Daughter’s novel exhumes Rudd’s political corpse

Sid Astbury

Sydney (dpa) – If Jessica Rudd’s novel is made into a film, the female lead would have red hair and the man she knifes to become prime minister would have a blond mop.

Straw-topped Kevin Rudd, victim of Australia’s most sensational political assassination, was expected to be the star turn at the launch party for Campaign Ruby in a Brisbane bookshop.

The victor in the party putsch six weeks ago, redheaded Julia Gillard, could rightly claim to be too busy soliciting votes for Saturday’s parliamentary election to attend.

Rudd, the 26-year-old daughter of the former premier, reckons to be as amazed as everyone else that real life has mimicked the plot of the book she finished long ago.

“I mean, what a coincidence,” she said. “I picked up the phone to call my publisher and said, ‘Michael, my book’s coming true!’ And he said ‘You know, Jess, you didn’t make this happen.'”

What happened June 24 was that Gillard deposed Rudd, making him the first prime minister in the nation’s history not to complete a first term.

Even though it was exactly as the budding writer had predicted, the former premier’s daughter said she was thunderstruck when reality replicated the plot of Campaign Ruby.

“When I sat down to write this book about 12 months ago, I had absolutely no idea this was going to happen,” she said. “I mean, Dad was on sort of stratospheric approval ratings.

“So it was a bit of a shock when, on June 24, I was in Canberra and found out what was going to happen – quite spooky really, a bit sickening to be honest.”

To make the most of the eerie parallel, the publication date for Campaign Ruby was brought forward and the deposed premier recruited to preside at its launch party.

“He says he’s sort of two-thirds of the way through it,” she said.

Perhaps her bookworm father will wait until the outcome of the election is known before tackling the final scene where the carrot-topped deputy stabs her flaxen-headed leader.