A smiling KRudd greets former prime minister Bob Hawke. Photo: Harrison SaragossiFederal Election 2013 coverageHave your say at YourViewElection Live with Stephanie Peatling
Like emotionally damaged relatives to a dysfunctional family reunion, they mostly turned up. There was Hawkey, perma-tanned and hirsute, like a Floridian retiree who had doddered into the wrong condo. He smiled and raised his hand in a Windsorian wave. His wife Blanche d’Alpulget, in white pedal pushers and a hot-pink top, glided at his side, an escapee from the Golden Girls set.
Next, Paul Keating, aged but ever-elegant, introduced as “Australia’s greatest Treasurer!”, words that made Wayne Swan sink ever lower into his seat. Keating’s date, the earnestly inscrutable John Faulkner, looking like he was having as much fun as a Mormon at an orgy.
And then, the Rudds. No political family smiles longer or harder. Therese Rein was splendid in a pink opera coat, Jessica Rudd sparkled fresh in apple green. The prime ministerial sons trailed meekly in their power-glamour wake.
No references to the Labor Party were discernible until Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese took to the stage to buoy the crowd with his idiosyncratic brand of Tory-bashing.
“Tony Abbott is no John Howard,” he said, and for once he didn’t mean it as a compliment.
Sure, Tony Abbott would be a great bloke to join you for a morning run. He would (let’s face it) be a better pick for your footy team than One K. Rudd. You know which feller you would back in a fist fight.
But it was Kevin you wanted running the country. A hard worker, focused on his vision for the country.
Soon the helpful visionary himself, introduced by wife Therese, appeared in the room’s far corner. He posed for a moment, in Cindy Crawford-esque hold, before catwalking to centre stage.
He spoke with gusto about family, jobs creation, the Labor tradition of a fair go, carbon pricing and education. He introduced coherent Labor-sounding policy about TAFE funding and support for tradespeople. He said that Labor had plenty of fight, and it wasn’t done fighting yet. It was a great speech.
If only he had given it weeks ago, they whispered.
In her heartfelt and humanising speech introducing her husband, Rein told the story of the day she sent her husband to the hardware store to buy a mosquito candle. He came home with a visionary swag of home improvements items – everything from secateurs to a step ladder, Blu-Tac and Roman flares. And no mozzie candle.
A cynic might say this wee tale was an unintentional insight into Kevin the Visionary.
You task him with something simple like buying a mozzie candle, and he comes back with equipment and plans enough to operate an interactive outdoor barbecue space for a modern working family striving to meet the challenges of a clean energy future as it moves into the Asian century.
You can’t say he doesn’t think big. It’s just that sometimes, all you really want is a mozzie candle.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.