Campaign countdown: Kevin Rudd in five words or less
The passing of Kevin Rudd’s prime ministership has caught many publishers off-guard and this website is among them. Last month we launched a subscriber competition offering entrants the chance to win a $1000 Tiger Airways voucher for the best description of Kevin Rudd in five words or less. In the middle of the competition we sort of lost the prime minister.
We are not alone in this predicament. Both Annabel Crabb and David Marr have just released books about that guy who used to be PM – you know, what’s his name – and satirist Jonathan Biggins is putting the finishing touches to a book about the Ruddster due out in September.
The interesting thing about our competition is that in the initial weeks the entrants reflected many of the gripes and grievances which cost Rudd his job, and as it came to a close last week, and with Julia Gillard securely installed as PM, it turned into a derisory reflection on the Rudd era.
The consistent theme with the earlier entries was that the PM had been a disappointment, that he had misled or dissembled over major policy issues such as the ETS, that he had failed to live up to the promise of Kevin07, that he was a nerd, a wonk, more of a technocrat and diplomat than a convincing Prime Minister.
Many of the 6190 entrants focussed on his appearance and his personality: “Small Grey Garden Gnome” wrote Malissa Mooney, “Like a Star Wars ewok” wrote Tommy Carron, “Bullied child getting his revenge” wrote Laura Austin. Many readers called him Mister Sheen and the Milky Bar Kid and Tintin. “Jellyfish that is lacking conviction,” wrote Phillip Hollis.
Several readers tried to run Mr Rudd’s hokey saying “fair shake of the sauce bottle” into a five-word sentence – spelt various as “shaika” the sauce bottle or with an Irish twist as “shake’o the sauce bottle” – but being sticklers for detail we can’t accept those six-word entries.
Of those who liked him, many liked him by default. “Marginally better than Tony Abbott” wrote Rachael Powell, “Regrettably better than Tony Abbott” wrote Phoebe Tan, “Slightly more believable than Abbott” wrote Jon Hollamby. Unarguably, Matt Balgowan wrote: “Thinner than Joe Hockey.”
But to our top 10: Just for the use of language, Brett Robinson is one of our 10 winners with is description of the PM as “Splendiferously coiffed and eerily bespeckled.”
We’re not sure what it means but another of our 10 winners, Liam Austin, described Mr Rudd as “Soup in a test tube.”
Equally baffling was fellow winner Tristan Roussett who described the PM with one word: “Sesquipedalianist.” (Look it up in your Macquarie.)
Another of the winners was less oblique, but funnier. “International Geek Pride Day Spokesman” was Richard Altmann’s contribution.
Two other winners focussed on Mr Rudd’s use of rhetorical language to coin their five-word assessment: Danae Meadows with “Let’s be frank about this” and Braddy H with “Let me just say this.”
Creepy but entertaining was our eighth winner, Dianne Manning: “My Nan’s secret crush.” We really hope her grandma doesn’t read The Punch.
The most prescient and matter-of-fact of the earliest entries was from winner Tanya Spiros, who wrote a prediction: “To be replaced by Julia.”
She was right. By the end of last week as the competition drew to a close the criticisms of Rudd were replaced largely by triumphalism at his demise, with a few isolated pockets of compassion.
A few that we liked: “Kevin 07 Gillard 11” from David Murphy, “Great backbencher” from Doreen Field, and “Better named Kevin Rudder-less” from Sandra A Pearson.
But our final two winners were “GILLARD-tined!” from Lisa De Giorgio and this grimly accurate offering from Scott Bell: “Going, going, going, going….gone.”
Thanks to everybody who entered the competition.
For today’s campaign countdown, most of the newspapers are still poring over the latest wranglings between the Government and the mining industry over the RSPT, and there’s plenty more speculation about an early poll. The piece that’s likely to fire up talkback is this one from Nick Tabakoff in the Tele: Rudd will receive $600k a year in his pension for the rest of his life. Our lines are open now.
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