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The media has decided that there is now a leak war between “Gillard’s people” and “Rudd’s people”. That sounds fair enough, given that there has been a steady, if not continual stream of stories that hurt Gillard and which hurt Rudd. But that just bears the question, who are Rudd’s people?

And more importantly, from a political point of view, what are they trying to gain? Are they members of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party? There are 115 ALP MPs, of whom 80-90 would have voted for Gillard in the leadership spill, had one been held. That means around 20-30 MPs supported Rudd, including heavy-weights such as Lindsay Tanner and Penny Wong, and of course, the former Prime Minister. But would they hope to gain? An MPs primary instinct is to keep his seat, his secondary instinct is to stay in government. Presumably if they are senior enough to be making the leaks they’re making, they have a safe seat and all they want is to keep government.* There’s absolutely zero chance of Rudd becoming Prime Minister before the next election, and given that Gillard has good chances of winning the election all an MP is doing is undermining their own chances of being re-elected to government!

*The exception being Lindsay Tanner, but he’s a Labor stalwart and unlikely to want to undermine Gillard at the expense of a potential election victory.

The other possibility is that it is Rudd himself, or one of the young pups who populated his office. In that case, their obvious motive is revenge – for the ignominy of defeat and for the thrashing of their reputation on the media. Given the most recent leak last night that Rudd didn’t attend the National Security Committee of Cabinet personally, it may be Rudd himself – otherwise, a tit for tat leaking strategy would make no sense. The former Rudd staffers don’t care about having Rudd’s reputation dragged through the mud.

Personally, I think the most likely reason is that it is merely co-incidence, combined with the story-telling tendencies of the media. I don’t see a steady stream of leaking. Rudd made no leaks immediately. He seems to be campaigning in his electorate. The only leak in the last week I can think of is Rudd going for a UN job and going overseas. This is hardly information limited to Rudd’s inner circle. And there was plenty of opportunity for UN staffers to have leaked this to the media, it’s hardly compelling evidence of a leaking conspiracy. And if you put those two “leaks” to one side, I can’t see any evidence for a leak war as opposed to the media following Kevin Rudd and reporting his slightest move.

Or, maybe Rudd’s people are the Stone Masons. Hmmm…


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