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Did Kevin Rudd’s daughter predict his downfall?

Did Kevin Rudd's daughter predict his downfall?

Jessica Rudd

Jessica Rudd’s first novel was about an Australian prime minister bought down by his female deputy. It was written just months before her father Kevin was rolled by Julia Gillard.

There some people who believe that everything happens for a reason and Jessica Rudd is one of them. How could it be otherwise?

Quite by chance, in June of 2010, she found herself in Canberra, just as her beloved father, Kevin Rudd, was being rolled by his own party and removed from the job he had wanted all his life, that of prime minister of Australia.

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“I was living with Albert [her husband] in Beijing,” says Jessica, in a low voice, the emotion still raw. “Dad phoned me and said he had to go to the Midwinter Ball [an elegant, black-tie fundraiser, hosted by the federal parliamentary press gallery]. Mum was away on business, and would I be his date?”

She quickly flew “home” to Canberra (she means to The Lodge), slipped into an exquisite, floor-length gown and pinned a dramatic flower in her hair.

She was photographed that night in the Grand Hall of Parliament House, beaming, on her dad’s arm. “We went to the ball and we danced,” Jessica says, shrugging. “I had no inkling at all that anything was wrong.”

A little over a week later, there was Jessica again, standing on the steps of Parliament House, this time supporting her father on the lowest day of his life, as he wept for what he had just lost.

Again, there were photographers. Jessica wasn’t all dressed up and beaming this time; her face was white with the strain and the grief, but there was something else going on, too.

Just months earlier, Jessica had delivered the final manuscript of her first novel, Campaign Ruby, to her publisher.

It was about an Australian prime minister brought down by his female deputy, who then becomes Australia’s first female prime minister.

“It was a genuine fluke,” says Jessica. “I predicted stuff and there I was, standing there as it happened.”

Well over a year has passed since that awful day and Jessica is again in what she calls “a good place”.

She has just completed her second novel, Ruby Blues, to be published on October 31, the contents of which are just as startling as the first.

It features a prime minister, Max Masters, who is struggling in his first term and getting whacked in the polls.

Newspapers are describing him as “incompetent” and “uninspiring”, “disappointing” and “overweight”. He wears “crisp white shirts” and ice blue ties, and rubs his steel-rimmed glasses on his sleeves.

His government is being accused of “rushing” to implement its agenda, leading to problems with the programs it rolls out. The PM himself says, “A lot of the time, we just swing from disaster to disaster.”

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I have to ask, is the PM modeled on your dad? Jessica has anticipated the question. “I think you see Kevin because the reader expects me to write about my dad,” Jessica says.

“When I see Max in my head, he’s not my dad. He looks a bit like George Clooney and my dad does not look like George Clooney.”

Read more of this story in the November issue of The Australian Women’s Weekly.

Your say: Do you think Jessica Rudd’s novels are just a ‘fluke’ as she says, or do they offer more valuable insights into Australian politics?

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Video: Jessica Rudd chats about her novels

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