Ruby Newsday

Gonzo Meets the Press #30 October 26, 2011

Jessica Rudd has done it again. The Rudd family novelist has written another
book about a prime minister, this one in his first term having trouble with
programs, polls and a female education minister. And she swears it’s all

“I gave up trying to predict events in politics a
long time ago. One thing is certain, and that’s that Dad is very happy as
Foreign Minister.”
That quote comes from Jessica Rudd, daughter of the
foreign minister, Kevin Rudd, only she got it right the first time and didn’t
call him prime minister, as he did last month in an ABC radio interview. Old
habits die hard!
Ms Rudd is spruiking her second novel, Ruby Blues,
in an interview with The Australian Women’s Weekly, with journalist and
novelist, Caroline Overington, who wrote about it in The Australian
today ( If you
remember, Jessica Rudd’s first novel, Campaign Ruby, was launched
during the election campaign last year, and even though it was written before
the so-called coup, it predicted that a female deputy pm would roll her boss to
become the first female prime minister of Australia.
Ruby Blues will be launched next week, but I don’t expect to get an invitation from the
publisher to interview the author. That happened last year, and the interview
for the Sky News Agenda program was scheduled for Monday, August 16,
the day that Julia Gillard was launching Labor’s election campaign in Brisbane,
an event attended by the man she and the faceless men forced out of office,
Kevin Rudd. Sky hired a freelance cameraman, and booked the room across from the
studios to do the interview.
When the author hadn’t showed up, I called the publicist and asked where she was. “Didn’t you get my messages?” she asked, and
I said no. She had left two on a work phone that I didn’t use very often, and I
hadn’t set it up for voice mail. She had my mobile number, but didn’t call.
A bit miffed, I asked, “Is she doing any interviews?” “Yes,” answered the
publicist, “selected ones and she is very nervy.” I understood all that, given
all the politics surrounding her father and the coup, but I said we just wanted
to talk about the book, which we liked. (Agenda presenter and Walkley
Award-winning journalist Helen Dalley was going to do the interview and, like
me, had read the book and liked it.) When I asked why we weren’t selected, she
said: “I had outside advice.” I gritted my teeth, when I saw some of those
selected to do the interviews, and, of course, they discussed politics, since
that was what Campaign Ruby was all about. I wrote in my diary: “I was
very p-ssed off, but it wasn’t Jessica’s fault.” Then when I saw Jessica as one
of the panellists on Q & A nine days after the election last year,
I realised she wasn’t “nervy” anymore. And The Australian Women’s
interview proves it.
I’m looking forward to reading Ruby Blues, which is about a first-time prime minister, who looks a bit like
George Clooney to Jessica Rudd, having trouble putting programs into place,
getting done over in the polls, and dealing with a difficult female education
minister. Will people think the character is based on Julia Gillard? Jessica
Rudd tells The Weekly: “Maybe they will. But I did not plan it that
way. When it was pointed out to me, I thought, maybe I should change it. But why
should I? If that is what was happening in my subconscious, so be it. People
will read into it what they will.”
We don’t often do book interviews with authors on Meet the Press, so I’m not going to suggest we ask Jessica
Rudd. Judging from her conversation with The Weekly, she doesn’t need
any more lessons in how to handle the media, and she is brimming with
confidence. Good luck to her.
Campaign Ruby has turned Ruby
into Ruby News.

Revolting Republicans
Speaking of news, this time in the US election campaign, the Republican presidential candidates seem to be making more
than their share. Angry exchanges between former Massachusetts Governor Mitt
Romney and Texas Governor Rick Perry at a debate, with Perry reportedly ready to
destroy Romney’s reputation; Minnesota Republican Michelle Bachmann having all
of her five campaign staff in the important state of New Hampshire resign en
masse in protest against the way they were treated by the national campaign,
saying they were “deceived” and “relegated to second-class citizens;” and former
Godfather’s Pizza CEO, Herman Cain, endorsing a campaign video by his chief of
staff, Mark Block, in which he puffs on a cigarette under inspiring patriotic
music for four seconds. It’s a completely gratuitous shot and could easily be
replaced ( I think the Cain campaign is going to need a new non-smoking chief of staff very

Assange’s ego recognition

And finally, it’s official. Julian Assange is a wanker. That’s always been my opinion, but this week on the ABC AM
program, he confirmed it ( The ABC’s European
correspondent Philip Williams asked Assange if his reputation had been tarnished
as a result of Wikileaks release of US diplomatic cables and sexual allegations
against him in Sweden, and he replied: “This is absolutely not a general
perception. Across the general population of the world, I have more than 84 per
cent name recognition. Within Australia, personally, the approval rating for
Julian Assange is double the approval rating for Julia Gillard.” And then he
reinforced his egotistical approach to his work with this reply about how he was
coping: “Well, it’s quite easy. The work is very satisfying, very demanding and
one simply throws oneself into the mission.” I think Wikileaks, which has done
very good work, could do itself a favour by simply throwing Assange out the
door, and getting someone who thinks less of “oneself,” and more of others.

PS For some reason, the Wikileaks founder was holding a press conference in
front of a backdrop of upside-down logos of Visa, PayPal, MasterCard, etc (see
photo at top of this blog). It seems to me Assange and Co were having a go at
the financial institutions for blocking donations and forcing Wikileaks to
suspend its publication of classified files. Time Magazine said Assange
was doing it “rather poetically,” ( but I think it was more to
do with the upside down world in which he lives — where he believes he’s always
on top.
Tom Krause is the supervising producer of Ten’s Meet the Press. His views are his own; always have been.

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