Rudd. The Resurrection.

July 13, 2013

Picture: Kym Smith. Source: The Daily Telegraph

Rudd is back in the hot seat, and it seems like he is going to give the election a good crack. It will at least be a whole lot closer than where we were heading just a few weeks ago.

Labour and their strategists are faced with selling the notion of Rudd, the rejuvenated. The man who has been to the top, had a look, and is now back again.  The changed man.

The story/picture Labour (and their strategists) can create is one that actually sounds like it could ‘wash’ with the public. It’s a story that also suits the Australian psyche, “I’ve been there, I learnt. I am back and better than ever”. If delivered magnanimously and without veering off track once, it could work. It portrays him as a listener and arguably is an illustration of leadership (that he can take his medicine and learn from it).

The question is now, how much damage have the Labour party inflicted upon themselves? Six months ago, many in the party were Rudd bashing. Now he is their leader. Many people will dislike the seemingly vindictive manner in which he went about retaining the top post. In the end, this may harm him when it comes down to voting.

One thing you could almost put the house on, is that he will campaign better than Abbott. He will try to overtly demonstrate his ability to think on his feet, and speak, to juxtapose his audible style over Tony Abbott’s stunted manner. 

Rudd will welcome a debate about the economy. He’ll point to the GFC and Australia’s ability to swerve around a recession travelling head on. His ideas to Tony’s negativity.

Abbott needs to cast Kevin as the villain. The man who played games with the most honourable post in Australia. That he is just there to look after himself, while Tony respects the importance and integrity of the post. Tony will highlight Labour’s inability to manage itself, let alone the country, or a scheme/program.

The polls are showing that Rudd is making a real fist of it. People seem happy Kevin is back.  When we look across the community, and the cultural context of the time, Kevin being back appears to be a powerful statement by the Labour brand - one about creating stability. Past research has illustrated to us that uncertainty is a huge driver of discontent. The notion of a stable figure will be an important dimension in a time where people are feeling increasingly out of control, unsure of where things are heading.

More importantly, Rudd is a more known entity than the potentially extreme views of Tony Abbott. Kevin may be, just may be, the spoonful of sugar Australia has been looking for over the past 2 years.

Let’s hope the debate gets taken to another level.