Federal Politics

Election answer could be blowing in the wind

Is the secret to winning this year’s federal election as simple as a can of hairspray? 

The issue of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s wayward locks threatened to become a campaign issue on Tuesday as his search for a perfect coif appeared as dogged as his quest for power. 

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A video uploaded to YouTube by the Young Liberal Movement shows Mr Rudd in various stages of self-styling during a particularly windy press conference in Brisbane. 

The Prime Minister appeared to engage in his distinctive flick-and-smooth efforts as many as 20 times while answering questions on interest rates and Opposition costings.

Kevin Rudd in Melbourne at Fairfax's Media House for a 3AW interview...flicking his hair.
Kevin Rudd in Melbourne at Fairfax's Media House for a 3AW interview...flicking his hair. Photo: Penny Stephens

Canberra hair stylist Chad Wijayatilake said Mr Rudd had ‘‘some of the best hair in politics’’ and would benefit from a simple wax or hairspray.

‘‘He has a classic politician’s haircut but if the wind is bothering him that much, he probably needs to invest in a good hair product,’’ he said. 

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‘‘He could get a good hairspray or a little bit of wax. Gel is so '80s, but maybe a firm-hold paste with a hairspray on top would look natural.’’ 

The PM's wayward fringe now has its own (unofficial) Twitter account, @Kevinsfringe.

While Mr Rudd’s predecessor Julia Gillard famously benefited from the support of her partner Tim Maitheson, a former hairdresser, Mr Wijayatilake said a new prime ministerial hair product could become a campaign talking point and would only require five minutes for application. 

‘‘Products will only make hair look better if used in the right amount and everyone loved when Julia Gillard changed the shade of her red, so it could work for Kevin. 

‘‘Tony Abbott doesn’t have any hair so it's one thing Kevin has won so far. I honestly see Kevin Rudd standing next to Barack Obama better than the others on hair.’’ 

Style could be a priority for Mr Rudd, who faced claims he ‘‘threw a wobbly’’ when no hair dryer was available during a 2009 visit to Australian troops serving in Afghanistan.

National Party MP John Cobb told journalists soldiers had confirmed the incident, but Mr Rudd said the allegations were "laughable, ridiculous and untrue".

Sources said photos of Mr Rudd’s various hair malfunctions were being distributed in campaign back rooms this week, leading some to wonder if he would benefit from more indoor events.

Image consultant Lizzie Wagner said perception of politician’s appearances could drive votes. 

‘‘No matter what we say about not judging a book by its cover, the reality is we all do it,’’ she said. 

‘‘I am sure he was most distressed by being disheveled because Kevin Rudd likes to have his hair in place. They all do their darndest, but I wish people would let them get on with their jobs and not be concerned with appearance.’’ 

She said Mr Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott had both presented themselves well during the campaign’s first few days. 

‘‘They do work on how they should present and often times it is very manufactured by their campaign managers. The reality is everybody has a kit on them and can put themselves together when they need to,’’ Ms Wagner said.

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