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13 Things Kevin Rudd Told Us About His New Book (That Definitely Isn’t About Revenge)

Malcolm Turnbull is a "fraud" and Peter Dutton is like the "Stasi".

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Former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd sat down with BuzzFeed News to chat about the first in his two-part biography, Not for the Faint-hearted, on the eve of the 10-year anniversary of his Kevin 07 winning campaign.

Alan Porritt / AAPIMAGE

The book follows the ups and downs of Rudd's life from his birth in rural Queensland in 1957 to the night he was elected Australia's 26th prime minister in 2007.

BuzzFeed News sat down for a chat with the former Labor leader about his time in parliament and what he thinks of the current state of politics.

1. This isn't a revenge book, it's an "accurate reflection of the period".

Facebook / Via Facebook: MrKRudd

Rudd doesn't have very nice things to say about his former colleagues, including Wayne Swan, Stephen Smith and Stephen Conroy. But the book doesn't have anything particularly nasty to say about Julia Gillard, as it only covers until 2007.

"If you go to the index you'll see a whole bunch of references to Julia...all of them are positive and that's an accurate reflection of the period.

"She was my partner, she was my deputy and we worked fantastically together as a team, as we would have continued to have worked, had she not done what she then did in June of 2007 when she thought she could pull a swifty. The Australian people never forgive that.

2. He still hasn't forgiven Julia Gillard and Labor's "faceless men" for the coup in 2010 that removed him as prime minister.


Despite the book he was spruiking only covering the events of his life from birth to the night he was elected as PM, Rudd brought up the 2010 coup eight times in his 25-minute chat with BuzzFeed News.

3. He won't be running for secretary-general of the United Nations again...and it's all Malcolm Turnbull's fault.

Joel Carrett / AAPIMAGE

"There was one opportunity to run and that was last year, because the UN has this crazy rotational system whereby it's the turn of Western countries this rotation. And once that's through it then goes to other geographical groupings of which we are not a member. This was the one opportunity.

"And Turnbull said to me that he would back me, that's why he told the New Zealand prime minister at the time, John Key, to release Australia from the promise that Tony Abbott had made to support Helen Clark.

"So what we had was, Malcolm Turnbull making a plan that he was going to back me and then at five minutes to midnight he got scared, the conservative wing of his party were telling him to do whatever they wished in terms of climate change, in terms of same-sex marriage, in terms of renewable energy, in terms of coal ... told him also to not support me for an endorsement for the UN secretary generalship and Turnbull rolled over and played dead."


4. Rudd and Turnbull used to be "very close" but now their relationship is "non-existent".


"We had a very close relationship but an act of such direct personal betrayal when he said repeatedly to me in his office as prime minister, prior to becoming prime minister, and as communicated through his foreign minister Julie Bishop, that I had his support, and then to change his mind at one minute to midnight, that's an act of first class betrayal ... I suppose that's politics.

"It's not the way in which I would chose to conduct politics with someone if I had given them an undertaking like that."

5. KRudd is voting "yes" but doesn't take any responsibility for not legalising same-sex marriage during his time as PM.

Facebook: MrKRudd

When Rudd was elected in 2007 he said he wouldn't change the Marriage Act in his first term, but agreed to hold a parliamentary vote if Labor was re-elected in 2010. Gillard then took over as PM and refused to change the party policy.

Why? Rudd says because "one of the factions which supported her leadership bid, the [SDA, a union for retail, warehouse and fast food workers], are deeply conservative, deeply Roman Catholic and deeply hostile to any change in the Marriage Act".

Rudd has been involved in the "yes" campaign, talking about his godson who was allegedly punched by someone pulling down rainbow flags in Brisbane.

He's sent out messages for the "yes" campaign in Mandarin, explaining to the Chinese community why they should be voting yes.

"I cannot for the life of me understand why Turnbull doesn't simply do as I promised to do in 2013 which is open it to a vote in the parliament, let the parliamentarians vote the way they want, the thing will pass, end of story."

6. Scott Morrison is "nasty" and Peter Dutton reminds him of the "Stasi", East Germany's secret police.

AAP Image

In a game of word association, KRudd told BuzzFeed News he thought prime minister Malcolm Turnbull was a "fraud", former prime minister Tony Abbott's "mad", treasurer Scott Morrison is "nasty", and he compared immigration minister Peter Dutton to the "Stasi", the East German secret police.

7. Tony Abbott is a "destructive conservative force in national politics" who likes to "box people in the head".

Mick Tsikas / AAPIMAGE

"Tony Abbott is probably the most destructive conservative force in national politics that we have seen since B.A. Santamaria and frankly his views do not belong to the Australian mainstream.

"Abbott by his very nature likes to be boxing people in the head. Abbott by his very nature wants to be in conflict and controversy. If you asked Abbott what's the sort of Australia he wants to build for the future, he'd stumble in his answer...unless of course the monarchy is attached to the answer."

But Rudd's wouldn't offer any advice to Abbott on whether he should try again for the leadership, or leave politics.


8. Malcolm Turnbull is being "loose with the truth" and Rupert Murdoch is to blame for how crap the NBN is.


"Malcolm Turnbull is being loose with the truth yet again.

"What Turnbull and Abbott did after they won the 2013 election, was that they turned [my government's] proposal on its head and rather than being fibre optic to the premises they turned it into fibre optic to the node. That is, this mystical point somewhere in the suburb. What does it mean in practice? That the poor punters in order to get decent bandwidth and decent [download] speed would then have to pay to link the cable from the node to their own house or simply be dependent on the remaining copper cable from that node to their own house, which slows down the entire network. No wonder, therefore, no-one is taking it up! Because they have changed the proposal 100%.

"The reason they have changed it 100% is because it suits the interests of News Limited."

News Limited, now known as News Corp Australia, is Rupert Murdoch's media company, and it owns newspapers, magazines, pay TV and other media outlets.

"News Limited did not want fibre optic cable to the home. Why? Because it would provide automatic competition for their Fox cable monopoly here in Australia by enabling companies like Netflix to go straight to the premises with their own movie products. This was pure, crass, commercial interest on behalf of News Limited.

"News Limited bagged the hell out of the Labor government's national broadband network for those reasons. And surprise of all surprise, the Turnbull-Abbott plan for NBN turned out to be identical with the News Limited plan. Go figure."

9. It's absolute "codswallop" that the idea for a national broadband network was first drafted on a back of a coaster.

The Australian / Via

Last year The Australian newspaper reported that the original idea for the NBN was scribbled on the back of a drinks coaster by Stephen Conroy on board a VIP flight.

KRudd says that's not true.

"That's codswallop, that's just codswallop. I often jot things down on the back of menus and bits of paper, but that's not where it was planned. It's just part of the normal slander from our political opponents."

10. Rudd thinks both parties are to blame for the rise of Pauline Hanson because they're not offering up any good policy ideas.

Mick Tsikas / AAPIMAGE

"Where is the policy direction, the big long term policy direction for this country which is now underperforming economically in the world? Where we are seeing the rise of Hansonism and we are seeing Australia retreating from its global responsibilities, including on climate change.

"Where is the long term vision, where's the long term planning?

"I think when those questions are answered by either side of politics you'll start to see a return to normality.

"The reason why so many people in Australia are now, as it were, migrating to the extremes, look at what's happening with support for Hansonism in Queensland, is because they no longer believe they've got a stake in mainstream politics because mainstream politics doesn't deliver.

"When Labor or the conservatives resolve that they've got to bring those people back on board, give them a stake in the future, create opportunities for those who currently don't have them and carve out an economic plan for the country's future which can deliver long-term sustainable growth then frankly, instability in Australian politics will then fade away.

"But until that happens these deep structural factors will continue to cause our politics to be much more unstable than it should otherwise be."

11. Since he was deposed in 2010, Rudd says politics has been in "disarray".

Aap Image / AAPIMAGE

Since the 11-year reign of Liberal prime minister John Howard, no-one has survived in the top job longer than three years. Abbott served one year and 362 days, Rudd two years and 286 days, and Gillard three years and three days. Turnbull reached the two-year milestone last month.

Rudd says the instability can be traced back to when he was deposed in his first term.

"Since then, Australian politics on both sides of the house has been in some disarray as a result. There's a reason for that, is that those who engineered the coup back in 2010 created frankly a new set of norms — that ... if a political leader at some point, a prime minister, was going to go through any political difficulties, then you simply remove them. It was a bit like putting the garbage out at night.

"That's the culture they created. It's a pervasive and dangerous culture and it's a destructive culture, but it's infected both sides of the house."


12. Australia needs generational change in politics like New Zealand and France...and it doesn't matter if it's a 17- or 77-year-old.


"Such a person could be 17 or 27. They could be 67 or 77 or 22, it doesn't matter. The question is whether they have a coherent policy vision for the country's future, building a strong sustainable economy for the future, providing for environmental sustainability, playing our part in sustaining the planet through effective action on climate change and a social justice agenda that keeps everybody on the bus."

13. Rudd is still researching and writing volume two, which will cover the 2010 and 2013 leadership spills in all their gory details.

Alan Porritt / AAPIMAGE

"I'm still in the business of researching that period...we'll see what I find.

"If you look at this's got more than 1,000 end notes, and that's because I actually believe in something called evidence rather than just shooting from the hip, and I'm doing the same for the second volume as well."

Alice Workman is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Canberra.

Contact Alice Workman at

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