Published 25 June 2010 · Main Posts ‘Politics is all about people’ Matthew Sini That line from David Marr’s article in the SMH this morning struck poignantly home, following a brief discussion about Rudd with a colleague. This colleague used to work for the Goss Government, all those years ago, and had many interactions with Rudd back then – and always dreaded those interactions. Rudd would demand things, and often demand that they be delivered to him with impossible haste. Contrast this to other people in the Goss government, this colleague suggested, who for the most part asked politely for things. Sure, politics is not about being polite or kind, but is there perhaps a lesson here? As Marr suggests, Rudd was not much of a ‘people person’. For him it was work, work, work. And then some more work. One could assume people were just tools to facilitate the completion of that work. Perhaps this is why he won few friends among the people he worked with. And perhaps this is why the events of the past few days transpired the way they did. I noticed I was not the first person to draw a comparison to the horse, Boxer, in Orwell’s Animal Farm. ‘I will work harder’ was Boxer’s solution to every problem. Orwell intended this as an allegory of the Russian working class and their subsequent exploitation by the Stalinists, but we could draw a parallel to Rudd here too. He had his blinkers on, worked harder and expected everyone else to do so as well. If I remember correctly, Boxer dies from running himself into the ground. A strong work ethic is to be commended, of course, and coupled with Rudd’s intelligence, seemed like it could work. But a workhorse has little time for civility, because all his time is spent working. Not everyone is a workhorse. Although I may sound like someone’s granny, and it may be a minor, trivial point to make, in politics, as in life, it’s always a good idea to use ‘pleases’ and ‘thank yous’. Matthew Sini Matthew Sini is a writer currently based in Melbourne. He has published essays, plays, screenplays and fiction in both Australia and overseas. More by Matthew Sini Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 25 May 202326 May 2023 · Main Posts The ‘Chinese question’ and colonial capitalism in New Gold Mountain Christy Tan SBS’s New Gold Mountain sets out to recover the history of the Gold Rush from the marginalised perspective of Chinese settlers but instead reinforces the erasure of Indigenous sovereignty. Although celebrated for its multilingual script and diverse representation, the mini-TV series ignores how the settlement of Chinese migrants and their recruitment into colonial capitalism consolidates the ongoing displacement of First Nations peoples. First published in Overland Issue 228 15 February 202322 February 2023 · Main Posts Self-translation and bilingual writing as a transnational writer in the age of machine translation Ouyang Yu To cut a long story short, it all boils down to the need to go as far away from oneself as possible before one realizes another need to come back to reclaim what has been lost in the process while tying the knot of the opposite ends and merging them into a new transformation.