Rundle on Ruddock


In Crikey:

There was the old demeanour — the skin like wet paper mache, waiting to be molded, the hair like a wreath of cigarette smoke. Ruddock, a man of liberal instincts some years, decades, ago, took on the refugee thing for complicated reasons. It chewed him up, and spat him out, and the result, pulsating with resentment and vindictive and premature triumph, is what we now see on our screens.

I don’t agree with Rundle’s argument that Rudd won’t play as hard as Howard on refugees (wait until a few more boats land and we’ll see) but, gosh, the man can write. Which is why it’s nice that the lead essay in the forthcoming Overland 197 is some Rundleism on New Labour and the Ruddites.

Jeff Sparrow

Jeff Sparrow is a Walkley Award-winning writer, broadcaster and former editor of Overland.

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  1. I remember meeting Ruddock years ago during my time as Copyright Manager at Viscopy. The way he nodded and frowned when I spoke about our member artists and the carpet-baggers who walked into their dry communities swapping six-packs for traditional paintings and resold them for several thousand dollars. I remember his Smithers-like assistant, a hot young lawyer (probably of Sydney Uni ilk), who basically did all the talking while Ruddock nodded as if he knew what we were talking about. And when I left the office for the bathroom, the weird security guard in the hallway dressed all in black looked at me totally deadpan when I said ‘BOO!’ as I walked past. I remember the impression he gave that he was listening when we said resale royalties were one of the only practical ways to ensure that however people got hold of our artist’s paintings. The way my boss believed we’d made real progress and he quietly voted the notion out of parliament anyway. And mostly the way the hear on my arms literally stood on end when I had to shake his hand. Not an experience I remember fondly.

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