Paul Kryten of the GG is afraid, very afraid:
ANY survey of Kevin Rudd’s policies leads to an inescapable conclusion: that he wants a sustained increase in the executive power of the prime minister across the spectrum of government…
Remember the most important signal Rudd has sent about office is his plan to select the ministry as well as allocate the portfolios. “Let me be clear about this,” Rudd said on September 27. “I’ll be determining the composition of the Labor ministry should we be elected to form the next government of the country.”
This is a direct strike for greater prime ministerial power over the factions and the caucus. Rudd’s bid for this power is unqualified and courageous. It sounds Whitlamesque in its “crash through or crash” intent. It is a break from tradition and reflects Rudd’s distrust of factional influence. It is inconsistent with the caucus rules and requires caucus consent.
Rudd has chosen to confirm only three ministers, Julia Gillard in industrial relations, Wayne Swan as treasurer and Lindsay Tanner in finance.
The rest of the ministry is open…
Nonetheless, Kelly predicts:
Once this paper is received Rudd intends, among other things, to “write a more comprehensive national security statement”. Such formalisation of a national security strategy has been resisted by Howard.
Such initiatives must be seen in context. Rudd would be the most security aware incoming PM since Malcolm Fraser in 1975. He will have in Robert McClelland as foreign minister and Joel Fitzgibbon as defence minister, deeply inexperienced incumbents. It will be a situation with a PM versed in security policy, equipped with an advisory apparatus that exceeds anything Howard built, and with novice ministers…
Well, he can’t have it both ways – either Rudd is frightening because beyond the three confirmed ministers we don’t know who’ll be in the Labor cabinet, or we do know that Robert McLelland and Joel Fitzgibbon will be in the cabinet and they’ll help Rudd make some scary arrangements for national security.
On second thoughts, he can. That’s what panic mode is all about.