“I need to make clear up front I’m neither a Gillard nor a Rudd fan…”
Not because I thought I’d learn much more than I already knew about that period of government, albeit knowing it would be wonderful to watch the tenacious and deft Sarah Ferguson attempt to drag new admissions from the cast of this all too recent political mega-drama.
It’s more that I knew and still feel, that watching the key players reflect on those terrible years – Rudd and Gillard particularly – confirms what I already suspect is true about a) what makes a great ex politician and b) what makes any of us, politician or not, ultimately happy.
I need to make clear up front I’m neither a Gillard nor a Rudd fan.
When Labor was in government I was conducting frequent discussion groups and I will forever, and always, see those two figures through the eyes of the voters chronically frustrated by the dashed hopes and lost opportunities and bungled attempts at communication. I’ve only met them both in passing and not recently, so all my observations here are based on what I’ve seen through the media and stories that people close to them have told me.
We love to trash our politicians. We always have and it has become a national obsession in the last few years. Frankly it’s an extremely difficult job and as difficult today as it has been since Federation. It’s interesting then to reflect on who survives politics best, who manages to remain happy while they are in the job and happy and productive when it’s all over.
Whatever new bits and pieces we learn from The Killing Season, it can’t be denied that both Gillard and Rudd behaved badly at times, made poor decisions and errors of judgement and committed, what could be described as, acts of betrayal. Both lost in the end. But from what I can observe, it is Julia Gillard that seems to be managing life after politics far better than Kevin Rudd. He comes across as still angry. She wears any anger she might have pretty lightly. Perhaps it’s her sense of humour and her naturally sanguine view of political life.
The day Gillard was beaten by Rudd in the Labor caucus ballot, she got a call from former Prime Minister Paul Keating. He told her, “we all get taken out in a box, love”. She recognised the truth of that statement and has repeated it in interviews she has given. You’d have to be both supremely arrogant or utterly devoid of any appreciation of the random cruelty of existence to think you should somehow be totally in control of the way you get to exit – a relationship, a job, or even life itself.