IamA Former Prime Minister of Australia Kevin Rudd AMA!
There’s been a lot of response from around Australia on my calls over recent months for a royal commission into the future ownership and diversity of Australian media – in particular for such a royal commission to examine the abuse of power by the Murdoch media in Australia. I have described the Murdoch media not as a legitimate news organisation but indeed a political party seeking to advance its own commercial and ideological interests. I’ve also described Murdoch as a cancer on democracy, not just in this country, but in the United Kingdom and the United States.
My experience of the Murdoch media is canvassed extensively in the book I’ve recently published entitled Kevin Rudd The PM Years. It deals with the Murdoch medias campaign to destroy the National Broadband Network of fibre optic to the premises in order to advance Murdoch’s commercial interests in protecting the Foxtel cable based entertainment network in Australia. My book also details the vicious nature of Murdoch’s campaign against my government in the 2013 election. Also you may have seen the attached opinion piece I wrote in last Saturdays Fairfax media on what Murdoch may seek to do next in seeking to ingratiate himself with the Labor party prior to the next election.
If you wish to discuss these and any other related matters then Reddit, Ask Me Anything!
I’ll be answering questions this afternoon from 4:30pm to 6pm AEST. That’s 5:30pm to 7pm AEDT. Other times as applicable depending on where in this fair country of ours you happen to live.
You can purchase my latest autobiography "Kevin Rudd - The PM Years" here
**EDIT: G'day folks, I'm now online as promised! So let's get into it.
**EDIT 2: Hi folks, I've been going for two hours now. Thérèse expects me home for dinner. I'll try and get back to the hundreds of questions that have been posted in this session in the days ahead. In the mean time, thank you for your engagement. And on the core question of the Murdoch media, if you're so inclined, please get a hold of my most recent book to get an idea of what it was like dealing with Murdoch while in office - and what should now be done about it. Kind Regards K Rudd.
**EDIT 3: Well folks thanks for the great stack of questions which has come in through this AMA. The theme of the AMA was Murdoch’s impact on the Australian democracy. And that certainly has been a resounding, continuing theme in many of the questions asked of me. And in many of the answers I have given. Again if you want to explore these questions further, I’d encourage you to read on my website the articles I’ve written recently about what to do about Murdoch’s overwhelming political and media power in Australia. The answer to that, in my judgement, lies in a fully empowered royal commission with proper terms of reference with the object of guaranteeing maximum media diversity for Australia’s political future. I’d also encourage you to read volume two of my autobiography which has been released over the last couple of months. You can get it online. Or you can get it at your local book shop. So thanks very much for participating in this AMA. There has been quite a lot of response both directly and through the twitterverse. If you’re interested in particular on Murdoch’s interest in protecting his Foxtel entertainment network in Australia against internet based competitors (like the NBN) then again go to my website and have a look at the News Corporation’s compulsory filings on the NYSE from 2013 to 2017. These repeatedly point to the threat which internet based media businesses represented to the bottom line commercial interest of the Murdoch empire. The fact that Murdoch campaigned so viciously to defeat our government in 2013 and thereby to destroy the NBN as a competitor to Foxtel is underlined by the logic outlined in these compulsory filings.
The truth is that when you are in elected office, the very nature of both a cabinet and parliamentary decision making process is that it involves various levels of compromise. In other words, you may not end up producing a result that fully satisfies your own beliefs and aspirations; but in order to get it through the cabinet and parliamentary process, compromises are made which may result in you getting 70% of what you were seeking to achieve. My simple argument is that 70% is better than 0% and in bringing about that outcome, it means by definition that those in the political process may have to exercise some restraint in giving full public vent to their policy passions on every given issue. Given that this Reddit IAMA is about Murdoch, in defence of my own position, could I make absolutely plain to those reading this that while I was still in office as Prime Minister, I gave full vent to what Murdoch was then doing in the 2013 election campaign to destroy the NBN in active political coalition with the Liberal party. I did not simply being talking about this having left office.
Hi Kevin, the state of the NBN is an issue I'm very passionate about, as I earn my living as a web developer. I find the destruction of the Labor NBN unconscionable, as leading industry experts have stated numerous times that fibre to the premises would have been the best way forwards for the Australian digital economy. Even with a similar two-party system in New Zealand, both parties agreed upon FTTP as the correct solution for their country's future, and domestic gigabit speeds are now attainable by our good friends across the ditch.
If it can be established that the Liberal National Party was influenced or coerced by an external factor, particularly a factor with a vested financial interest, and deliberately changed the NBN infrastructure model to an inferior solution due to that influence, what can be done about holding people accountable for what is, in essence, selling out the future of Australia's economy?
We manufacture so little, our mining sector is on the decline, and the digital economy is where Australia could be a world-class player. If our future prosperity has been sabotaged by corrupt elements, I find that absolutely outrageous, and those parties involved should answer for what they've done.
A key piece of evidence for Murdoch's determination to kill the NBN (that is the Fibre to the premises version that we launched) can be found in the compulsory filings by News Corp on the New York stock exchange back in 2013 - the year of the critical election. Under the rules of the New York stock exchange, publicly listed companies have to inform shareholders of any technology based threats to the core business operations of the company. News Corp were therefore required back then to state explicitly that their television operations were subject to significant challenge by internet based competitors unless News Corp acted to protect their interests. From memory that was in July 2013. The election was held in early September. It was no coincidence that when the Liberals came up with an NBN that was only Fibre optic to the node (therefore killing the last link between the node and the household) that News Corp embraced it with open arms. Abbott and Turnbull actually launched their policy at Fox Studios in Sydney, fully owned, of course, by News Corp. I believe it's critical given the enormous loss to Australia that this resulted in (both in terms of the undermining of this essential piece of national economic infrastructure; plus the sheer waste of billions of dollars of public investment) that it is essential that a royal commission establish all the facts on how this scandal came about.
Hi Mr Rudd,
Do you believe that the media plays a role in inflaming racial tensions in Australia?
If so, what policies would you like to see put in place around news reporting?
I'll never forget the role of Allen Jones and the Cronulla race riots way back when. I think it's critical that all media outlets exercise proper professional constraint in the way these things are reported - to be as factual as possible; to be non inflammatory and not to reward deeply antisocial behaviour by those resorting to the politics of race. It also depends on an active citizenry shouting down any media outlets and or political actors who actively seek to fan racial tension.
Hello Kevin, my question is: how do we go about educating politicians on the dangers / collateral damage caused by the AA bill? It seems like a number of those who voted in favour of it have a fundamental lack of understanding when it comes to digital security....
I recognise there is also a need for methods that will allow police to monitor those with nefarious intent using encrypted platforms but this will destroy trust in Australian developers, myself being one. I'm already having to figure out my 5 year plan to move internationally and potentially revoke Australian citizenship... which sucks, I like Brisbane... it's my home.
Also when you're next in Brisbane I challenge you to handball. Name a time and place.
I'm always worried when governments rush legislation through the parliament - particularly when it affects peoples civil liberties. I equally understand the operational challenges faced by our security and intelligence authorities in dealing with terrorist threats, many of which have been averted through their good work in the past. Given what has happened, the country now should reconsider the need for a bill of rights capable of providing ultimate legal safeguards for the individual in an age when the intercept powers of governments around the world are becoming increasingly formidable.
And by the way on handball, I've got some knee surgery coming up next week. I promise that when I'm fully mended, I'll back on the handball court later in 2019. And then you're going to get smashed!
One of my favourite quotes of yours is “fair shake of the sauce bottle”. I say it daily.
My question is where do you leave the sauce bottle, in the cupboard or the fridge?
Being a Queenslander, I'm more of a fridge man. There's nothing worse than hot sticky tomato sauce in my judgement. I'm always amazed when the Murdoch media allege that I made this one up. That's total bullshit. I grew up on a farm in rural Queensland. My father used that expression all the time.
When I was living on my own on Newstart/unemployment benefits, I stopped eating lunch to save money. Talking to other people in similar circumstances, I found out this wasn't uncommon.
Do you think we will see an increase to Newstart payments any time soon?
That's appalling. I was once on unemployment benefits but it never got that bad. I hope an incoming Labor government is able to redress this. For there is some basic mathematics in all of this: what does it require not to be living in poverty. That's the core reason I fundamentally reformed the aged pension in 2009 because many senior Australians (particularly on the single ages pension) were then living in poverty. Thank you for raising this. It's important. It's the hallmark of a decent (or indecent) society.
Thanks for doing this AMA. It's been over a decade since an Australian Prime Minister served a full term.
1) What do you think it will take to increase political stability in Australia?
2) If you were a betting man, how long would you say it would be before an Australian PM completes a term? Is this a situation you see sticking around for the foreseeable future?
Great questions. It's probably time for me to plug my book at this stage. The last chapter of my book "Kevin Rudd - The PM Years" is entitled "Poor Fellow My Country". It deals explicitly with the questions your raise on what has brought about rolling instability in our countries leadership (including the Murdoch media factor) and what we should do about it. For my part, I did what I could back in 2013 by making a change to the Labor Party rules a precondition for my returning to office for that election in order to "save the furniture". That rule made it impossible for a future Labor leader, let alone prime minister, to simply be rolled through a midnight coup orchestrated through the party room. And that's why we have had more than five years now of leadership stability under Shorten. But please have a read of the book. You can also get a copy through Amazon and the others.
Hi Kevin. Thanks for doing this. Over the past few weeks, you’ve been very vocal and outspoken against Morrison, Turnbull and Murdoch on Twitter. It’s been refreshing and enlightening to see you display an honest expression of opinion. Where was this when you were PM? Has being out of office meant that you were able to truely express yourself without the pressures and constraints of public office weighing you down?
Thank you Robert for your post. I've tried to answer your questions in my response to /u/planetworthofbugs. Please come back to me if that doesn't answer your question sufficiently. P.S. Remember, however, that I was routinely attacked, from both the left and the right, for being too passionate in my public advocacy in national action on global climate change. I don't think I was pulling any punches there. But sure, none of us are perfect in public life and there are always things we would have done differently.
Thoughts on Bill Shorten? I like him, and even though I'm not putting Labor first (still way ahead of the Libs), I'm fine with him being the next PM.
But so many people despise him, apparently purely because the media tells us to hate him. I've never heard a legitimate criticism of the man, it's always just "he's a union affiliated thug" or "his forehead looks funny".
So what do you think of Shorten as a Leader and potential PM?
Preferably not a "this will help Labor win" answer if I may ask for that!
P.S. Thanks for everything you did as PM.
The bottom line is that Shorten is head and shoulders above Morrison in three essential respects; policy; his Labor team; and his ability to provide leadership through consensus building.
I’m a journalist and frequently we are forced to self-censor ourselves when trying to interview politicians and hold them to account, to prevent being blacklisted or stonewalled.
What advice could you give me and my colleagues about toeing that fine line, but pressuring politicians on a deeper level?
It’s not my business to tell journalists how to do their job. But the bottom line is journalists are respected if they are well researched; polite, firm but not accusatory; and above all, through the product of their work, can be demonstrated to have given the politician in question a fair go. The definition of fair go of course is elusive. But as long as the body of the text fairly represents the politicians view on a particular matter in sufficient length to do justice to his or her position, then that is all that can be asked. If that is juxtaposed with a radically contrary set of views from another political participant or the journalist him or herself, then so be it.
Should the coalition government refuse Independent Senator Fraser Anning’s support for any legislation he votes for in the Senate?
Global politics seem quite divided at the moment. If you had to pick one would you guess Australia is going to begin to lean more to the left, right, or stay basically where we are over the next 5-10 years? Do you see us following the trends set by any other country in particular?
Again a good question. Ultimately there is nothing determinist about politics. It depends on what you the citizenry say and do and how you organise. If we have a properly engaged national citizenry, I believe the natural centre of gravity for our country is one of pragmatic, progressive government. And because I don't believe in determinism, I don't really see other countries as necessarily acting as national predictors of where we'll end up.
You have talked about Murdoch Media’s influence on Australian politics, but do you think there is a lack of reporting from the ABC regarding the Liberal Party and their policy making? It seems that the ABC will often gloss over key policies from the Liberals and try to twist in a way to make it seem as though it isn’t that bad, whereas at the same time they seem to target the ALP more often than not.
You make a good point. What I have observed over many years now is how much the ABC self censors in its handling of Liberal and National party politicians, politics and policy. It's as if the ABC has long been in the business of overcorrecting so as not to attract the ire political conservatives in this country. Take for example the failure of the ABC (with the exception of Media Watch) through its news and current affairs coverage to tackle the debate we are focusing on in this iAMA - namely Murdoch's dominance of the Australian media; his overwhelming conservatism bias through his print and his television outlets; and his vicious pursuit of his commercial interests, as seen his determination to destroy the NBN. I regard these matters as fundamental to The Australian democracy. I also regard them as fundamental to the proper functioning to a balanced media within our democracy. Yet rarely do I find ABC news and current affairs prepared to touch any of these subjects for fear that the Murdoch media will turn on the ABC, including its individual journalists, with greater venom.
The further complication in this complex question of ABC internal psychology is that it often suits their mindset to target the Labor party in order to demonstrate to the conservative parties (and the Murdoch media) that they really are being balanced after all. This, in turn, meshes with a psychology on the part of some within the ABC who are deeply wedded to a Green Party agenda and for whom the Greens can never do any wrong; and for whom the Labor party, against Green Party/hard left standards are depicted as simply a bunch of backsliders. The net result in terms of ABC coverage is the Labor Party finding itself attacked both from the left and the right. And the irony of all this is the only party in government which consistently funds the expansion of the public broadcaster is the Labor Party. Indeed it was my government that not only did this, but enhanced ABC independence by refusing to make political appointments to its board and subjecting all board appointments to the transparent recommendations of an independent panel.
What did you spend your $1000 on?
Sorry mate. I didn't get the $1000. It was means tested and I was well beyond the threshold. But I'm glad everyone else got theirs and spent theirs because it enabled Australia to avoid recession, kept the economy going and prevented the levels of mass unemployment we saw in so many other countries.
Hello PM Rudd, if you could, how would you fix the NBN?
I think it's critical to return to the fibre optic cable to the premises model. It should be remembered that when we first launched this, it was based on a 9 month long Commonwealth Government process headed by the Commonwealth Treasury including a team of professional corporate and technical advisors. It was their universal recommendation to our government that we build the NBN using the FTTP model. That way we could guarantee maximum bandwidth and band speed in excess of 100mbps for more than 90% of the country - with wireless and satellite covering the more remote parts of Australia. The tragedy for Australia is that this entire project would have been completed by the end of 2018. We would have been world leaders. Instead we are wooden spooners. So we need to return to that model.
Just IMO, the NBN should have been treated the same way as basic infrastructure in the traditional sense. Despite the federal level being charged traditionally with communications there's a pretty straightforward interpretation of the constitution that basically says that the federal level could only be responsible for setting standards, licencing and maybe throw some money at it through explicit subsidies.
And so just treat it the same as electricity, water, gas and sewerage - just shove it all off to the local councils/water/electricity bodies and let them deal with it. Don't even let the states have the opportunity to screw it up.
While it's done brilliantly with Australia Post, the federal level (the Liberals really) has proven itself unable to deal with last-mile telecommunications over the past three decades and for decades to come yet. And the synergies with electricity/water distribution networks, both capex and opex, are undeniable.
This'll also bring down the POIs to a saner level and you've got the backhaul market separate for companies/organisations that feel it necessary to compete there.
At least this way if the coalition gets into power again it's out of their hands to screw it up all over again and it'll be unable for them to privatise the lot without screwing around on a council by council basis.
(i.e. in the Hunter Region it's the state-owned Hunter Water that does the last mile water supply, and Ausgrid the last-mile electricity. Start up NBN Co Hunter Region, owned 30% by Hunter Water, 30% by Ausgrid, 30% by the councils in the area and 10% by NBN Co, which gets a disproportionate share of the revenue/profit for the first 15 years. Let's see the next Abbott take that mess apart).
I agree that the NBN was no different to the rollout of telephone services, telegraph services and postal services across the spread of Australian economic and political history. It's also like the rolling out of road, railways and ports. It's part of the essential infrastructure kit of the nation. Instead, the conservatives and their coalition partners, the Murdoch Party, have traded essential infrastructure in order to satisfy the narrow commercial interests of a single man.
Hey Kevin, what are your thoughts on climate change? What do you believe is the best step forward?
I sit on the board of the Stockholm Resilience Centre which analyses the most recent impacts of climate change on the biosphere. I'd commend your attention to their August 2018 report entitled "Hot House Earth", it's a deeply sobering read. The policy menu for dealing with climate change is relatively clear; price carbon; incentivise renewables (as I did in Australia with the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target of 20% by 2020); increase energy efficiency (e.g through our insulation program and other measures); provide global leadership on next steps after the Paris accord of 2015; as well as a massive global "moonshot" research initiative to unlock the key to long term solar energy storage.
Can you come back, please?
I recently interviewed Dr Mahathir, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, who came back at a very spritely 93. So guys lets gear up for Kevin47... :)
Don't have a question for you but rather a message: It's been 15 months since our last handball duel, when you came to my high school. When's the rematch? Happy to organize it & also happy to travel
Also thanks for the little video you recorded giving me a shoutout afterwards. Was pretty damn cool
Thanks mate. I mentioned above that I'm about to have a bit of knee surgery. Once I've fully recovered from that, I'll be back in harness. So why not something during the winter months this year when I'm back in Oz from America. And then you will be destroyed!
Hi Kevin, how do you think the ALP will be able to bridge the gap between the traditional union and socially conservative side of the the party and the progressive left side? It seems in our world of polarisation it is inevitable and labour will be as doomed by division as the liberal party.
Especially for issues such as immigration and climate change.
You raise a deep question about the structure of politics itself. I cover this in part in the book I've just published "Kevin Rudd - The PM Years" in terms of the structural difficulties faced by centre left parties around the world in dealing simultaneously with legitimate national security and economic management requirements on the one hand; and the imperatives of social and environmental Justice on the other. The Labor Party is capable of straddling these tensions. But it requires a level of political maturity within its ranks, and on the part of its supporters, to manage this tension, rather than to internally exploit it. The conservatives have no interest in social and environmental justice. Whatever they say is purely for presentational purposes. Just as the Green Party have no interest in effectively managing either national security or a market economy. Our party has the capacity to embrace both.
Hi Kevin, how do we reinvigorate the public service? It feels like in today's age the public service has taken a backseat to private consultants and lobbyists in policy development. I have read that you would often be frustrated with the policy proposals you would receive from the public service and ask for additional options to be developed.
How could the public service regain its influence; does it for example, need to be more bold?
We sought to reintroduce a fully independent public service. I refused to make any political sackings unlike Howard who preceded me and Abbott who came after me. Providing a guarantee of permanency is the best means by which any government can guarantee fearless and frank advice.
Hey Keven. Ive been trying my best to follow politics as much as possible. Its exhausting, and a shit show, and it seems to be getting worse. Question is- are we (the general public) all being played and taken for fools?
Look I know it's been pretty dispiriting over the last few years. But if you have time, have a look at volume 1 of my autobiography titled "Not For The Faint Hearted". You can get it online. The most recent volume also details what you can actually deliver by way of long term results through the political process if you persevere. That also means an active citizenry prepared to hang in there as well. Let me give you one small example which is never in the newspapers. ABC for Kids. That was a recommendation that came through the 2020 summit which I convened in 2008. We went ahead and did it. It may not be the most earth shattering reform. But ask parents whether they appreciate having a station which they can rely upon for safe programming for their children when self same parents are being driven nuts; it's simple stuff like that which endures. It's important not to be distracted totally by the external dynamics of the "shit show" that you refer to. Real things can be achieved underneath it all.
Mr Rudd. First of all, whether you answer this question or not, thank you for doing this AMA session. I will begin with the question and then explain why this is a deeply personal issue for myself and others in a similar position, I am sure.
Do you think that a Universal Basic Income is viable, and can and/or should it replace our welfare system, and why/why not?
Now some context. I am in my thirties and have been unable to work for 5+ years now. I suffered a spinal injury, which required surgery, which led to the discovery of a birth defect in my spine that will affect me for the rest of my life. I also have suffered from severe depression and anxiety for most of my life, which has been exacerbated by my situation and has led me to attempt suicide more than once. Unfortunately, I am stuck dealing with Newstart, and have to jump through all of their hoops to receive an income which is barely keeping my head above water. A UBI would ensure that I am able to not only survive, but also allow me the freedom to find a way to meaningfully contribute to society, and break the poverty cycle, that our current system does not. I understand that such a program will have it's teething problems, but with automation exponentially growing and changing the way we will perform work in the future, I feel that a UBI will be essential to humanity's growth.
Thank you again for taking the time to do this AMA.
I'm sorry you've been through such shit. It's one of the reasons why my government accepted the 2020 summit's recommendations to develop and implement a National Disability Insurance Scheme. The whole rational of the scheme was to provide humane support for people either born with disabilities or acquired them. The logic of course is that it could happen to any of us. Therefore we need a system through the NDIS (properly integrated with other government support payments) which ensures that people such as yourself can live with genuine dignity. As to whether this is best delivered through the refinement of the existing payment system or through something to replace it (such as a UBI) I have not yet seen properly modelled. But it's something that an incoming Labor government could give priority to.
Has anyone at the Australian ever apologised for their campaign of misinformation regarding the NBN?
Not to my knowledge.
Good Afternoon Mr Rudd,
If you were still PM, how would you go about dismantling the Murdoch Press?
I think the critical question is first to establish a royal commission with robust terms of reference in order to establish the objective facts on the political abuse of Murdoch's media power. And to do so within the framework of a broader enquiry into the future ownership and diversity of the Australian media - including all media platforms. And empower the royal commission to make considered recommendations for the future on that basis.
We've entered into a period of increasing rivalry between the US and China. Market volatility and strategic tensions are particularly impactful on Australia when these two become increasingly belligerent.
How should we manage our relationship with a US administration that is likely compromised and impressing a volatile international environment in our region?
How can we maintain the stability and integrity of our nation with the rise of a China that is increasingly leveraging it's economic powers in seemingly insidious ways?
Again a great question. They're also complex questions which defy a simplistic answer. Can I recommend you go to my website and have a look at a series of six speeches I gave over the course of 2018 on the subject of the U.S, China and how the rest of us navigate the increasing polarisation in U.S China relations. From memory, I gave one at West Point; one at the Li Kuan Yew School in Singapore; one at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis; one in Jakarta specifically dealing with the U.S. China challenges experienced in South East Asia; as well as addresses to the Asia Society in Silicon Valley and in New York dealing with the emerging trade, economic and technology war between the two.
How should society and the government combat the fake news/manufactured outrage threat from Murdoch's empire?
Personally I don't have much hope for the older generation (judging by Facebook commenters), but I think for the younger generations, statistics and research methods needs to be mandatory in high school (rather than being optional in the form of a Psychology elective).
Learning these skills in University has helped me tremendously during my research and day to day life. I feel it would equip future generations with analytical skills that (mostly) make them immune to bullshit and fear mongering.
First by ensuring maximum media diversity. Second a properly funded national broadcaster with funding levels entrenched in national statute. Third the national broadcaster undertaking independent factchecking of factual claims across the media, including by the national broadcaster itself. Fourth, a properly empowered press complaints tribunal rather than the toothless tiger that currently exists. And fifth, of course, the continued expansion of education opportunities across the country which will install critical thinking in the educational formation of our citizenry.
Will you be involved in the upcoming election and if so, what role will you be taking?
What is your stance on drug decriminalization? It seems that more and more countries are looking towards this as a means of resolving the taxing war on drugs.
I'll campaign where I'm invited to campaign. Already a number of federal candidates and members have asked me three different states.
How do you feel about the way you were treated as a first term prime minister and do you believe that Australian politics can ever move out of this disengaging era?
Thanks for your pastoral concern. I've survived. Not a pleasant experience. In terms of how we break free of the cycle of political violence, the so called "Rudd Rule" I introduced in 2013 has provided more than five years of leadership stability on our side. The conservatives failed to do so. And now we have our third temporary prime minister. For a wider treatment on this subject, please have a look at the last chapter of my book.
Hi Kevin, How do you feel about the ever growing powers (such as the #AAbill) the Australian government continues to give itself in the name of "national security"?
Do you feel the influence of the Murdoch media has contributed to the emboldening of the government, in its continuous push for more power over its people?
It is my view that Labor at the federal level too often "rolls over" for the Liberals when it comes to their demands for new powers in the name of "security", even when this is demonstrably against the interests of everyday Australians (again, such as the #AAbill). Do you agree? If so, why do you think this is?
Thank you for your time.
Please see my response on the AA bill above. I know it doesn't answer all the questions you've raised. But I sense that once this legislation is in force, that there will need to be a full review, sooner rather than later, on any unintended consequences arising from its implementation.
In your opinion do you see as the banking RC a success. All I can see are a few wrist slaps to the people responsible. How would have you done thing differently and do you think anyone will go to gaol over this?
Like everybody else I'm waiting on the Royal Commision's findings in early February. I will comment then. What angers me is how much the banks relied on the Australian government (and through them the Australian people) to support them through the global financial crisis by providing sovereign guarantees for their interbank lending; while many of them seem to have been so slipshod in their treatment of the self same Australian people as customers. A banking licence is a privilege in this country. Not a right.
Oi, Mr Prime Minister, after many jabs with Joe Hockey on Sunrise over the years... What are your thoughts on his actual effectiveness over in the US?
Joe seems to be doing an effective job in Washington as Ambassador. I've seen a bit of him both in D.C and New York. And I wish him well.
In this digital age do you think the removal of the “two out of three rule” in late 2017 is significant or insignificant? For example personally I have not purchased a physical newspaper, actively put on the radio or watched free to air television for years.
For those who don't know what I mean the "two out of three rule" meant that a commercial media owner could only own two kinds of media outlet in one market: print or radio or television.
I do not support the removal of the "two out of three rule" for the simple reason that it further undermines media diversity in our country.
How can Australia reduce it's reliance on an increasingly unpredictable United States while reconciling ideological differences regarding human and civil rights with the worlds current alternative and emerging large economies?
Again a good question. I believe we have to wait for another year or two until the United States resolves its long term political future. The domestic political jury is still out on Trump. My own prediction, for what it's worth, is that he will not be president after the 2020 elections. And the question for the rest of us will then be whether a subsequent Republican or Democrat administration returns the United States to a more conventional, post war pattern of U.S. global leadership of the type we saw during the Clinton, Bush (1) and Obama administrations. If that doesn't occur, then we may indeed be in for a period of profound global readjustment. Including for countries like Oz.
Parmi or Parma?
It's definitely not Clive Palmer. :)
What are your thoughts on the Assistance and Access bill?
Please see my previous comment on the AA Bill.
Hi again Former PM Rudd,
What do you think of the various digital democracy movements around the world?
Here in Australia we have the @voteflux party for example. Do you think democracy is currently working for the majority of Aussies?
I've looked at a number of these over the last couple of years. I think some of them have a role to play including MyVote as well as citizens assemblies. Perhaps a future government could experiment with these in a defined area of public policy concern. Perhaps not a major area at first. But one where the application of the model could be tested without any dire consequences if it didn't turn out to meet expectations.
Why do politicians like yourself only grow a pair and speak up on important issues after you've left?
Why don't you have a look at my questions above on the question of my cander in office and out of office. This iAmA is about Murdoch and media diversity. I was as vocal on this publicly in 2013 as prime minister as I have been in 2018 five years after leaving office. Important to check your facts.
What can we do in Australia to avoid our own political calamity like Brexit or Trump when the public are disengaged, ill informed and easily manipulated by fake news, populist & fringe ideas?
The Christian Right has hijacked the liberal party. In light of this and the dissatisfaction of Australians with politicians what do you think Australia’s political future will look like? Will it be vastly different, new parties or something else?
Is the world witnessing the end of a democratic global era led by the US, and if so what is next.
Why can’t Australia end the ineffective ‘war on drugs’ by legalising and taxing drugs?
Democracy aint dead yet. It's probably the worlds most vibrant idea. All people want to be free. But an active citizenry has to become fully engaged to defend it, reenergise it and improve it for the future.
Australia had a fairly bad history of shootings until laws were changed after the Port Arthur massacre. Since then, the amount of gun violence in Australia has significantly dropped and mass shootings have been practically nonexistent.
America on the other hand, has a shockingly high number of mass shootings. In 2018 alone, there were 340 mass shootings (defining a mass shooting as a shooting in which 4 or more people are injured or killed, not including the shooter)
I’m the leader of a chapter of the March For Our Lives movement, a youth-led national movement working to end gun violence in the United States. We were founded in the aftermath of the February 14th school shooting last year in Parkland, Florida that claimed 17 innocent lives.
As a high level politician from the country that is probably the best example of a country that effectively and efficiently reduced their problems with gun violence, is there advice can you give us? What steps should we be trying to take? What laws do you think would be the most effective in reducing gun violence?
Any advice would be very much appreciated. Thank you for your time.
As I now live in the United States (although I'm home here in Oz for a summer break) I've seen the rolling tragedy of mass shootings across America. America seems to have acquired a case of national "learned helplessness" in dealing with this fundamental threat to national security. I fully understand the power of the NRA. So if the congress cannot enact effective gun control laws like we have in Australia, then I'd recommend a single state legislature do the same. If the NRA or its proxies then challenge that legislation in the US Supreme Court, then let it be on the heads of the Justices of the Supreme Court to either uphold that law or strike it down. That's the way I'd proceed given the realities of American politics right now.
Hi Kevin. Wondering if you have any thoughts on why politicans seem to "find their true voice" only once they leave politics. I often find myself listening to some politician and thinking "Why couldn't you have been like this when you were in power?". Is it just the pressure of the party to "toe the line", or is there more to it?
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