of words but in the end fails to confront the reality when he/she says:

    But more importantly I am confident history will record the main problem with Gillard’s credibility were the continuous destabilising leaks against her, particularly those that left her clinging to minority government and those that constantly whipped up leadership whenever traction on other issues was taking hold.

    The reality is that Gillard’s biggest problem was… Gillard.

    bemused@145 on Killing time | The Poll Bludger

    Oh dear, the Gillard plotting and treachery is being laid bare.

  5. Well, Ferguson’s done a pretty clinical knife job on Gillard’s story.

    Wisest words: Albo “this will kill two Labor PMs’.

    Most interesting reflection: Terry Moran “there were several ministers much ruder to public servants than Rudd”.

    Tune in next week for Rudd’s vengeance, when all her backers flee the coop and do it all over again to her!

    Thank dog this cant happen any more.

  6. I love it how within minutes of Gillard winning with Shorten’s help they are moving on him because he cant be trusted lol

  7. alias

    I think what this type of program shows is that there is always two sides to the story and that people, no matter who they are, will do things which might haev been justified in their mind but looks questionable when viewed from a distance.

  8. [I’m pretty sure the events surrounding Tony and his cabinet will be every bit as thrilling.]

    Yep. And it aint over yet.

    Bear one thing in mind as you watch the whole sorry saga: the LNP didnt learn a single thing from it.

    They tried to roll Abbott in an even shorter time.

  9. So, after years of bitter infighting between left-of-centre Pollbludgers we get an outstanding series from a highly-respected journalist to finally shed a bit of light onto what actually happened, and very few of them want to see or discuss it. Apparently, they already know everything about it.

    Or they’re afraid of being exposed as naive outsiders, which, after all, is what we all really are.

  10. The thing that leapt out at me watching episode two was how very accidental it all was. I had forgotten that the latest Newspoll was 52-48 to Labor. It beggars belief that it was even an idle thought to do this; much less that apparently sensible people actually gave it oxygen. What also leapt out was the inexperience of all these key players: Feeney, Arbib, Farrell.

    And yes, Albanese’s prescience that in doing this “we kill two prime ministers” is the stand-out quote. It really was an act of lunacy.

  11. [I don’t want to re-open the Rudd-Gillard wars, but I will say this: whether this documentary is entirely fair or not, I’m not certain, but there is no question at all that Rudd comes out of the first two episodes looking far better than Gillard.]

    I thought at the end of the episode that there is nothing in it that will not simply reinforce existing positions about the saga. We see what we want to see.

    First and last word on the episode.

  12. Jake

    There is a bit of that, but there is a saying about those who really know, don’t talk and those who don’t, do the talking.

    Back in 2010, I repeated a story about Rudd’s office that I had heard from a senior Victorian public servant, a certain ALP supporter, long gone from here thundered that I was trolling and was a news limited hack.

    But that is how PB rolls.

  13. Diogenes@27

    And despite the propaganda about it not being Arbib, Howes, Farrell, Feeney etc that is exactly who it was.

    Yep, a real blow to zoomster’s credibility on the subject. She reckoned it all started with Kim Carr.

  14. Agreed Diogenes, and this fabulous bit of euphemism that “I might have been less discursive”. Gillard is her own worst enemy in this documentary. Where he book might have boosted her stocks, this show – at least the first two episodes – have most assuredly lowered her esteem in the wider public mind.

  15. Stray thoughts.

    1. I was surprised at Ken Henry, who I had always seen as something of a Rudd admirer, being so openly critical.

    2. If I were a bookie I reckon I could give the longest odds imaginable on Rudd ever admitting he’d made a mistake or was in any way responsible for anything going wrong, and I’d never be in the slightest danger of having to pay out.

    3. I was generally convinced by the portrayal of the June 2010 coup as a case of groupthink getting out of control, with the normally cool and calculating Gillard dropping her judgement because of her anger at the SMH article. I don’t normally have much time for Albo but his criticism of Gillard for allowing her anger on that day to drive her to challenge for the leadership in a fit of pique was fair enough IMO.

    4. I don’t feel the factional story was presented quite correctly: my mail is that Kim Carr played a bigger part in it all from an earlier stage than was shown here.

    5. Gerry Kitchener has had a lovely career as an apparatchik courtesy of the ALP and he demonstrates his gratitude by dumping on the current party leader on national TV. Sweet.

    6. Rudd gives the impression that, at the fateful meeting with Gillard on the night of the coup, he spent a lot of the time asking questions like “why are you doing this to ME” and “if you don’t like what I’m doing, then tell me what you’d like to do and I promise I’ll change.” All a bit whiny and not very self-aware or leader-like. He really must have been very hard work for his subordinates.

  16. Another random thought: Did that Peter Haartcher story about Rudd’s chief of staff change the course of history? It looks for all the world, from this program, as if this tipped Gillard over the edge into the abyss.

  17. I think the real ‘misogyny’ is going to start next episode when the ‘un-trustworthy’ Shorten and the Labor party turn on the ‘real false hope’ Julia.

  18. alias

    She shouldn’t have agreed to do the program.


    [I love it how within minutes of Gillard winning with Shorten’s help they are moving on him because he cant be trusted lol]

    They said Gillard shouldn’t let Shorten into Cabinet as he’d knife Gillard. Boy were they right.

  19. I must say I didn’t know about the compromise agreement moments before the final challenge was issued. Very interesting detail.

    What I notice about the series: the more neutral players (eg Macklin) aren’t bearing the Team Gillard version out at all. They still seem basically mystified about the complete and utter insanity of it all.

    And yes: who ran the challenge? The party machine men who were the most inexperienced MPs, in parliament 2 years only.


  20. MB

    I didn’t think Ken Henry was that hard on Rudd unless I missed something, his comment about train wreck really isn’t that much of a shock to many in the public service.

  21. [They said Gillard shouldn’t let Shorten into Cabinet as he’d knife Gillard. Boy were they right.]

    Yep. Honestly, you couldn’t make this shit up.

  22. PS: re Terry Moran. Rumour has it that, having appointed him as his department head, Rudd had a fight with Moran after a year or so and basically stopped talking to him (and, as we heard tonight, Rudd is prone to stop talking to people).

    But it was Gillard who ultimately (belatedly, some would say) moved Moran on. So it would seem that Moran now has regained his regard for Rudd, comparatively speaking.

  23. alias

    I agree with Albo that it was hilarious that Gillard was so upset about Rudd’s COS getting polling done because he was concerned about Rudd’s position that she knifed him later in the day, kind of proving he was right to be concerned.

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