Thursday 19 April 2007


Facing an election on matters of grave national and international importance, the amount of media interest in the Rudd Vietnam story has been ridiculous

An outsider arriving in Australia last week would have assumed that Kevin Rudd had hurled abuse at Australia’s Vietnam Veterans and poured scorn on their service. The amount of media energy expended on this story once again shows a democracy terribly distracted from the many serious issues at hand by nonsense.

Hours of television and millions of pages of newsprint were devoted to a beat up of monumental scale. Whatever is being said about the “false dawn” service planned for Vietnam, it was always dependent on the agreement of the veterans who were intended to participate in it. Major events, including those as reverent as an Anzac service often make compromises for television coverage. It can easily be argued that such tweaking gives a wider audience an opportunity to share in the event complementing its significance.

The idea that it is sacrilege to canvas the possibility of an earlier service with interested parties is extreme. Neither is there any indication that Kevin Rudd was involved in such canvassing.

So, his failure was to miss an email from an important military figure - an unfortunate oversight. The lack of perspective of many commentators who suggested that Rudd’s failure on this matter was comparable to the Howard and Downer oversight failures with the AWB in Iraq is distressing.

The Blairesque “spin at all costs” style of his media machine is the only thing that the Opposition Leader needs to apologise for.

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