I am writing this Open Letter because I know from experience that you would ignore any private appeal, however well intentioned, that did not pander your perception as the rightful Prime Minister of Australia.
My earnest and heartfelt plea is this: For the sake of the nation, the government and yourself, abandon the delusion that has claimed and tortured you since you were deposed in June, 2010. Expunge it from your mind. Apply that gift you told me so proudly that you had inherited from your mother: ‘the forgettery’.
Remember that? We were sitting across from each other on those well worn couches in the sunroom of your Norman Park home during the first, long interview for my book, Kevin Rudd: The Biography. I asked whether you’d been embittered by the aftermath of your father’s death when you spent a homeless night or two in the car.
You waved it away. You said you shared your mother’s capacity ‘not to take things too personally’. Kevin, it wasn’t true then and it isn’t true now. But the fact is your personal feelings don’t matter beside the great national issues you are jeopardising with your relentless agitation for a return to the top job.
You think because you are popular now that you could retain the people’s good graces back in the Lodge. It isn’t true. You are popular because you’re no longer being tested on the front line. You talk a great game, Kevin but that’s not what governing is about. That’s what Julia does – with great aplomb – in the most difficult parliamentary environment since the last minority government seventy years ago. Back in the Lodge your popularity would evaporate overnight, just like it did when you squibbed ‘the greatest moral challenge of our time’.
Your current destabilising tactics might have been justified when Labor was in the doldrums with the PM unable to make that vital emotional connection with the electorate. But those days are passed. The people have shared her grief and are now listening to her. Moreover they are beginning to like what they hear and see – genuine compassionate Labor leadership with a record of legislative achievement.
Tony Abbott (who had you on the run) is now wounded. He is eminently beatable. The only major impediment to an election win and the continuation of the government’s excellent and well regarded policies (many of which you initiated) is your sense of entitlement.
Kevin, the time has come to stop the agitation from your handful of malcontents and acknowledge that Julia Gillard has your complete and undivided support. If you were to declare publicly that in Julia Australia has found a true and effective leader – and if you were to take that message to every electorate you campaign in – you would have the power to throw the Opposition into total confusion and virtually guarantee Labor’s return. So the question is this: are you really enough of your mother’s son to forget? And are you really Christian enough to forgive?
You might recall that when you have suffered the several blows of fortune these last few years, my private message to you each time has been, ‘The best is yet to come.’
Kevin, this is the way – the only way – can you make it so.