[Marxism] Kevin Rudd's nephew is a red

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Aug 24 07:06:11 MDT 2010

Australian Story

PROGRAM TRANSCRIPT: Monday, 16 August , 2010

CAROLINE JONES, PRESENTER: Hello, I'm Caroline Jones. Julia 
Gillard’s election campaign has been dogged from the outset by the 
Rudd factor. There’s been no escape from it, even in her own 
Victorian seat of Lalor where Kevin Rudd’s nephew is standing as 
one of her opponents. Van Rudd is an artist. He’s running in the 
PM’s seat as an independent backed by the new but tiny 
Revolutionary Socialist Party. It’s an indication of the complex 
heritage of the extended Rudd family. Some of who are speaking 
publicly tonight for the first time to show their support for the 
young candidate. This is story of Van Rudd.

(Meeting in Trades Hall, Melbourne)
WOMAN FROM THE PARTY: Coming up we know this year is a federal 
election so the Revolutionary Socialist Party will be standing 
candidates in different places of the country. In Melbourne here 
we will be standing Van Rudd against Julia Gillard actually. Van 
is a very committed comrade and a committed socialist. He is a 
fantastic radical artist and he tries to highlight the struggle 
for social justice and the struggle for human rights and socialism 
around the world.

LOREE RUDD, AUNT: I wasn’t surprised when I heard Van had decided 
to run as a candidate with the Socially, Social Revolutionary 
Party because he had been quite strong in his convictions. I think 
I was slightly amused.

VAN RUDD: I’m quite new to the revolutionary politics. Just 
learning things from how meetings are conducted to the workers’ 
theme of the International song so I’ve got to ask some fellow 
comrades where I can find some lyrics.

TANIA JORQUERA, PARTNER: I can’t help but worry for his safety and 
because he’s got such a big profile at the moment and being 
connected to Kevin Rudd, whether someone is going to see him as, 
you know, someone who is a good target.

KEVIN RUDD (Winning the 2007 election): I will be a Prime Minister 
for all Australians.

VAN RUDD: When Uncle Kevin took over the leadership of the Labor 
Party, I, like a lot of people, thought well at least the Labor 
government can actually reverse a few of the policies that the 
John Howard government was taking on in strength like the Pacific 
Solution in regards to asylum seekers.

KEVIN RUDD (2007 victory speech): And tonight I would also honour 
the memory of my mum and dad and I salute the values they 
delivered to this their son.

TANIA JORQUERA, PARTNER: Kevin as a person has disappointed Van 
and myself in the sense that it still seems to be, I suppose, the 
same agenda, worrying more about corporations as opposed to 
worrying about the majority of people who don’t have very much.

KEVIN RUDD (2007 victory speech): I also honour my wider family, 
my brothers Greg and Malcolm and my sister, Loree, who have been 
great supports for me for a long period of time.

TANIA JORQUERA, PARTNER: I see Van as an art activist as opposed 
to a politician I suppose, because with the politicians we have 
today, I suppose, I see, that word means something, you know, 

VAN RUDD: I don’t want to turn my uncle a monster because in my 
view, he’s not. He's always the uncle that encouraged me to paint. 
He bought my first set of oil paints. But my voice is just as 
legitimate. I think it would be a crime not to voice my opinions 
but I certainly do think about the fact that it might make my 
father or Uncle Kevin or my brothers or my father feel 
uncomfortable about it.

MALCOLM RUDD, FATHER: We naturally love our kids. It's a 
biological thing. It's a bigger thing to like your kids. I like 
Van. I like Van 'cos he’s kind and he’s gentle. They're the people 
I like. They’re the kind of people l like. When I heard that Van 
was going to run as a politician I was not shocked. I tend to be a 
quieter operator but I am not lying here at night troubled or 
disappointed in my son.

VAN RUDD: My dad, Malcolm, is a very private person and I think 
has been for a long time, in comparison to his brothers and 
sister, Uncle Kevin being the more outspoken one in terms of 
politics, no doubt.

MALCOLM RUDD, FATHER: I always remembered being what would now be 
called a greenie. But I never joined a political party myself. I 
think I am the only one in the family who hasn’t.

LOREE RUDD, AUNT: The Rudd in Van is Malcolm. Malcolm thinks about 
things and doesn’t always take the status quo opinion in fact 
you’re very hard to find any status quo in Malcolm at all and I 
see that in Van. He feels for people that he doesn’t think have a 
voice and I think that’s a noble thing in Van. He is mainly in 
that respect a Rudd.

MALCOLM RUDD, FATHER: My father became a share farmer on a dairy 
farm. I was the oldest, then my sister, then Greg, then Kevin was 
the youngest.

LOREE RUDD, AUNT: We lived about two and a half hours drive north 
from Brisbane. We didn’t own anything at all really. We didn’t own 
the farm or the house. We were all shy but there was a lot of 
interesting discussion in our home. Very different points of view 
on many things and we grew up very comfortable with having 
different points of view.

MALCOLM RUDD, FATHER: I’ve described my mother as rabidly 
Catholic. It made no sense to me. My father wasn’t long on advice. 
I do remember him saying stay a bachelor and not much more than that.

LOREE RUDD, AUNT: Mum and dad went through quite a difficult patch 
in their marriage and Malcolm and I felt the tension of it.

MALCOLM RUDD, FATHER: I have to concede that I was looking for a 
way to leave which is how I ended up in the army at 15. If someone 
asked me for the next significant impact on the way I looked the 
world it would be my experience at the army apprentice school. 
There was unnecessary violence there. Bastardisation.

VAN RUDD: It was this background of our father being in the 
military which did have an influence on us.

LOREE RUDD, AUNT: Malcolm would have been somewhere around 19 or 
20 when he went to Vietnam.

MALCOLM RUDD, FATHER: Because I was in the regular army it wasn’t 
something I thought a lot about. If I was to be frank with you, 
had I not been in the army I probably would have been in the 
Moratorium marches.

LOREE RUDD, AUNT: Vietnam is part of who Malcolm is and will be 
'till the day he dies.

RAD RUDD, BROTHER: My mother left Saigon and like a lot of 
Vietnamese women went to Vung Tau where the soldiers were having R 
and R. And that’s where she met my father.

TUOI RUDD, MOTHER: Malcolm wanted to understand Vietnamese more. 
He was good looking, younger but lots of people, but he’s so nice, 
so kind.

MALCOLM RUDD, FATHER: Tuoi’s background. They were poor people and 
that Mekong Delta was a rather violent place to be.

RAD RUDD, BROTHER: You couldn’t say they had a normal romance 
because it wasn’t a normal time.

MALCOLM RUDD, FATHER: We established a relationship and once she 
told me she was pregnant I was certainly not going to leave her 
there with a child of mine. My superiors, they saw it as their 
duty to talk me out of this. But once they knew my mind was not 
for changing, well they were on my side of getting Tuoi, who 
became my wife, and my son out of Vietnam.

TUOI RUDD, MOTHER: It better life here than over there. If I live 
there I don’t know what my children like. I could be dead.

LOREE RUDD, AUNT: Malcolm and Tuoi’s three boys, Dat, Van and Rad, 
from an aunt’s perspective were always pure delight. This home 
that I am living in living now is the actual home where Tuoi and 
Tuoi’s three boys came to live with my mother. When my father 
died, this was the home my mother bought.

VAN RUDD: My brothers and I found my grandmother wanting to 
cultivate in us a sense of civility or properness as we called it.

RAD RUDD, BROTHER: She was the matriarch of the family and was 
very important in keeping myself and my brothers as close to the 
straight and narrow as we could possibly be.

VAN RUDD: There was lots of things we hated that she was making us 
do. Every now and then she would take us down the shops to the 
men’s wear store and fit us with some good pants for going to 
church. She took us to speech lessons, piano lessons.

LOREE RUDD, AUNT: My mother was worried about the acceptance of 
Vietnamese children in the Australian Community.

RAD RUDD, BROTHER: I actually had no sense of Asia at all. Zilch, 
when we were growing up.

TUOI RUDD, MOTHER: The people were kind. Nambour is the best place 
to grow. The Asian only me, only Vietnamese here.

RAD RUDD, BROTHER: Mum was active in the community and well known 
in the town.

VAN RUDD: We gradually became conscious through our teen years 
that mum was different. We were buying groceries and she probably 
wouldn’t understand something the check out person was saying. You 
get embarrassed by your mother and because she can’t communicate 
properly so you jump in and speak for her.

LOREE RUDD, AUNT: Her understanding of the world broadened. She 
became quite independent of Malcolm.

VAN RUDD: The time period when we worked out that mum and dad were 
drifting apart was pretty tough. We were sort of wondering why 
both parents are not in the house.

TOUI RUDD, MOTHER: When Malcolm left I just die inside, but I have 
to live for my boys. That’s what I promise myself, whatever 
happens I have to live, look after my children.

MALCOLM RUDD, FATHER: When you’re younger you make decisions that 
you probably wouldn’t make if you were older and wiser. So I 
acknowledge the difficulty particularly for my boys and I remain 
sad about it.

LOREE RUDD, AUNT: My mother was angry with Malcolm because her 
view was you just didn’t do that. You didn’t leave your wife and 
your children.

MALCOLM RUDD, FATHER: My mum mellowed a lot as she got older. I 
don’t that she had much choice with four children, three of them 
divorced. Good on Kevin.

TANIA JORQUERA, PARTNER: Van, he’s always got in mind what’s his 
dad going to think and hoping he’ll say that’s really great and 
I’m proud of what you’re doing. So I think that is something that 
he does search for.

LOREE RUDD, AUNT: Malcolm’s interest in Vietnam and in becoming 
more and more skilled in the language, I'm sure he's brilliant 
actually, is out of love for his sons. He’d would want them to 
know his pride in their country, his love for their country, for 
the other half of who they are and be able to contribute to that.

MALCOLM RUDD, FATHER: All of our family has ended up at least 
intellectually interested in what’s happening around us.

RAD RUDD, BROTHER: Upon reflection the discussions at my 
grandmother’s dinner table were Labor centric.

VAN RUDD: Most stories that we talked about were based on people 
who struggle in different parts of the world to make a living. 
That’s what I gathered from all of my uncles and aunties at once.

LOREE RUDD, AUNT: I had developed a big fascination in Russia. I 
sensed from my own marriage experience feeling locked up for 12 
years and people considering me very evil for wanting to leave, 
that I had some empathy for a whole nation that was locked up and 
had been regarded evil. To me they’re people and I think in our 
family it’s the people that matter. I can’t explain Kevin’s 
interest in China other than I have no doubt it's something 
similar. His thesis was on one of the brave people within the 
regime that dared to speak out because people were suffering.

VAN RUDD: I started to gain a different political perspective when 
I met Tania my current partner in 2003. We’ve made a small family 
out of that now. What I found very interesting about Tania was her 
political convictions. In this day and age it’s certainly rare to 
find that in anybody let alone women. Her family came from Chile 
after the Pinochet dictatorship and so there was this political 
context and it immediately it made me think of my own being the 
Vietnam war. So basically it was the floodgates open.

(Excerpt from News report, ABC TV Melbourne, May 2008)
NEWSREADER: Here in Melbourne the City Council stands accused of 
censoring art after it removed a painting with an anti-China theme 
from an exhibition. The painting is by Kevin Rudd’s nephew.
(End of excerpt)

TANIA JORQUERA, PARTNER: I’m sure it must worry the whole family 
what impact Van’s art work might have on Kevin politically, 
obviously because a lot of his art work is quite a challenge to a 
lot of the beliefs Kevin might have.

(Excerpt from News report)
NEWSREADER: The government is standing by its decision to delay 
processing new claims from asylum seekers from Afghanistan and Sri 
Lanka, despite a barrage of criticism.
KEVIN RUDD: More asylum seekers from Sri Lanka and Afghanistan 
will be refused.
(End of footage)

TANIA JORQUERA, PARTNER: I don’t think it’s easy for Van to be a 
Rudd, especially now.

(Excerpt from News report, ABC TV January 26)
TV NEWS READER: Police have fined Kevin Rudd’s nephew after an 
anti-racism protest outside the Australian Open Tennis today. Van 
Rudd and his friend Sam King wore Klu Klux Klan hoods for the stunt.
(End of news report)

SAM KING, FRIEND: It was Van’s idea to do an action at the tennis 
centre, to use the KKK costumes as a way of portraying how we felt 
about the government’s policies.

MALCOLM RUDD,FATHER: My eldest son, my police officer son, rang 
me. He said, I hope you’re ready for this but Van has just been 
arrested for wearing a Klu Klux Klan outfit at the tennis.

TANIA JORQUERA, PARTNER: If Malcolm had a choice he'd prefer Van 
to not do things that were so provocative. I’m sure it must worry 
the whole family.

(Excerpt of Radio report)
ANNOUNCER: Do you agree your name is being used in this.
KEVIN RUDD: Families are complex businesses as I think everyone 
knows. We choose our friends (laughs). It’s a free country. But I 
disagree with his views and I disagree fundamentally.
(End of radio report)

LOREE RUDD, AUNT: I didn’t worry about it. I looked at it. I 
thought my goodness Van’s certainly getting a high profile with 
this. I saw no depth in it. If Van were to go and work in 
something totally different to his present experience for a year, 
two years and then continue with his artistic expression, his art 
would be richer.

VAN RUDD: There's certainly is stigma attached to being on welfare 
benefits. I’ve gone on and off it for many years and it almost 
become part and parcel of being an artist.

TANIA JORQUERA, PARTNER: We do find it hard to make ends meet, you 
know we just get by fortnight to fortnight.

VAN RUDD: We don’t want to go down that road of being away from 
our kids a lot and we want more fulfilling jobs and we feel like 
the service we give to society is much bigger than say if I was to 
go to a factory and create more soaps that are out there in their 
billions already.

MALCOLM RUDD, FATHER: As with any parent, I'd probably wish that 
all my boys would find the perhaps mythical modestly or well paid 
satisfying career, buy a house and live happily ever after. I 
suspect that may not happen. On many occasions I have put to them 
that if you don’t know what to do with our life, there’s a lots 
worse to do than putting in four years in one of the services.

VAN RUDD: My brother Rad and I at the time, when we were living 
together in Melbourne, had carried on a very similar political view.

RAD RUDD, BROTHER: But Since I’ve joined the military Van and I 
have grown apart. His ideology denounces military activities and I 
feel it’s a personal attack when it’s not.

MALCOLM RUDD, FATHER: I have no trouble defending Van because his 
mind is not radically different from mine.

RAD RUDD, BROTHER: I just hope the family stays as a sound unit.

MALCOLM RUDD, FATHER: I‘m still proudly left, and I, in our 
family, I might be the most left, but I personally would find it 
difficult to be a politician.

VAN RUDD: I had the choice of being an artist but a silent one, so 
do I stay silent or do I speak up? The fact that there’s an 
election on this year, my political party thought it would be a 
great opportunity to voice our opinions and our campaigns. So I 
will be running in this year’s election in the seat of Lalor 
against Julia Gillard.

SAM KING, FRIEND: The fact that Van shares a name with Kevin Rudd 
was certainly one factor in us deciding that he should be the 

LOREE RUDD, AUNT: I think Van doesn’t really understand the 
political process. I think he has strong views and I think other 
people behind the scenes, those people perhaps exploiting the Rudd 
name asking him to step forward. I think they understand the 
political process.

(Excerpt from News report, ABC TV, June 24 2010)
NEWS JOURNALIST: No one has seen anything like it. A first time 
prime minister dumped, a female prime minister sworn in. All after 
a political mugging that was ruthless swift and effective.
(End of excerpt)

MALCOLM RUDD, FATHER: What happened there I believe shocked me no 
more or less than lots of other folk, the speed of it.

(Excerpt from 7.30 Report, June 24 2010)
JULIA GILLARD: I don’t need someone to show me polling to 
understand that a good government was losing its way.

LOREE RUDD, AUNT: It is my general view in life that when any one 
sets out to criticise, you learn something very powerful about the 
person criticising.

(Footage from ABC TV News, July 7 2010)
REPORTER: In a day of upheaval on asylum seekers policy, the prime 
minister foreshadowed a return to offshore processing. An East 
Timor based version of the Howard government's Pacific Solution.
TONY ABBOTT: Look for all of Kevin Rudd's faults, at least he knew 
something about foreign policy which plainly the new prime 
minister doesn't.
(End of footage)

LOREE RUDD, AUNT: The Labor party to me is family and the family 
is valuable. Whatever happens in the family doesn’t destroy the 
family. You grow strong and you find ways through things.

VAN RUDD: Now that my uncle’s not the prime minister, I just can’t 
wait 'til it’s Van Rudd the artist rather than the Prime 
Minister’s nephew

(Excerpt of Van Rudd in Werribee, Melbourne, two weeks ago)
VAN RUDD: What we’re doing is to get signatures from people in the 
Lalor electorate so we can formally register myself as a candidate 
in the federal election. I'm running as a candidate against Julia 
Gillard. (Woman laughs) And I just need 50 signatures from people 
that live in this electorate.
LOCALS: And that's neither of us.
VAN RUDD (To woman): Do you live in the area?
WOMAN: No, I'm actually just visiting.
VAN RUDD: Lots of international students and people who are 
employed here but don't live in the area. So hopefully we'll get a 
signature soon.
(End of excerpt)

SAM KING, FRIEND: We had well over 100 signatures and we took them 
into the Australian Electoral Commission and they verified that 
'yes more than 50 of them were valid' which is their requirement, 
so they've accepted the nomination and Van’s name will appear on 
the ballot paper.

VAN RUDD: After having kids I am certainly a lot more wary, I 
wouldn't say frightened but wary of what can happen to them now I 
am more openly in the political scene. In the past I’ve had 
threatening emails from racist groups. So it certainly impacts on you.

TANIA JORQUERA, PARTNER: I do have some worries but generally feel 
pretty okay with him being out there, knowing he’s got a lot of 

TUOI RUDD, MOTHER: I happy what he does. I trust him so he do what 
he wants. He’s a man now, a young man, so I can’t protect him what 
he do. But he’s doing the right thing. That’s good.

(Excerpt from Campaign launch)
VAN RUDD: Tonight I’m launching the campaign against Julia Gillard 
in the seat of Lalor.
VAN RUDD (making speech): Thank you everyone for coming tonight. 
It's great to see all the support here. I did have a speech 
written out but I’ve lost it.
(End of excerpt)

TANIA JORQUERA, PARTNER: If he won we’d obviously back him and 
support him all the way and I think it would be a hard battle 
being a socialist within Canberra.

VAN RUDD (Campaign launch speech): We all know for a fact that the 
major parties are coming up with absolutely nothing. We all know 
the Liberal party are off the board. Forget about them. If they 
come into power again at least things will be concrete. At least 
you can see what you're fighting against. So with the Labor party 
you can also say that maybe they're touching on a few things to do 
with refugees and asylum seekers. We all know that’s crap.

MALCOLM RUDD, FATHER: As far as I ‘m concerned it’s a matter of 
principal for Van. The good thing is it probably won’t take long 
to count the 24 votes they get, or 25.

VAN RUDD (Campaign launch speech): I just want to do I always 
wanted to do if I ever did ever enter the political arena in terms 
of parliamentary politics, is enter like this. (Does the Michael 
Jackson 'moon walk') I don’t know if any other politician has done 
that so I wanted to do it.

Van Rudd is currently undertaking post graduate studies and 
planning a new art project based on his campaign experiences.

His uncle, Kevin Rudd, was approached but declined to be 
interviewed for tonight’s program.

More information about the Marxism mailing list