Follow by Email

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Bill Ludwig - Kingmaker

The Imposing figure of Bill Ludwig with Paul Howes

Bill Ludwig, now 76, is a big wheel in the Labor Party who started his working life as a shearer in Queensland. He's also the National President and Queensland state secretary of the Australian Workers Union. His son Joe Ludwig is an ALP Queensland Senator and Minister for Human Services.

Joe Ludwig

If you think that the union movement in Australia isn't a force to be reckoned with, think again. Bill Ludwig is now questioning Kevin Rudd's loyalty and thinks he's a loose cannon - seeking media attention and talking freely about what went on in the party room while he was PM and he wants him to stop.

I think it's ironic that Mr Ludwig is speaking about loyalty when he was one of those who voted to sack Kevin Rudd and put Julia Gillard in his place. On that fateful night only 10 months ago, Mr Ludwig was there with Paul Howes and confirmed that he had lost the backing of their union so he was out.

Lugwig said it was "typical Kevin" when he said on Q and A that some people in the party wanted to shelve the ETS. He added "Geez, he's out there and everybody can see him. Kevin's Kevin. Kevin comes first, second, third and fourth."

Rudd called Ludwig and Howes "factional thugs" for declaring war on Rio Tinto and attacking Trade Minister Craig Emerson for suggesting they moderate their language. But that's the way real men talk, isn't it?

Ludwig said he lost confidence in Kevin Rudd after the Copenhagen Summit refused to act on climate change which meant the ETS had to be shelved. "The guy just had nowhere to go - he didn't try to defend his position, he just dropped it," Mr Ludwig and "His mistake was to place "too much political capital in Copenhagen".

"When it fell over he was stunned. He couldn't believe he couldn't persuade all of those 140 countries or whatever they were that he was right and they were wrong . . . he misjudged the whole process of Copenhagen."

So what will Bill Ludwig do if Kevin doesn't behave and stop talking to the media - does he have the power to put him on the back bench?