Regular readers will know that I've been banging on about his clear incompetence and lack of vision for nearly two years.
The question that we can now start pondering is this; how will history view Kevin Rudd?
Here's my prediction:
1) Worst prime minister in history
Rudd has one thing going against him that his Labor predecessors do not and that is that he is reviled within the Labor Party as the vicious, petty, non-substance tyrant that he really is. Therefore, those people who write history - the left significantly outnumbers the right in this area - will be happy to smash Rudd in order to rehabilitate the reputation of one of their heroes, Gough Whitlam, hitherto Australia's worst ever prime minister.
2) Lost opportunities
Left wing, revisionist historians such as Henry Reynolds and Robert Manne etc regularly attack the right for the so-called 'lost opportunities' of their governments. These lost opportunities are almost exclusively made up of large infrastructure projects that the left deems necessary. The Howard government chose to give back surpluses by way of tax reductions, as they should. This is anathema to the left, which believes that government spending is by definition good, as it stimulates the economy. Keynes really does have a lot to answer for. However, Rudd has been the master of left wing 'lost opportunities' and most recently when he chose to abandon the current Holy Grail of left wing government control of the economy - the emissions trading scheme. Historians will not forgive him for not doing a deal with the Greens.
3) Cast out and outcast
In the same way that former Labor leader Mark Latham is now an outcast from the party, Kevin Rudd will first be cast out by his senior front benchers and almost immediately become a Labor outcast. There are already rumblings in that regard. Ministers who have had to take the fall for Rudd's policy incompetence are now leaking information to the media that it's the PM to blame and not, for example, Peter Garrett for the insulation fiasco. Or Gillard for the rorting of the school building fund. The list goes on. Once the next election is over the knives will come out and I predict Rudd will last less than a year as leader. Once defeated, he will resign from parliament in a fit of pique and force a by-election.
4) Failure on the economy
The list of fiscal fiascos is becoming a national embarrassment. In less than two years the Rudd government has managed to munch through the massive surplus left to it and increase Australia's debt from nil to the nearly $100 billion that the Howard government cleared away during its terms in office. Not only that but it has also announced an increased tax on profits from mining companies, which will be used to fund an increase in superannuation. Can you imagine Hawke or Keating coming up with such a negative, economy killing policy? Rudd and his advisers are completely nuts to
increase structural costs by taxing a variable revenue stream. That can only lead to deficits once the Great China Boom becomes an inevitable Bust. Did they learn nothing from the global financial crisis? Other than spending like drunken sailors, obviously not.
I'm sure there are other negative legacies that historians and political commentators will write about. Feel free to add your thoughts in comments.