THE Turnbull Government is mad to back Kevin Rudd’s bid to become the UN’s secretary-general this year.
Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop is now attacking former prime minister Tony Abbott for having agreed instead to back New Zealand’s candidate, ex-leader Helen Clark.
Abbott was adamant: Rudd had to be blocked.
But Bishop, a Rudd mate, has repudiated that deal, and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he’ll consider Rudd’s candidacy when Rudd announces he’ll run.
Again I ask: is the Government mad?
Rudd was not only one of our worst prime ministers, branded dysfunctional even by his Labor colleagues. He also stands for Big Government and the erosion of national sovereignty — values no Liberal government should promote.
But what makes this backing even stranger is that it comes just when the world is trying to fix a mess Rudd helped inspire while impressing the UN he now hopes to lead. As foreign affairs minister Rudd lobbied furiously — and against the will of then prime minister Julia Gillard — for a UN declaration of a no-fly zone over Libya.
This was to stop Muammar Gaddafi from bombing civilians as he fought the rebel militias that finally toppled him in 2011.
But as the US-led allies dropped their own bombs it became clear they were just providing air cover for rebel forces riddled with Islamic extremists.
Rudd did well from this war. The European Union’s senior foreign policy adviser said his activism had been noticed by key international players.
He got appointed to the NATO-dominated panel that guided the conflict, and is now an outside chance to be the UN boss.
But Libya is today in anarchy. Militias rule. There is no central government. People smugglers funnel illegal immigrants to Italy.
And this week foreign ministers met in Rome to discuss the latest threat — the Islamic State taking over Libya’s oilfields.
As US Secretary of State John Kerry warned: “The last thing in the world you want is to have a false caliphate with access to millions of dollars of oil revenue.”
Bishop, in Rome, should wonder how she could still back her mate.
Forget Rudd as secretary-general doing Australia favours.
Should the UN again damn our border laws, would Rudd represent Australia’s case to the UN or the UN’s to Australia?