Saturday, August 24, 2013

Character is destiny, Mr Rudd | Daily Telegraph Miranda Devine Blog

Character is destiny, Mr Rudd | Daily Telegraph Miranda Devine Blog

Despite his genial, cheery persona, here was a glimpse of the other Rudd we have heard about, a nasty, volatile man.

Before Fontana was harassed into deleting her Facebook post on Thursday, fellow Brisbane make-up artist Abigael Johnston added a comment: “I second this Lily. I have had a very similar experience! Must run in the family as Mr Howard and Mr Costello were gentlemen with a capital G. Mr Abbott is following in their footsteps.

“The other, I could not even Facebook how he treated the crew. Just abhorrent!’’

We have enough circumstantial evidence to say that Rudd treats people he regards as lower status as insignificant and unworthy of courtesy.

This is why Fontana’s observations were significant. Kevin Rudd has form. The RAAF flight attendant reduced to tears when she brought him sandwiches instead of the vegetarian meal he requested.

The persistent story of the tantrum over a hairdryer in Afghanistan, which he denies.

The high-five with a limelight-hogging preschooler that ended with a squeeze that made the child say “Ouch’’. The chip snatched from a reluctant stranger’s plate.

And there are untold stories which also go to character.

A former soldier, Arthur, on duty at Kabul International Airport one wintry day in 2007, remembers Rudd’s first visit to Afghanistan as PM.

It still hurts to recall the bags of eagerly anticipated Christmas mail due on the plane.

Before Rudd landed, a senior officer warned the troops there would be no mail. Rudd had “insisted his entire entourage fly with him on the same aircraft so they offloaded all the mail’’, says Arthur.

One of the Diggers broke the silence: ``Johnny would have brought the mail.’’ As in Howard.

When Rudd arrived, he shook hands with Arthur, who was wearing an eye patch because an allergic reaction to a vaccine meant he couldn’t close his left eye when firing his weapon.

“What’s up with you?’’ asked Rudd.

Arthur explained.

“So you aren’t celebrating International Pirate Day then?’’ quipped Rudd.

Arthur didn’t see the humour in the joke.

Three years later, Arthur was on his way out on leave when his plane was diverted to Tarin Kowt to pick up a VIP whose plane had broken down.

It was Tony Abbott. Once airborne, the Opposition Leader walked to the back of the plane and told the troops: “I just want to apologise for stealing your aircraft and holding you up. I know you all have somewhere you would rather be.’’

Arthur remembers Abbott took time to speak to each person in the cargo hold.

Reputations are built up bit by bit, through chance encounters, small connections, word of mouth. But once they jell, it is impossible for even the cleverest spin doctor to supplant them.

Character is destiny.

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