When you think something is common knowledge, when you think absolutely everyone knows something, it’s a bit of a shock to the system to find out you’re wrong.
“What do you mean you didn’t know He-Man’s pet tiger was called Battlecat? What’s wrong with you?!”
“You don’t know every word to the Full House theme song? For shame.”
In much the same way, the ALP was not prepared for the public backlash when they rolled Kevin Rudd in 2010.
They thought it was common knowledge that Kevin Rudd was not performing. The polls had been sliding. He’d been lampooned as the Rudd-bot, reciting phrases like “programmatic specificity.” The party was paralysed, policies were failing or going nowhere and it seemed that everyone knew it.
At least everyone in Canberra knew it. And that’s the problem. Canberra is a very different place to ‘The-rest-of-Australia’.
Kevin Rudd has always been very good at appealing to the people. And when he stood in front of all those TV cameras on June 24, 2010 with tears rolling down his face, the country got behind him. He was “our” Kev and that woman stole his job.
The ALP made a mistake. They never really articulated to “The-rest-of-Australia” why they needed to make the change. Phrases like “Moving on” and “a good government had lost its way” did not resonate with the public. Not nearly as much as a grown man crying over his broken dreams.