Labor is in real trouble as named candidates fail to fire and Kevin Rudd looks increasingly like an out of control narcissist. They have called in a turd-polisher to help soothe the factions.
Labor campaign insiders are playing down reports of a breakdown in communications between the travelling party around Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and the party’s main headquarters in Melbourne, while admitting there have been glitches in the first 10 days.
A senior ALP source said there had been worries that the travelling party was ”going off on a frolic of its own” but that the recent installation of Environment Minister Mark Butler as a link man between the two groups was aimed at fixing the problem.
”Butler will be there so that Melbourne HQ always has someone to talk to, so that there is better relay back and forth between the two,” the source said on Friday morning.
”There was no one filling that role and [the need] became apparent at the end of week one.”
Mr Butler joined the Prime Minister’s tight-knit travelling party on Wednesday. The group on the road with Mr Rudd includes his chief strategist and long-time confidant Bruce Hawker, his eldest son Nicholas, and key media advisers Eamonn Fitzpatrick and Fiona Sugden.
Mr Hawker was the driving force behind the decision to bring former Queensland premier Peter Beattie into the campaign as a federal candidate, a decision so tightly held that some senior figures in campaign headquarters only knew about it the day before.
A top communicator? Two old hands don;t think much of what has transpired.
Labor powerbroker and former Hawke and Keating government minister Graham Richardson this week described Labor’s campaign as a ”shambles”.
”There’s no plan, they drift from day to day and they don’t seem to have the flexibility, the don’t seem to be able to move quickly, they seem to be very, very slow moving,” he said on Sky News.
Former NSW Labor Minister John Della Bosca said on Friday that he agreed with the thrust of Mr Richardson’s criticism, adding Labor appeared not to have given enough thought to how it would communicate its ”new way”,
”Not a lot of thought … went into well exactly how are we going to communicate the things we’re about and having made a choice for a campaign about a new way … you have to start describing that new way and thus far I think that’s the principal failure,” Mr Della Bosca said on ABC Radio National.
”There’s just a lot of froth and bubble with Kevin acquitting himself as he usually does as a kind of pop star campaigner and he’s pretty articulate … but that new way is not yet evident.”