Monday, 18 October 2010

Kevin Rudd called UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon "Spanky Banky", Barrie Cassidy says in new book

  • From:The Australian
  • October 18, 2010 1:28AM
  • FOREIGN Minister Kevin Rudd and his office privately referred to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as "Spanky Banky", according to a new book.

    ABC TV's Barrie Cassidy writes in his new book Party Thieves, published today by Melbourne University Press that Mr Rudd also demanded the man he replaced as Labor leader, Kim Beazley, who is now a US ambassador, organise meetings for him after he was dumped as leader.

    These included talks with US Secretary of State Hilllary Clinton and the UN secretary general.

    "It was this second meeting - clearly designed to illicit (sic) a job that had some journalists more than mildly amused, namely those privy to a private encounter in Japan two years earlier,"Cassidy writes.

    After chatting to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in a corridor, which Mr Rudd refers to as "the summit holding pen", the Chinese President Hu Jintao approaches.

    Caught without his interpreter, Mr Rudd a fluent Mandarin speaker steps in to translate.

    Recounting the tale that night, the then Prime Minister was "stoked" according to Cassidy and tells "gobsmacked" journalists that the UN secretary was so impressed he approached him to discuss food security.

    "In the office, we call him Spanky Banky!,"Mr Rudd then said.

    "Spanky Banky? That would be the secretary general of the United Nations, the first person that Rudd formally approached about a job when he lost the one he had," writes Cassidy.

    "It was yet another of those juvenile and totally inappropriate remarks that so often left those around him wondering what he’d done with all that diplomatic training."

    In Party Thieves, Cassidy also reveals:

    * Julia Gillard, Wayne Swan, Karl Bitar and Kevin Rudd and Mark Arbib all but agreed on an early election at a roundtable discussion shortly after the collapse of Copenhagen talks but the then Prime Minister changed his mind without telling his colleagues, instead returning from holidays to release a children's book Jasper and Abbey and the Great Australia Day Kerfuffle.

    * Malcolm Turnbull turned on Joe Hockey when the author asked him if the treasury spokesman would run for the leadership on December 1, telling Cassidy as he left the ABC studios, "How would you know. He's so weak."

    * Gary Gray, the former ALP national secretary and now Special Minister of State thought Mr Rudd "weak"for using Peter Garrett as the fall guy for the insulation debacle describing the former PM and his office as "disgraceful, weak, sneaky, unprincipled and just plain wrong."

    Comment is being sought from Mr Rudd in relation to Cassidy's claims he referred to the UN secretary general as Spanky Banky.

    Party Thieves published by MUP was released today.

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