The Fragrant Goodness Of St Kevin


It’s time, Australia. Time to stop ducking and weaving. Time to stop evading and avoiding. Time to be honest, with ourselves and each other. It’s time to ditch this fear we have of hard questions, and finally get to grips with the hardest question of all: just how wonderful is Kevin Rudd?

Of course, we knew that Kevin Rudd was a pretty great guy before – his record speaks for itself. And if it doesn’t, he will.

But it’s only this week that we’ve gotten an inkling of just how great he is. By coming out in public and proclaiming his support for same-sex marriage, Rudd has shown us his true colours, and those colours are a beautiful rainbow.

This latest announcement can be added to the already lengthy list of Rudd’s achievements in the service of humanity: the apology to the Stolen Generations; the seminal children’s book, Jasper and Abby and the Great Australia Day Kerfuffle; that time he was on Q&A.

More than anything else he has ever done or said or vaguely hinted at, Rudd's gay marriage announcement will be his legacy as a true driver of social change. Let’s run through the ways in which this really is an epochal moment in Australian political history.

First, COURAGE. Too many politicians nowadays lack courage. Look at Labor’s cowardice in the face of the mining lobby, for example, or Michelle Rowland’s craven submission to the demands of her sick daughter. But here Kevin Rudd has staked a claim to the greatest act of political bravery since the last time Christopher Pyne went out in public.

For what could be braver than standing up against the powerful forces of the anti-same-sex marriage lobby, led by all-powerful puppet masters Jim Wallace and Fred Nile?

What, in a country where there remains such hostility against the very idea of same-sex marriage, where people dare not even mention the idea save in hushed voices in the dead of night, could take more sheer guts than standing up in public and saying, YES, despite the mighty battalions arrayed against me, despite the enormous weight of public opinion running in opposition to me, despite refusal of the mainstream media to even countenance the idea, I am in favour of same-sex marriage?

For Rudd to risk his reputation on such an unfashionable niche idea really took some stones, and many other politicians could learn from his example. Hopefully some day in future we’ll find another politician willing to publicly back same-sex marriage.

Second, there is the matter of progressivism. The Labor Party has become intolerably conservative in recent years. Some days it seems as if your average Labor MP would rather give a tongue bath to Jamie Packer than seize control of the means of production. That's if your average Labor MP understands what either of those things mean.

One might think the domination of the party by unionists would ensure a proper left-wing perspective, but as the escapades of Julia Gillard and Craig Thomson show, unions themselves aren’t all that progressive these days, being more concerned with funding sex romps and helping boyfriends steal money than with workers’ rights.

But for those true believers who still dream of a labour movement that really stands for something, Rudd’s change of heart will be a breath of fresh air. Hope for the proletariat springs eternal, as long as there is a man willing to fight for same-sex marriage and in all likelihood other things as well. After all, if Rudd will push for same-sex marriage, he’ll probably push for other good stuff. I reckon. It seems likely. You can’t rule it out, anyway.

Third, politics. For several years those of us on the left have been searching for a chink in Tony Abbott’s armour. We first tried pointing out that he’s a dickhead. When that didn’t work, we changed tack and began telling people that he’s a wanker. Finally we resorted to saying that he sucks. None of these diverse tactics have found success, but perhaps Rudd has found the answer.

It makes sense. Tony Abbott doesn’t support same-sex marriage, but other people do support it. Therefore, if someone else does support it, those people will support that someone else, instead of Tony Abbott. Right? This is called logic; maybe we could use a bit more of it in public life.

Now, of course there is a problem, which is that Kevin Rudd is not technically prime minister right now, because due to an oversight by our founding fathers, the constitution contains no clause specifying that whoever most strongly supports same-sex marriage gets to be PM. This will obviously change in future, but for now, Rudd is a backbencher with little ability to take the fight directly to Abbott in the devastatingly successful way he no doubt would.

The answer is obvious: Julia Gillard must step aside. She’s seemed reluctant to do this up till now, but I think the fact that Rudd now supports same-sex marriage will make her realise it’s the right thing to do. I know that she doesn’t support it herself, but I’m sure she recognises that this is only because of her innate moral deformity.

How could Gillard fail to give way to someone with a more highly evolved ethical framework? She may have many faults, but being unable to admit to her own dreadfulness has never been one of them.

Previously her intransigence was surely due to the fact that Rudd didn’t support same-sex marriage. “Why should I let Kevin be prime minister,” she would have thought to herself, “if he’s just as essentially evil as I am?” Now that she knows he’s a better man than she is, she’ll be announcing her resignation any minute now.

And so, by the simple expedient of ascending to a higher and more enlightened state of being and demonstrating his fragrant goodness, Kevin Rudd has ensured a Labor renaissance and a better future for all Australians.

Thank God for Kevin, and for his happy knack for being right about things. His reign will surely be a glorious one.

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.