Truth Will Out: Australian public deserves full explanation, says expert

Political historian Dr David Burchell says the Federal Labor party risks losing what’s left of its credibility unless it engages more directly with voters to give them the full story behind the ongoing leadership tensions between Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd, and the reasons why Labor’s Parliamentary Party clearly viewed Rudd’s leadership as a failure.

Dr Burchell, the author of political books including 'The Prince's New Clothes: Why do Australians Dislike Their Politicians?', says voters deserve to know why Kevin Rudd was toppled from the top job in the first place, what mistakes were made under his leadership, and how it is he is suddenly in the position to contest for the leadership again.

“This is not just a question of Labor’s credibility: it goes to the heart of democratic governance,” says Dr Burchell, from the UWS School of Humanities and Communication Arts.

“You can’t expect Australians to be engaged with current political debates, or to make reasonable judgements on them, unless you confide fully and tell the people what’s actually going on. Julia Gillard has revealed more today by describing Kevin Rudd’s office as having been gripped by ‘paralysis’, but this is only the beginning of the story Labor needs to tell.”

Dr Burchell says Ms Gillard may have meant to act honourably when she chose to keep the ‘back-story’ of Labor’s great internal crisis a secret, but her political judgement was profoundly flawed.

“If the electorate is taken into Labor’s confidence they may be sympathetic or they may be unsympathetic, but they will at least know the facts. When secrecy rules, paranoia and myth-making usually follows – and this is what has happened throughout the Rudd fairy-tale. Unless they truly come clean as to what happened between 2007 and 2010, and the mistakes Labor made in office over that time, Labor will struggle to present itself as a competent political party, let alone a competent government.”

To arrange interviews with Dr Burchell please contact the media unit at or 9678 7075.


23 February 2012

Contact: Mark Smith, Media Officer