Posted by : Adrian

Kevin Rudd, leader of the Australian Labor Party, has had his credibility stripped bare (no pun intended) by the admission that he visited a strip club in New York in September 2003 when he was shadow foreign affairs minister. He attended the club with the editor of The New York Post, Col Allan.

According to staff at the Scores Club in Manhattan, he acted “like a perfect gentleman” and complied with a directive from club management not to engage in any inappropriate behaviour. He stayed for about an hour.

According to some media sources, this incident has affected Rudd’s chances of winning the coming election. Personally, I disagree. I think it shows that Kevin Rudd is a human being like the rest of us , subject to errors of judgement. Curious to see if the reports of a slip in his approval rating were true, I took to the streets of Sydney with my colleague, Axel, to see what people thought.

2.00PM   We are in the CBD, in the Pitt Street Mall. It is pouring with rain and quite cold but there are still plenty of people around. Art, 24, from Paddington, is wondering what all the fuss is about.

ART: It’s not like he went to a brothel or anything. He told his wife about it too. The liberal party are just muckraking ‘cos they know they’re going to lose the next election. At least he was man enough to admit it. He’s gone up in my estimation. John Howard (leader of the Liberal Party and Australian PM) would just have denied it and said he was baking scones with his wife or something.

AXEL: I agree. What’s wrong with strip clubs, anyway?

Doreen, 61, from Turramurra, thinks Rudd’s behaviour is disgusting.

DOREEN: He’s really gone down in my estimation. He can say it was just part of a night out, that he was too drunk to notice, but he’s in the public eye. I hate that argument of ‘I’m only human.’ Not everyone goes to strip clubs, Mr. Rudd.

Doreen’s daughter, Melanie, 23, disagrees.

MELANIE: It’s not such a big deal. It doesn’t mean he’s a pervert. Many women go to male strip clubs too, especially on Hens Nights.

Tashi, 43, has mixed feelings about the incident.

TASHI: On the one hand it makes him seem like a bit more of a bloke but on the other it turns this image he has made for himself of the perfect, Christian upstanding guy into a bit of a lie.

AXEL: Don’t you think people are entitled to a few mistakes in their lives?

TASHI: Sure. I know I’ve done some stupid things on nights out with my friends from work that I’ve regretted afterwards but I’m not running for office. On the face of it, it’s not that bad a thing. What it does do though, is plant a seed of doubt in the mind of the public.

I think Tashi has summed up what most people are feeling about Kevin Rudd – that there is much more to this man than meets the eye. It’s definitely a case of what you see is not what you get.

AXEL: So are there any strip clubs open in Sydney at 2 in the afternoon?

I decline to answer on the grounds I may incriminate myself. This is Adrian Sandler, from Sydney.

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