By Darryl Mason
I wasn't kidding when I said that Kevin Rudd doesn't see a biting comedy when he watches ABC's The Hollow Men, he sees a tense, real-life drama, filled with the kinds of challenging events and burning bureaucratic tensions he already knows all too well.
Occasional reader Kerry contrasts the episode of The Hollow Men where the prime minister's staff must decide if the PM's good mate, and defence minister, should quit or be sacked with yesterday's big non-Chaser related news event, the resignation of Kevin Rudd's good mate, and defence minister, Joel Fitzgibbon :
How Hallowmen is this? It ticks all the boxes:
Ministry – defence
Reason – breach of ministerial conduct (very close to undisclosed investments)
Friend of PM – PM gave full support to his mate the defence minister until the announcement.
Resignation – Was it genuine or did the Hollow Men's Tony/Murph real life equivalents in PM's office argue whether it needed to be a resignation or sacking?
The only thing missing is that it’s not close to Remembrance day.
It's very annoying that I can't search through permanently-online episodes of The Hollow Men and link to the right moments in the TV show to make these 'coincidences' clearer. But searching video like we can now search song lyrics is still two or four years away.
Joel Fitzgibbon's resignation is just another curious example of Ruddlife imitating The Hollow Men, instead of the other way around. The episode where the PM's staff battled to decide whether it looked better for the prime minister to sack his defence minister, or accept his resignation, was only repeated on ABC 1 a couple of weeks ago.
Rudd's key staff have seen The Hollow Men. How could they resist watching it? So they'd know this episode, and would have been aware of its interesting parallels to how they had to sell this major fuckup in Rudd's considerably smooth sailing of recent.
The Budget episode of The Hollow Men, aired a week before the Wayne Swann delivered the real one, was also full of key phrases and words that were put to good use when Swann and Rudd and Julia Gillard stepped in front of the media to sell it.
You'll know some sort of Evil Lefty ABC conspiracy is afoot if the Wonder Drug episode of The Hollow Men airs a week or two before the Rudd government begins seriously trying to sell the swine flu Wonder Vaccine.
The details of why Fitzgibbon had to quit are here, in short he failed to "fully comply with the ministerial code of conduct", but when you read the following quotes from Rudd, you can easily imagine the Hollow Men-like scenes inside the PM's HQ as his staffers battled to come up with just the right wording, the all important phrasing, to get the prime minister over this credibility-degrading crisis :
"The minister's decision was to extend his letter of resignation at his initiative," Mr Rudd said.
"I accepted that resignation, it was the right thing to do."
Mr Rudd described Mr Fitzgibbon as a "first-class Defence Minister".
"The Government expects high standards of accountability on the part of ministers," he said.
"I feel very sad about this," Mr Rudd told a press conference in Canberra....
Mr Rudd said Mr Fitzgibbon had made "mistakes in terms of accountability and paid a high price".
He said Mr Fitzgibbon's resignation goes to the "probability of the process engaged in".