The whole country breathes a collective sigh of relief as a resurgent and revitalised Kevin Rudd is swept back into power. Scenes of joy, dancing and singing in the streets are accompanied by church bells ringing across the land. Priests offer inter-faith-approved blessings, while young mothers, urged on by Mark Latham, kiss their children and rename them “Kevvie”. In celebration of the return of the Labor messiah, Sydney Lord Mayor and progressive strongman Clover Moore promises another fortnight of fireworks at Darling Harbour and free bicycles to all the sitting Green politicians (one) predicted to lose their Federal seat at the next election as a consequence. Queenslanders spontaneously break into enthusiastic applause on first hearing the news of the return of their great hero and the sounds of beer cases cracking open and songs which include the word ‘Maroons’ in them are heard throughout the state. Despite sitting on the opposite side of politics LNP Premier, Campbell Newman, unites the state when he declares a public holiday for all overpaid nurses and takes a symbolic ride on a Brisbane bus.
It is morning again in Australia. Insisting that I had only a minor role in the Rudd comeback I nevertheless feel bound to accept the invitation to the official festivities in Canberra, along with the rest of Labor’s faceless men. Bill Shorten is the first to thank me for convincing him that no less than the survival of Christendom was at stake and acting as I did was pivotal in helping thwart the impending disaster. My memo to Bill late on the afternoon 1/2 an hour before the leadership spill, calling on him to finally put aside any remaining animus he had for the so-called “supercilious prat,’ was decisive he says. My ears redden in modest blush to his fulsome tribute while turning to acknowledge the thunderous applause from the millions of Rudd supporters gathered under the Parliament House balcony.
My next thought is to send a note with commiserations to my old comrade-in-arms, Julia, along with a reassurance that her courageous fight and ultimate triumph over misogyny will not only stand as the hallmark of her reign, but the enduring legacy that she has bequeathed to the Labor Party and to Australia as a whole – for all time. This thought is all uppermost in my mind for a brief second – maybe even less – before I am suddenly distracted by the mighty Kevin as he appears by my side at the balcony. Laughing and joking, he embraces me warmly and slaps me on the back before turning and waving to the crowd in victory. With our two hands clenched high in the air, we are at one.
But, as the great unwashed go wild and burst into rapturous applause again, I start to feel more sorry for Tony than I do for Julia, and the note is quickly forgotten. Besides, she has her knitting to attend to now, while Tony Abbott has an imminent election and a twice risen enfant terrible to deal with.
Julia is probably glad she’s got her knitting to cry into-exit stage right as she entered after a short performance in the limelight. Not much applause just the sounds of people saying if you live by the sword…