The Rise and Fall of a Party Man; How Kevin07endured the Baying Right to the End

Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia), November 16, 2013 | Go to article overview

The Rise and Fall of a Party Man; How Kevin07endured the Baying Right to the End


Byline: Trevor hockins

RUDD-O-FILE 1

All about Kevin Rudd

A Virgo, he was born on September 21, 1957, at Nambour General Hospital.

The youngest of four children, he spent his childhood on a dairy farm at Eumundi.

Six weeks after treatment for injuries received in a car accident Bert, his father, died from a septicaemia infection contracted in hospital. Kevin was 11.

His mother, Margaret, and her young family were evicted from the share-crop farm.

The family, while searching for a home, slept in a car before finding temporary accommodation.

Schooling began at Eumundi Primary School. After his father's death, with the help of the Catholic Church, he spent two years boarding at the Marist Brothers College in Ashgrove. He then came home and went to Nambour High School.

Labor MP and former treasurer Wayne Swan was two years ahead of him at Nambour High, one of the cool kids and school captain. They were not friends

Kevin graduated as dux of the school in 1974.

A love affair with all things Chinese started at the age of 10 when his mother gave him a book on ancient civilisations. After high school, he hitch-hiked south down the coast to Canberra where he enrolled at Australian National University and studied Chinese language and history.

He is fluent in Mandarin.

He was posted to Beijing as a junior diplomat in the mid-1980s with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

KEVIN Rudd seemed to arrive from nowhere.

"I'm Kevin Rudd and I'm here to help," he told Australia as he became the country's first social media prime minister.

The self-professed nerd had carefully groomed a profile as a guest on Brisbane ABC radio and a commercial national television morning show.

He showed energy and intelligence as he jousted in good humour with Peter Slipper, who he had met at university, and Joe Hockey.

He used phrases and words from another age, like "jolly well", "fiddle-faddle" and "fair shake of the sauce bottle".

It was quaint and unusual. Online, he would be dubbed K-Rudd, probably by political enemies, but he took it up as a badge of honour.

His media persona helped to launch what would become the Kevin07 run into the Lodge.

It would displace one of Australia's most popular and longest-serving prime ministers, John Howard.

Mr Rudd and his self-made millionaire wife, Therese Rein, started appearing going to church hand-in-hand with their family.

In Queensland, he had famously used his own money to fight a plan to have Brisbane Airport flight paths directed over his inner-Brisbane electorate of Griffith.

By 2005, seven years after he first won his Queensland seat, Mr Rudd's star began to rise in Canberra.

He publicly railed against the Australian Wheat Board, and helped to uncover that the AWB had had secret, kickback-riddled deals with Iraq at a time when the United Nations had imposed international trade sanctions.

It was an embarrassment for the Howard government.

The rise gathered pace.

Labor needed a fresh face, and none seemed fresher than "young Kevin's".

Beneath the surface, it was a different story.

Inside the Australian Labor Party, he was not a member of a faction. MPs without the hefty support factions offered in Caucus were condemned to the back benches. Mostly.

But Mr Rudd was never all he seemed.

"Kevin has flaws, yes," former premier Peter Beattie, a former political foe, said this week. "But we all have flaws...

"He wants to get things done, and sometimes he forgets the people who he needs to help with that ..."

Mr Rudd has described himself as "a very determined bastard".

"He's a total bastard," Mr Rudd's most bitter enemy, former Labor leader Mark Latham, crowed this week. …

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