The 4350water Blog highlights some of the issues relating to proposals for potable reuse in Toowoomba and South East Qld. 4350water blog looks at related political issues as well.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Kevin Rudd throws a tantrum when RAAF forget his happy meal ...

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd reduced a young female RAAF cabin attendant to tears with a tirade over his missing "special" meal during a VIP flight.

Mr Rudd's bully behaviour appalled some senior Government officials who witnessed the dressing-down on the flight from Port Moresby to Canberra in late January.

See - Courier Mail - Kevin Rudd's rant over meal leaves cabin attendant in tears.

Australia's Prime Minister behaving like a 5 year old at McDonald's ...  wants a hot meal ... not a sandwich ... wants no red meat ... wants his fruit for dessert ...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The public image in all spin spin spin.

10:33 AM, April 03, 2009

Anonymous newswatch said...

The Australian:

Summit seating plan leaves Kevin Rudd in far-off Siberia

April 03, 2009

GORDON Brown joked yesterday that he did not think Nicolas Sarkozy was unhappy enough with the G20 process to get up and walk out during the summit's big dinner at 10 Downing Street, but Kevin Rudd must have been hoping that the French President did storm off.

At least then Rudd could have jumped into Sarkozy's seat. In the diplomatic niceties of summit seating plans, and in the strictest diplomatic parlance, Rudd's own place at the table was a shocker.

The Prime Minister is delighted that the shift from a cosy G8 of only the richest nations to a more democratic and diverse G20 has given Australia "a seat at the table" in reshaping the world's economy, but he could not have guessed what an ordinary seat he would end up with.

Rudd was seated last night between Ethiopia and Spain - in other words, in Siberia.

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and Meles Zanawi are not even paid-up members of the G20, and were simply invited along to London by the British Prime Minister to try to make the gathering "more representative". Zapatero is the unpopular chap who celebrated his 2004 election by pulling Spanish troops out of Iraq and he annoyed Barack Obama this month by pulling his troops out of Kosovo. He was banished last night to a dinner seat that was still one place better than Rudd's. The only way Rudd's seat could have been worse would have been to have him out in the kitchen helping Jamie Oliver do the dishes.

The Australians have dismissed all talk of there being a class system at work within the G20, despite reports that we have been ranked by British diplomats as a "Tier Two" nation. And to be fair, Rudd was not totally isolated from the meaningful asides being swapped at the centre of the banquet table.

Had he stood up and yelled, he could have got the host to pass the salt along five table settings, and had he leaned forward to smell his roast Welsh lamb and then craned his head to the left, he could have just made out the star of the night, Barack Obama, eight seats away.

Did nobody tell Gordon Brown that Rudd was the only person at the table who could speak Mandarin to China's Hu Jintao? They must have forgotten, because instead of getting to talk to the Australian, the Chinese leader was placed in the prestige spot to the right of the host, putting him next to Sarkozy.

Rudd was down at the end with Pascal Lamy and Jose Manuel Barroso, two other ring-ins who don't even have their own countries to represent.

Lamy came along as head of the World Trade Organisation and Barroso was there on behalf of the European Union, which was already represented by Czech leader Mirek Topolanek, the holder of the EU's rotating presidency.

Topolanek lost a vote of confidence in his own parliament last week and has made himself unpopular in London by declaring that the call by the US and Britain for a big fiscal stimulus is "the road to hell", so he was put in his place last night by being seated in Rudd-like obscurity at the far end of the table. As Rudd chatted resentfully to his fellow also-rans, he might have asked Kgalema Motlanthe, South Africa's lacklustre stopgap of a President, to lean over and see whether he could hear what the big boys and girls at the middle of the table were talking about.

Angela Merkel and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner got to sit with Obama because they were the only women at the table, but jealous looks would have been cast at Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia and Korea's Lee Myung-bak, who snaffled the best seats in the house.

While Obama was schooled in Indonesia, Rudd must have been asking his fellow Siberian, Stephen Harper of Canada - perhaps the dullest man at the whole table - what the Asian pair had done to deserve a spot between the host and Obama.

Suffice it to say that Harper is considered boring even in Canada.

In the lead-up to the summit, he droned on that Canada deserved a hearing because its surprisingly resilient banking system and low public debt left it well placed to cope with the recession, which has pretty much been Rudd's own message.

Two of the world's seven AAA-rated banks are Canadian, Harper says. Four of the world's 11 AA-rated banks are Australian, Rudd points out.

But Harper at least has a handle on his country's role in London.

"We're big enough to matter but not big enough to be a threat to everybody," he told the Financial Times this week.

There has been a rumour among the sherpas this week that the old G8 club has been circulating documents and drafts among themselves in a separate diplomatic circle within the G20. If so, Harper would be in that loop because Canada is a member of the G8.

10:48 AM, April 03, 2009

Anonymous happymeal said...

Rudd will be furious that this is dominating the news and not how he alone 'saved' the world at the G20 summit. The four letter words will be flowing!

11:12 AM, April 03, 2009

Anonymous newswatch said...

ABC News:

Turnbull seizes on Rudd's air rage admission

3 April 2009

Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull says Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's admission that he behaved badly towards a flight attendant shows he only tells the truth when he is forced to.

Mr Rudd has publicly apologised for verbally abusing a flight attendant and reducing her to tears on a Royal Australian Air Force flight in a row over food earlier this year.

However News Limited has reported that Mr Rudd's media advisor, Lachlan Harris, initially denied the incident happened when first asked about it.

Mr Turnbull says Mr Rudd had every reason to apologise but has questioned why the incident was apparently denied.

"Prime ministers should tell the truth and if they are asked questions they should answer them frankly. We have seen a lot of disingenuous conduct by the Rudd Government lately," he said.

"You get the feeling with the Rudd Government that they only tell you the truth when they've been found out."

Mr Rudd was forced to answer questions over the incident during a media conference after the G20 meeting in London about his outburst.

The outburst reportedly happened after he was unable to get a special non-red-meat meal.

Mr Rudd said he had a "discussion" with an attendant about food but later apologised during the flight.

"Prime Ministers make mistakes. I've made mistakes, I'm sure that's one of them."

Asked if he had a bad temper, Mr Rudd replied: "All of us are human, I'm human, I'm not perfect ... and I said before if I upset anybody on that particular flight I'm really sorry, I apologise for it.

2:10 PM, April 03, 2009

Anonymous newswatch said...

Daily Telegraph:

Bad genie out of Kev's bottle

April 04, 2009

HIS lips said sorry but the rest of him did not.

That's body language expert Michael Kelly's verdict on Kevin Rudd's G20 attempt to explain his epicurean air rage incident.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Mr Kelly said the PM had seemed defensive and irritated when questioned about his abuse of a RAAF stewardess who failed to deliver his desired meal.

Mr Kelly said Mr Rudd's apology seemed insincere.

"The `I'm really sorry' was a Clayton's apology. He wasn't really sorry.''

Mr Kelly said Mr Rudd was like a ``tightly corked bottle'' and his exterior calm belied a hidden furnace of emotion.

"There's a lot going on with Kevin Rudd,'' he said.

Mr Kelly said Mr Rudd had also hesitated and looked away while answering many of the questions.

"He didn't want to deal with it.''

He said Mr Rudd was "making excuses when he should've just copped it''.

12:11 PM, April 04, 2009

Anonymous newswatch said...

Daily Telegraph:

Ruddy hell, he's got a temper

By Laurie Oakes
April 04, 2009

IT CAN'T be the same Kevin Rudd, can it? Surely the cranky-pants who reduced a female RAAF flight attendant to tears over a meal mistake on his VIP jet is not the same bloke who ordered Belinda Neal to undergo anger management counselling?

Apparently so. As an apologetic Prime Minister said in London when the story leaked out, he's human like the rest of us.

He has flaws and one of them - according to a long-standing acquaintance - is that "Kevin's not flash with people who work for him''.

But there's more than that behind the mid-air Rudd rage incident.

This column can reveal the Prime Minister has been involved in a long-running spat with No.34 Squadron which operates the VIP flights.

"He has issues with them and they have issues with him,'' a source said yesterday.

Those issues came to a head when Rudd had his brain snap on the flight from Port Moresby after the Pacific Islands Forum in January.

Not only did the PM's "special'' meal - he prefers fish or chicken to red meat - go missing.

There were no meals available for any of the politicians and senior bureaucrats accompanying him.

Only light refreshments were served and - since the Boeing 737 took off at 9pm and it had been a long day and the plane was not due to land in Canberra until the early hours - that was deemed inadequate by Rudd.

He did not hide his irritation, the 23-year-old RAAF steward on the receiving end of the blast wept and (despite a subsequent apology from the PM) an official report was filed by the VIP fleet group commander.

It blew up because there was history.

There had been problems involving catering before - 6am flights out of Canberra, for example, on which breakfast did not arrive.

It is not as if anything elaborate was expected - given all Rudd normally wants for breakfast is Vegemite or honey.

The belief grew among those around Rudd that standards in the VIP squadron had become sloppy.

The PM would ask for a cup of tea and a flight attendant would arrive carrying a glass of orange juice.

Rudd would be engaged in an important in-flight ministerial meeting and a RAAF staffer would enter the cabin and interrupt the discussion.

Rudd does not handle this sort of thing well.

He developed a set against those he thought were not upholding the standards expected on VIP flights.

Over the same period, people associated with the VIP squadron had become sick of what they saw as the PM's royal ways.

They felt he treated them as menials and they were upset by the way he spoke to them.

It is not as though those who staff the VIP fleet are unused to prima donnas. Gareth Evans was no slouch and Mark Latham made a mark during his one election campaign.

Rudd's behaviour must have been remarkable to produce the reaction it did.

There was resentment over repeated cancellations of flights at the last minute, or long periods spent waiting on the tarmac for the No.1 VIP to turn up.

A source said yesterday: "It became war.''

An air war - and now the RAAF has shot the PM down.

The PM should be under no illusions - the revelation that his sharp tongue caused a young woman to cry will damage him.

According to officials on the plane, Rudd's expression of displeasure to the attendant was pretty low on the Richter scale by his standards.

And it is true, as his defenders argued yesterday, the tantrum was trivial compared with the great events preoccupying the PM this week.

The G20 leaders summit in London on how to deal with the recession sweeping the world was about as important an international meeting as you'd get and Rudd's role in it was not insignificant.

Should we care that the Prime Minister has a temper if he is doing the right things to try to protect Australia's economy from disaster?

Maybe not. But in politics small things can often have a big impact.

As Rudd prepared for the G20 he basked in the glow of an opinion poll showing his popularity at an extraordinary level - up there with Bob Hawke at his peak.

But the PM will not remain popular if the punters decide that what they see is not the real Rudd.

That is why the story is dangerous. It is the first public confirmation of claims there are two Rudds - the cheerful Kevin that viewers of Seven Network's Sunrise program came to know and a darker figure.

According to a Rudd admirer who has few illusions: "He just doesn't have a good bedside manner. You would never employ him in a job in human resources.''

Cabinet colleagues, Labor MPs and Government staffers have no shortage of stories about the PM's temper.

A close Rudd associate once told a friend of mine: "One day something will happen and it will all come undone.

All it will take is for someone to spill coffee on him when he thinks there are no cameras there.''

Another person who knows Rudd well says: "It's one thing to be cranky, but he can be cruel.''

So Belinda Neal probably has cause to feel miffed. She may well feel that somebody needs to counsel Rudd.

Julia Gillard may be the person to do it.

As acting Prime Minister, she could phone Rudd and repeat the comment she made when details emerged of Neal's abusive run-in with staff at Iguanas nightclub.

"As a general statement about politicians,'' Gillard said, "we should be treating the people who deal with us with respect.''

12:14 PM, April 04, 2009


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