MY SAY: Turnbull misses opportunity to unite in Rudd bid

"PETTY". That's the first word that came to mind when I heard Malcolm Turnbull had denied Kevin Rudd's bid to be UN Secretary-General.

"Pathetic" was next. Followed by "embarrassing", "small-minded" and finally "crushingly disappointing".

Let me make one thing clear: like a decent section of Australia's population, I agree that Kevin Rudd has some serious flaws.

I believe the accounts of his former staff members and colleagues about his unpredictable temper and disorganised leadership style are probably true. I believe he has always had a fairly sizeable ego (though to be fair, most politicians do).

I believe he acted spitefully after Julia Gillard replaced him, and then proceeded to actively perpetuate the mindset that her government was somehow illegitimate, a dangerous and catastrophic act of sabotage which ultimately led to Labor losing government in 2013.

But if you believe that a person's individual character traits are enough reason to deny Australia a chance to represent itself on the world stage, you have entirely missed the point.

"So there won't be an Australian candidate for UN Secretary General."

These were among the first words Rudd posted on Twitter after Turnbull confirmed Australia would not be nominating a candidate in the UN race.

No self-pity, no sledging back at Turnbull. Just acknowledging the simple fact that Australia has scored an astonishing, inexplicable own goal, preventing itself for the next five (probably closer to 10) years from even nominating someone to serve on the UN.

How idiotic can you even be?

Turnbull realised he could score cheap political mileage out of pushing Rudd down a peg.

It was also a clear nod to the ultra-right wing of his party, who were pressuring him to drop Rudd.

The decision is representative of how Turnbull will govern for the next three years: constantly desperate to placate a minority of his party, willing to reward only his political friends and burn his enemies.

It is small, it is painfully domestic, and it is a sad sign of our country's trajectory.

 

Kevin Rudd rightly has a positive reputation among the international community through his successful time as a diplomat, his ties to and knowledge of Asia, and his time in the foreign affairs portfolio. He is a former Prime Minister with vast experience in international affairs.

 

The UN may well have detected personality flaws in Rudd which would have rendered him unsuitable for the role. But ultimately it was their judgement, and not Turnbull's, to make.