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GQ (Australia) - - INSIDE GQ -

Like many, I re­mem­ber where I was when Kevin Rudd be­came prime min­is­ter in 2007. At a friend’s 30th birth­day and in the midst of cel­e­bra­tions, a group had bro­ken away to watch the call­ing of seats that were mostly swing­ing. It made me think that around 30 must be one’s po­lit­i­cal com­ing of age, as never be­fore had we, as friends, bonded over the run­ning of our coun­try. Now, look, I’ll be hon­est and ad­mit that I tend to swing in the vot­ing game, and ‘Kevin 07’ was a cam­paign suited per­fectly for me. K Rudd was pres­i­den­tial in de­liv­ery, mod­ern in both his tone and method of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and the ab­so­lute an­ti­dote to John Howard’s out-of-touch and frus­trat­ingly con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment. From his vic­tory speech to some of the early ac­tions of the Rudd gov­ern­ment – such as the apol­ogy to In­dige­nous Aus­tralians for the Stolen Gen­er­a­tions and the Aus­tralia 2020 Sum­mit – Kevin and his cab­i­net flled many with both hope and a slight sense of ex­cite­ment. It seemed that sen­si­ble, in­clu­sive and pro­gres­sive gov­ern­ment could be a re­al­ity. Like many, I also re­mem­ber the day that Rudd’s po­si­tion of prime min­is­ter was chal­lenged and sub­se­quently taken from him in the clos­ing months of his frst term. Com­ing home one night in June 2010 to an an­nounce­ment from Ju­lia Gil­lard that she would chal­lenge for the lead­er­ship the fol­low­ing day was un­fath­omable to me at the time. Re­mov­ing a sit­ting prime min­is­ter, de­spite his faults, seemed un­con­scionable. As we all know, that wasn’t the end of the story – what played out over the next three years was even more in­cred­i­ble. Fear not, I’m not go­ing to go in too deep here – the minu­tiae of the lead­er­ship roller-coaster and the Gil­lard v Rudd bat­tle has al­ready been bril­liantly de­tailed in the ABC’S re­cent se­ries, The Killing Sea­son. The fact that we have an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with Rudd in this is­sue of GQ is not a state­ment for or against Gil­lard or the La­bor Party. We were sim­ply keen to know if there was more for him to of­fer – and to get an un­der­stand­ing of what it is he’s up to these days. And he ac­cepted. The in­trigue re­mains, for me, in how such a strong, public male fgure coped with what was an open bat­tle­feld played out in the media. And so with that, cour­tesy of our New York cor­re­spon­dent Emma-kate Sy­mons, we bring you one of our most in­trigu­ing GQ&A in­ter­views ever (p86) – the next chap­ter of Rudd’s life, post-aus­tralian po­lit­i­cal ca­reer and post his phys­i­cal exit from Aus­tralia. It’s a can­did and re­laxed in­ter­view from our for­mer leader, who’s em­bark­ing on (his words) “an en­tirely new in­ter­na­tional po­lit­i­cal vo­ca­tion”; an an­ti­dote to the trauma of his po­lit­i­cal ten­ure. For that rea­son, Rudd hasn’t watched The Killing Sea­son, telling us, “to be po­lit­i­cally as­sas­si­nated in the mid­dle of your po­lit­i­cal ca­reer by those who were elected to be your loyal deputy is a trau­matic mo­ment in pol­i­tics.” He is not with­out re­buke, par­tic­u­larly around claims he bul­lied and ha­rassed Gil­lard. “On the propo­si­tion... not a sin­gle wit­ness was brought for­ward to sub­stan­ti­ate that par­tic­u­lar al­le­ga­tion,” he says. “Not one. In­clud­ing among her friends and sup­port­ers.” On a pos­i­tive note, Rudd also ex­plains what’s helped him to move on – life in the Big Ap­ple, en­joy­ing theatre, and pro­vid­ing strate­gic ad­vice to Pres­i­dent Obama on the USChina re­la­tion­ship (an ex­clu­sive re­vealed to GQ Aus­tralia), and his new role in the busi­ness of global prob­lem-solv­ing. As for the UN’S top job, he in­sists it’s not on the cards. While he’s at lengths to not “pro­vide a rolling public com­men­tary”, on the cur­rency of Aus­tralian pol­i­tics, he still bites about cli­mate change, same-sex mar­riage and even Tony Ab­bott. We see that, although there is phys­i­cal dis­tance be­tween Rudd and his prime min­is­ter­ship, he still clearly has strong views on key Aus­tralian pol­icy. The big ques­tion, though, is whether he’s now hap­pier, away from The Lodge, a propo­si­tion an­swered in true K Rudd style: “I was happy as prime min­is­ter,” he says. “I’m happy now. I’m a happy chappy.” En­joy the is­sue,

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