I usually don't agree with much that's generated by the columnists at The Australian, but I have to say that the recent observations by Messrs Megalogenis and Sheridan are persuasive on the subject of Kevin Rudd's scattergun policy output. I said to Anastasia a while back that we in Australia were celebrating the overthrow of the former corrupt regime (Howard) and that we could now settle down in peace to enjoy the new corrupt regime (Rudd). I only half-meant it as a joke. The other half now appears to be acquiring some substantiation.
The most recent projects; to restart the nuclear disarmament process and to create a Pacific Union, have eroded my hopes that Kevin Rudd might be at least half as good as he seemed. Nothing unworthy in the essence of either, of course, but the approach being taken is like a scrapbooking project or some such - cutting out and gluing together a cardboard rocket and calling it a space programme. I'm also reminded of a documentary I saw years ago in which Mussolini was shown inspecting a great fleet of aircraft parked in a field as the voice-over commented, "Many of the planes he inspected that day had no engines..."
What beats me is that anyone with two brain cells to rub together can see that Australia can only make one substantial contribution to ending nuclear proliferation: halt all mining and export of uranium. If that's not an option on the table, there's no point in going further. The nuclear technology is out of the bottle, it's only the essential raw materials which are controllable in the long term. And that surely isn't on the table. The ALP's three mines "policy" was never really a policy. It was a transitional phase while the factions struggled to determine whether the policy would be for or against uranium mining. It looked like a policy because the struggle lasted so long and the holding position became a de facto platform plank. No-one in the ALP thought it was a final position, although the Coalition liked to call it such to give them something to mock. Well, the struggle's over now. The miners have won. That can be said with certainty when even that veteran of the Nuclear Disarmament Party, Peter Garrett has kept a straight face as the ALP has gone down the nuclear road.
As for a Pacific Union, it might have had some hope if it had been defined within reasonable limits in private and then canvassed in private with the governments of potential member nations. The way this has been done must look to a foreigner like posturing for the domestic audience. Surely a serious effort would be advanced discreetly and with a solid proposition being developed before the negotiating began?
Sheridan is right in saying that Rudd will squander his reserves of credibility and goodwill if he keeps on in this way.