23 September 2009

OPINION: Rudd outburst an abuse of power

Opinion article published on News.Com.AuSeptember 22, 2009 9:16AM

THE latest airing of the now infamous Kevin Rudd temper suggests that, despite his protestations, the PM has bullying tendencies and needs counselling.

By his own admission Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is a workplace bully.

Reports this week that Mr Rudd verbally abused colleagues in a profane tirade during a discussion about printing allowances have not been denied by the Prime Minister.

In fact, they have been defended with the PM saying, "I make no apology for either the content of my conversation or the robustness with which I expressed my views."

So what was the "robust content" Mr Rudd was talking about?

"I don't care what you f---ers think," Mr Rudd reportedly told Labor faction representatives. "You can get f---ed. Don't you f---ing understand?"

Let's not mince words, because Mr Rudd clearly doesn't.

The Prime Minister's behaviour in the workplace could be seen as workplace bullying all over Australia, including the Australian Capital Territory, where this unsavoury incident took place.

If Kevin Rudd were running a corner store, carpet store or real estate agency, his staff would be well within their rights to claim workplace bullying, and seek support and compensation.

In a normal workplace the abusive boss could be forced into counselling. But, apparently if you're the PM, it's just "robust" discussion.

What rubbish.

Imagine if a story broke in the Sunday Herald Sun and other Sunday papers that Kevin Rudd was overheard talking to his wife, Therese, like that?

Imagine if someone saw Mr Rudd standing there red-faced telling Therese: "You can get f---ed. Don't you f---ing understand?" What do you think the reaction would be?

My guess is there'd be an enormous public outcry, with most sensible people concluding the behaviour was a form of spousal abuse.

Now, I assume Kevin doesn't treat his wife like that. So why does he feel it's OK to treat his staff like that? Why should they have to put up with it?

The answer is that they shouldn't. Actually, you could also argue that as Prime Minister, Mr Rudd is no ordinary boss and should be held to a higher standard. And yet he seems to get a free pass and the right to smugly laugh off his abusive behaviour, hiding behind words like "robust".

Calling someone a "f---er" is not robust. It is abusive and Kevin Rudd needs to pull his head in.

I don't care if this is the way it's always been. Up until a few years ago the same lame excuse was used to justify bosses sexually harassing secretaries, and a while before that the same excuse was used to allow husbands to rape their wives.

Clearly, Kevin Rudd has a problem and he needs to put his hand up and acknowledge he needs help to curb his abusive tendencies.

There is, sadly, a pattern here. You'll remember Mr Rudd also screamed at a hostess on a RAAF flight when not happy with his meal.

Imagine being screamed at by the leader of the country because he didn't like the meal you had brought him.

Talk about a power imbalance.

And not only is he a bully, he is also apparently hypocritical.

This is the man who sent Belinda Neal to anger management counselling after she abused a staff member at the Iguana nightclub in NSW.

Clearly, Kevin, we hate in others what we hate in ourselves.

And, by the way, where is the intellectual Left during this debate?

Surely they should be speaking out against this latest outrageous example of workplace abuse. Their silence speaks volumes about how little they really stand by their principles.

If that was my husband or child being abused by a boss like that, I would be insisting the bully was brought to account.

Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister of Australia, it is time for you to clean up your act before you abuse somebody else.

And I would say to those members of Parliament who were at the meeting and saw or were subjected to the abuse, it is not simply enough to leak this story to a newspaper.

If you really believe in protecting Australians workers from abuse in the workplace, you have a responsibility to make a formal complaint about your boss's behaviour.

Sharryn Jackson, Maria Vamvakinou, Carol Brown, Michael Forshaw, Don Farrell and David Feeney - you have a clear responsibility not just to each other, but to workers everywhere.

The Prime Minister is a nasty bully and his flippant justification shows he doesn't get it.

His bullying won't stop until he is made to stop.

It's time to remind the Prime Minister his behaviour wouldn't be accepted in any other workplace in the country.

Source: http://www.news.com.au/opinion/rudd-outburst-an-abuse-of-power/story-e6frfs99-1225778072502

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