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June 07th 2016 print

Christian Kerr

From Lemon to Pachyderm

Kevin Rudd's self-promoted image has undergone quite the evolution, from a homeless waif burning his underpants to stay warm to the challenger of 2007, who assured voters he was Howard-lite and nothing to worry about. Now, according to his latest tweeting, he is a rhinoceros

kevin lemon“I’m Kevin. I’m a rhino,” a certain former prime minister Tweeted yesterday.  Despite the famous Scores visit it had nothing to do with that certain chain of “gentlemen’s clubs”, Spearmint Rhino, nor to a prominent horn, or so one hopes. Instead, it was all for World Environment Day.

Still, like many of Rudd pronouncements, not least those memories of incinerating his Y-fronts to ward off the cold, it verged on the deeply weird. One could even imagine that Kevin Rudd, given his talent for self delusion, actually believes himself to be a rhinoceros. Rudd clearly feels he’s displaying an endearing if idiosyncratic wit. It’s actually deeply disconcerting. And it’s part of something worse.

In Britain they talk about the TB-GBs, the era when tensions between then-prime minister Tony Blair and his chancellor, Gordon Brown, made government almost impossible. KR-JGs doesn’t have the same ring about it, but the three years between June, 2010, and the same month in 2013 in Australian were characterised by a brutality that far outmatched the warring in Westminster. Indeed, the entire era from when Rudd became Labor leader in December, 2006, to meeting his Waterloo three years ago must still give most voters the shudders. The fact that he’s merrily campaigning away to become United Nations secretary-general when all his flaws have been so comprehensively identified and catalogued only adds to the oddness of it all.

On a related note, pre-poll voting begins today week and the parties’ advertising campaigns have begun in earnest.

So far the Coalition has largely gone negative, although “Malcolm Turnbull’s plan for jobs and growth” has scarcely been a campaign that seizes the public imagination. Perhaps “The Turnbull Liberal team” should just flash some of Kevin’s tweets on the screen, along with a reminder Labor made him their leader. Twice.