Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Top Five Immediate Missions Of Australia's New Prime Minister

Number One : Ratify Kyoto Protocol

Kevin Rudd has revealed the five things he will do, straight off the bat, when he becomes prime minister after next week's federal election :

1. Ratify the Kyoto Protocol. "We need to make sure we are around the negotiating table immediately ... for the next round of commitments on reducing global greenhouse gas emissions."

2. Start immediately to negotiate with the states on reform of hospital practices. "That is of crucial importance - we've got $2.5billion on the table but we'll need to frame a co-operative agreement around performance measures."

3. Begin the roll-out of the high-speed broadband network, along with connections to schools. In tandem, open up tenders for the $1 billion school computer program.

4. "Hit the ground running" with the implementation of the $2.5 billion program to upgrade trades training centres in secondary schools. "I went back to C block [the technical faculty] at [his old school] Nambour High the other day - it hadn't changed since I was there. It was like walking into a museum."

5. Begin negotiations with the Americans and Iraqis for the staged withdrawal by mid next year of Australian combat troops. "I have been very blunt with President Bush ... I have a no-surprises policy when it comes to these things."

It will be interesting to see what John Howard & Friends do with this story. Rudd has all but declared victory, before he's victorious. It should drive Howard nuts, and he will have restrain himself from having a full meltdown so close to the election.

Rudd has pledged to do all the above five within the first 100 hundred days of taking power. How very American presidential of him.

He also said Labor would get two days off, Christmas and Boxing Day, then it's "straight back to work."

He should have added a sixth pledge. Actually answer the questions journalists ask him. His masterful evasion of answering even the most basic questions may completely change, after he wins. If he doesn't, he can expect to cop many months of hammerings from journalists.

I don't actually think Rudd is being arrogant in unveiling his Top Five agenda a week before the election. I'm sure he's privately very nervous that something could go drastically wrong on Election Day. I'm more inclined to think that Rudd's headline grabbing interview, for the Sunday papers, and a leader story on the evening news (Sunday being the day of the biggest newspaper sales, and highest audiences for evening news) is yet another example of his CIA-quality psychological war against John Howard.

Expect Howard, or at least a few of his ministers (we're looking at you Downer) to absolutely flip out at Rudd's "incredible arrogance" in unveiling his 'Once I've Won' agenda.