Rudd heralds 'making a difference'
FOREIGN Minister Kevin Rudd was given a rousing welcome when he spoke at the Red Dove Hall, in Lismore, on Saturday.
Mr Rudd had come to speak on foreign aid and he was listened to with rapt attention.
The Member for Page, Janelle Saffin, accompanied the former prime minister, who described her as “one gutsy lady”.
There are two types of politicians, he said: those who want to make a difference and get out there to work towards that goal; and the second, who just want to be there for the sake of being there, to be admired.
It was not a comment about political parties but about individuals.
As prime minister he had worked closely with Ms Saffin on what was happening in the local health services, he said.
“And the stories from you as a community about local cancer treatment, the difficulties of getting access to the full range of cancer care, the other health-related needs in the area – if you have a powerful local advocate he or she makes a difference, and this one has.
“There were still many things to do, but the key to it is to have someone with the ferocity of a terrier who gets a hold of the trouser leg of a prime minister and just doesn’t let go until it happens.
"That’s this one.”
Ms Saffin was one of the most effective members of any political party in the country, Mr Rudd said.
The idea of “making a difference” provided the theme for the rest of Mr Rudd’s 45-minute talk.
He outlined some of the need for foreign aid – including the fact that 1.4 billion members of “the human family” lived below the poverty line.
Rather than feel powerless in front of such problems, by being a good global citizen Australia could make a significant material difference in many of those people’s lives, he said.
Come question time, a woman said she had been unhappy with the way Mr Rudd was ousted as prime minister, and that she hoped he would be back in the role one day.
The 250-strong crowd roared their approval.