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An Open Letter to Mike Carlton

InUnityIsStrengthDear Mike Carlton

As is often the case when I write letters to people, I am writing to you as a representative of a greater group. I think you can guess who this group might be. The Ruddites.

It would be inaccurate for me to say I always read your column in the SMH because I very often don’t. But sometimes I do and I usually find it quite amusing and clever and refreshingly nut-free unlike many other opinion columnists printed frequently in the mainstream press. But the column you published yesterday, on the same topic as The Age’s editorial, was, I’m sorry to say, a shocker. Have you ever heard the phrase: the definition of insanity is doing the same thing twice and expecting a different result? Many of your readers might have forgotten that you wrote on this very same subject – asking the Prime Minister to resign for the good of the country – almost a year ago. Here it is again in case you’ve forgotten. I guess sometimes it’s hard to come up with a new idea for an article every single week. But of all the articles to repeat, this probably had to be the worst subject you could choose, if you wanted to keep your dignity in tact.

The reason I remembered your article from July 2012 was because I wrote about it at the time in my post called ‘The Mobius Strip of Leadership Tensions’. Even then I could never have dreamt that this unrelenting campaign by some Ruddites would still be gnawing away at the stability of Julia Gillard’s Prime Ministership, undermining her at every turn. With only 13 weeks to go until the election, I would have wrongly assumed that Ruddites, deep down, just wanted to beat Tony Abbott and would do nothing to damage Gillard’s chances of doing this, even if it meant having to grit their teeth and support a Prime Minister they obviously don’t like. But that’s the thing that really upsets me about your articles Mike – it’s the fact that you think your opinion of Julia Gillard is more important than saving this country from Tony Abbott.

I’m sorry that your favourite Kevin Rudd turned out to be such a lemon. I really am. I liked him too! He saved us from another term of Howard, and his success in protecting the economy from the GFC should always be applauded. I’m sorry that you were unnerved by a change to the natural order of things when, instead of a blue tie, we got a female Prime Minister, our very first one. I’m sorry you have such trouble coming to terms with life under a female Prime Minister – yes she doesn’t ‘do TV’ quite the same as Rudd used to but I really feel her policy achievements are more important than her voice, and I’m sorry you don’t too. These policy achievements have just kept coming, despite the media mis-representing this success with constant tales of ‘chaos’ in the minority government. If Gillard had achieved less than Rudd, or even just the same amount, I could understand that you might be disappointed with her performance. But the only performance you seem to care about is her performance in a sound bite – which quite frankly is a juvenile way to judge the success of a politician.

What upsets me the most about your Ruddite campaign is that you are the ones fulfilling the mainstream media’s prophecy that instability in the Labor party will be their ultimate downfall. The instability is caused by you. Sure, it might be trumped up and over-reported in the mainstream press, but you’re fueling this campaign with evidence of the instability, at the same time as you’re saying you’re trying to save the party! No one has ever been saved by this sort of stupidity.

What if you and your Ruddite mates, including Rudd himself, had just sucked it up three years ago and got behind Julia Gillard, instead of white-anting her at every opportunity? What if you’d realised that every time you publically showed disunity in the party, you were contributing to the terrible polls that you then blamed Gillard for as being all her fault? What if you shut up for long enough to understand that your public slaying of our Prime Minister is a stick for every media outlet in the country to beat her with, and all the ammunition the Liberals need as evidence of ‘Labor chaos’, diluting the real facts behind the Prime Minister’s success. What if the electorate sees people who want a progressive government, like you say you do, bad mouthing our progressive Prime Minister, and this is all they hear. Julia bad. Tony good.

Sadly, we will never know what might have been if the Ruddites had got behind the Prime Minister, had been loyal supporters of her progressive government, had championed her cause, had stopped the rumours, stopped the calls for her to resign, stopped the leadership challenges that came to nothing and had stopped being the sideshow that the media so wanted them to be. I don’t think the press would have suddenly become experts on policy, and I know they would never have accurately reported Gillard’s success to their readers. Their vested interests in an Abbott victory would never have allowed this. But I do know one thing. Your behaviour hasn’t helped. And now blaming Gillard for the position the party is in now, sounds to me, very much like bully boys blaming their victim.

I know if we do end up with Abbott as Prime Minister, I will sleep well knowing I didn’t contribute to this end. How about you Mike? How will you live with yourself?


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  1. diannaart

    ” it’s the fact that you think your (Carlton) opinion of Julia Gillard is more important than saving this country from Tony Abbott.”

    This is what I simply do not fathom is why the Ruddite’s at this late stage are still intent on dividing the Labor Party.

    There remains an unspoken, but entirely rational view, that Rudd will not ensure a Labor win. It is too late for him to release policies – yet he would simply appear to be Gillard #2 if he was to endorse existing, cost factored policies from the Gillard government.

    Rudd had his chance.

    However, if Labor were to elect either Penny Wong or Bill Shorten – the same applies would they endorse existing policies – which means endorsing Gillard or would they too come up with something completely different? If so, what exactly? Labor has managed to come up with a broad raft of policies designed to lead Australia into the 21st century. I agree with most of them and I don’t believe I am alone.

    The only logical action for Labor to take is to finally stand with their elected leader, Julia Gillard and put the speculative MSM bastards to rest.

  2. Tracy Sherlock

    i got a theory…rudd is in cahoots with the liberals from the word go…i bet he was playing a game to destablise labor from within….some of the remarks from julie bishop and her displays towards kevin are very interesting…i think this line of enquiry should be investigated…its not out of the realm of possibility….kevin is a liberal stooge…

  3. abbienoiraude

    It is not the ‘Ruddites’ at all, silly billy. It is in fact ( like Mike shows ) the MSM!! Can’t expect someone who was in for 18 months to ‘achieve’ the same as someone who has been in for over double that, now can we?
    It was up to the leader to bring the party together. To unite, so there would be no defeat. There is still time for the PM to do this…and if it weren’t for arguments put here and for the ‘Gillardites’ who HATE Rudd then she could do it. I think she has the ability and the nous, the strength and the heart to do it….Or maybe I’m dreamin’.
    Why do I want our PM to do this? I want her to unite her party AND the nation. Do it now do it quickly. It is quite simple really. Just seen talking to, negotiating with, discussing, on the hustings with…Rudd. Done and dusted.
    Then we could make sure Abbott will never be PM!!!

  4. Heather

    Couldn’t possibly love you more Victoria. What’s happening out there makes no sense whatsoever. Your work is inspiring. Keep up the good fight.

  5. irened

    Oh you are so right! every sentence you write rings as true as the church bells rudd likes to hear every week. I used to support the Libs when they were a party of integrity but that went out of the window with Howard andhis lies about women and their babies and Costello hiding the “surplus’ under the mattress while our hospitals, education system roads and other infrastructures were run down. costello and howard rubbed their hands in glee as yet another of our country’s assets were sold off and the profits added to the pile under the mattress. Julia has at least grown this country and it’s about time the men of both sides of politics gave her credit!!

  6. Lyn

    You speak for me too… thank you Victoria

  7. J.Fraser

    I am really quite impressed with how Fairfax are working hard to close down their jobs.

    Why bother buying and reading Fairfax when one can go the the Murdoch Empire and get exactly the same thing from the originators.

    Buying Fairfax is now like buying Murdoch’s Sorbent after he has finished with it.

  8. Sandra Searle (@SandraSearle)

    Hey, what if it is the government that is playing ‘mind games’ with the MSM?

    What if this supposed disunity that is being touted by the MSM is the catalyst to galvanize the support for the PM that is needed.

    What if the reason for the long lead up to the election is so that we can all realize that we have been hood-winked by the best propaganda machine (apart from the 3rd Reicht) in our history.

    What if we all we all keep exposing the Master Puppet Master & his minions for what they are, any way that we can (make sure it is the truth mind).

    What if we keep united & keep TA & his mob out of the Lodge. Now that is what matters.

    It’s not over until it’s over folks.

  9. helenmarg

    Hang in there Julia. Do not let that appalling opposition get the better of you. Wonderful article Victoria . Thanks again.

  10. Gail

    Thank you Victoria.. a great letter. I missed Carlton’s July 2012 effort so was not aware it was a re-run. I was stunned to read his column yesterday and sent him the following.

    8.58 am 22/6


    As one of your loyal foot soldiers over many years I am still shaking like a leaf at your call for Julia Gillard to step down. I feel completely numb – as though I’ve been socked in the bread basket by one of your rugger bugger mates.

    I invariably turn to your column first for its smart, bright, enlightened exposés. I’ve loved your use of the language, your skill at cutting to the chase when it comes to humbug and mendacity. But now it seems you’ve succumbed to the rabid rubbish of the Bolts, Akermans, Jones – the whole Tory “bloketocracy” who must be high-fiving it having read your piece. What an own goal you’ve kicked.

    Julia Gillard has steered this cumbersome hung parliament through a torrid time and seen through a great many important pieces of legislation; too long for my shaking hands to list here. She’s done it with dignity while smothered in the ordure spread by the Murdoch and Fairfax press and shock jocks of commercial radio.

    I too, was a fan of Rudd. But more and more I began to see his sociopathic tendencies rise to the surface. He’d dudded many and Simon Crean for one will never forgive him for wimping out when he did have the opportunity to press for the top job again. You probably know that up here in Queensland during the Goss years they called him “Dr Death”. A strange moniker but one I began to understand during his tenure as PM. Being outed the way he was was seriously wrong. But that doesn’t mean his re-instatement would be right.

    So adios, hooroo, hasta la vista. I hope you get over your bout of Hadleyitis soon. I won’t be checking on your condition but wish you all the best nevertheless.

    Yours in abject sadness,

    Gail Shaw

  11. Heather

    Ha! I love your comment too Gail. So pithy. So spot on. Cheers.

  12. Anne

    Great letter – thanks Victoria

  13. Gail Thompson

    Wow. Thankyou so much for saying everything that I was thinking. I also wrote an email to Michael Carlton and I hope that next time he thinks twice before writing such sexist rot.

  14. Julia

    Never a fan of Rudd: he does not have what it needed to be a great leader. He has betrayed his party many,many times for his own self-promotion. It goes way back and continues today. But, it will never be reported because he is a mole for many in the media. As for Carlton, I watched him briefly on QandA and saw he hadn’t changed: a sexist pig, would be the most polite description I can summons. So, his small-mindness and overblown self-importance is of no surprise. Gosh, that sounds like a lot of media commentators! No wonder Rudd and they get on so well.

  15. John Ward

    She has ideas and a history too far to the left for the Nazi Party descendants that now are living as Australian citizens.
    The society we live in is moving to fascism fast and they have used every means at their disposal. Including the MSM, to denigrate the PM. Particularly the Murdoch press.
    When you have the youth of Australia wrapping themselves in the Blue ensign to proclaim their patriotism. You have the mirror image of the british skinheads (EPL).When they are actually, dishonouring the flag in their ignorance by dragging it along the ground. Something a serviceman or woman would never do.

    The conservatives Rejected the electorate’s verdict in 2007. They demonstrate this by only supporting legislation that reflects their own policies. Anything else is BAD LAW.
    Born to rule has been their default position since Menzies declared his brain was too valuable to waste on the battlefields of WWI.
    He went on to promote Conscription of the lower classes to fight their ruling class wars.
    They were the people who invented the ANZAC myth to cover up the horrific slaughter of the troops when the leadership and politics left our men to their fate of what Murdoch Senior described as “nothing less than bloody murder”. so we got the spin of the” birth of a nation” no less to divert the public gaze from the butchery that had been hidden month after month.
    Right there is where we see the difference between the Labor party and the so called Liberal Party. One stands up for the people and one sees the lower classes as expendable.

  16. Jenny McKinley (@mckinj)

    “Like bully boys blaming their victim’ or rapists blaming the woman for being provocatively dressed, or out alone.

  17. erica booker

    Thank you Victoria for your clear and accurate analysis of Australia’s dire situation. I too am so disappointed with Mike, whose column i usually used to read first in SMH, It is ludicrous to hear the white-anters still calling for our PM to resign ‘for the good of the party’ whilst they didn’t feel the need to support the one who had the majority support. I weep for the future of our country! These nay-sayers have condemned Australia to a dreadful future. However, it’s not too late- can they practise what they preach????

  18. Heather

    Hi Tracy,
    Interesting thought re Rudd being a Liberal stooge.
    I was pondering the same today and now see your comment. Thanks for that. Have always said the problem with Rudd was that he was too wealthy, same for Malcolm Turnbull…they thus are too comfy in their own security, too much to put their lives on the line, if you know what I mean. It’s the wealth club too.

    Murdoch backed him for Labor to win govt?? Or was Howard on the way out. Murdoch did back him from what I have heard. and Murdoch hates a loser. The LN Coalition Opposition are right in to siding with the rich and wealthy. Thus Julie Bishop being palsy walsy with Rudd. Where is Therese Rein in all this? You never saw her, hardly at all when Kev. was PM too…worse than Janette Howard. In fact it was Anita Keating who was last PM wife who made enough public shows to be seen to appear as the wife/woman at the side of the PM. I love how Tim is there now, and him and Julia seem really happy.

    Sure sign of being really peeved was the Rudds buying that huge McMansion in Canberra after he did not have the numbers of support to stay on as leader. They said the house was for the son to live in and Kevin to stay whilst parliament was sitting. It looked big enough to easily match The Lodge and quite a statement.

    Not all the wealthy are weird powering people, Clive Palmer has a giving nature, but I hear some of his employees who lost their jobs are now missing out on some compensation due to them. Same old story with the wealthy…if you are not right with them, you’re gone.

    US Bill Gates seems to be a great person…Ted Turner very green and in to saving the planet. Can you trust the wealthy here in Australia. Well statistics say they are not very good charity donaters. It’s the stuffy wealth club here being pretty mean spirited. Carlton is probably on side with them too.

  19. bernyl

    Great letters to the media Victoria. Thanks so much for your logic and your endeavour. Lets us all keep up the pressure. I sent no less than six PM’s to ABC news management this-morning, complaining that their hourly declarations that KR is NOT going to challenge, is not in any way, shape or form, news.

  20. Kate Rose

    I live in Melbourne and used to access the SMH site to read Peter Fitzsimons and Mike Carlton. No longer any respect for Mike Carlton – he’s become one of Hawke’s “silly old buggers”.
    All these journos writing what their bosses want so they can keep their jobs should realise they will be lost as sales keep going down and pay walls aren’t breached. All they are doing is damaging their brand – none of the strong alternative sites will employ them.
    The Guardian is showing its high standards of journalism and is very choosy who they employ and publish.
    I will never pay for news on the internet. I donate to the sites I am discovering every day though.
    Labor should take Murdoch and Fairfax and the ABC on front and centre – they have nothing to lose – the gauntlet is down. Pick it up PM and go for it. Stand up to these MSM and ABC bullies. Expose Rudd and his followers. Name and shame. Take all these bullies on. No more ‘paying by the rules’. You now have nothing to lose – your backs are against the wall and you have right on your side.
    Whew, all those cliches…..

  21. Irene

    I am so glad I’m a loyalist. I would not have it any other way. A future with a Gillard Government is our only way forward.

  22. John McCulloch

    I could never understand why KR, after being rolled by caucus, just didn’t pack up his bongos, resign from parliament & taken up a nice diplomatic post.

    He must have known that by just sitting on the back-bench he would create instability as the MSM would be watching his every move, waiting for confirmation that he was planning to make a comeback & reclaim his position from ‘that’ woman.

    Sorry KR you were a Prime Minister that no one really warmed to & you were just steering the ALP towards being a one term government, your time had passed.

    Personally I rather go down with Gillard & rebuild the party from scratch if they should lose in September, than watch you trample over Gillard, claiming she was the ‘real’ problem for the loss.

  23. diannaart

    “Personally I rather go down with Gillard & rebuild the party from scratch if they should lose in September, than watch you trample over Gillard, claiming she was the ‘real’ problem for the loss.”

    Me too. I prefer an honest fight/campaign and Rudd and his minders have not shown any loyalty to their party or concern for Australia.

  24. Heather

    Such brilliant articles by Victoria and responses here. Do appreciate it.

    Someone said to me once. “If you fake it, you’ll make it” Did I quite get it? No!
    But it sure looks like what Tony Abbott is attempting to do and still doing it. His punch for the crown no less.

    Aren’t we fighting the tall poppy syndrome, in that the PM Gillard’s Minority Govt has really done a good job, under the most appalling circumstances of, dare I mention the name, some angry and peeved little man/men tearing away all the time.

    Tony Windsor has it spot on correct about Abbott, and what he says about this govt.
    being a very good one.

    The antis are all baying…how dare she’s doing so well, horrors! it’s too good a job, the cheek of her, she needs taming blah! blah!…tear her down. tear her down. Yep! some people cant help it…what drives them to be so thoughtless and destructive? Power, sickness, jealousy?

    I am so cheering her, knowing it’s all happened to me, and almost every other woman brave enough to stand by her integrity, And to the intelligent thoughtful men out there who are supposed to “man up” whatever that means.

    How on earth are we going to sort this planet’s problems if the default is to destroy anything that does good!

    Rudd should stand up beside Therese and make a speech to the Nation about what a good job PM Julia Gillard and her supporting Independents and Greens have done whilst in govt. and reel off all the good stuff which has been achieved. Bring on the good stuff!

  25. Oscar

    Very sad that Kevin didn’t buckle down and act in the best interests of a great party- It really does look like the greatest hissy fit in modern politics and I don’t Rudd will be treated kindly by history.
    Always love Mike Carlton’s columns, often very funny. Don’t always agree with him but at least he is sane unlike many others.

  26. rossleighbrisbane

    Ah, foreign spam! AIMN has made it big!

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