Rudd denies link to Ming dynasty
Illustration: Rocco Fazzari
KEVIN RUDD and Robert Menzies are the only prime ministers to have been removed by their own parties after winning their first election.
Menzies used his period in the wilderness to reconnect with voters, most famously through his ''forgotten people'' radio broadcasts which began in 1942 and were a copy of Franklin Roosevelt's "fireside chats" of a decade before.
So when Mr Rudd bellied up to the Melbourne radio station 3AW on Thursday for what would be the first of a monthly series of around-the-world chats with the host, Neil Mitchell, the inevitable comparison with Ming was made.
Mr Rudd protested: ''There's no fireside here and I'm no Bob Menzies. I'm not a candidate.''
The interview ranged across several topics. Mr Rudd again decried the standard of political discourse in Australia, himself included, likening Parliament to a kindergarten.
He defended Ms Gillard against the opposition's pursuit of her actions as a lawyer 17 years ago when she represented her then union official boyfriend Bruce Wilson, by likening it to the ''utterly fraudulent'' Utegate allegations raised against him in 2009.
''I believe the Prime Minister has responded effectively to the questions so far.''
Mr Rudd's latest bout of profile raising has not gone unnoticed. Again, while Julia Gillard has been overseas, Mr Rudd has been ubiquitous at home.
On Sunday morning, he was the guest on Sky News' Agenda program, speaking from Shanghai.
Back home on Monday, he was a guest panellist on Channel Ten's The Project. The next day, he was at the Melbourne Cup, the day after he was on Channel Nine helping call the US election. Thursday was 3AW and Sky News, Friday will be Radio National to talk about China.
There are a few cheeky wagers being offered that Mr Rudd may pop up doing some commentary at the Brisbane Test this weekend.
He told Sky he agreed to only 10 per cent of the interview requests he received and media speculation concerning his frequent appearances of late meant only that ''you guys have been a little underemployed''.
Mr Rudd said he had an abiding interest in China, the US, reconciliation, the global financial crisis and issues affecting his native Queensland and on all of these ''you are going to hear my voice up there as long as I consider it to be useful''.
Pressed again about Menzies, Mr Rudd was dismissive, saying he shared neither Menzies' ideology nor ''his eyebrows''.