Exclusive: Tim Mathieson stands by his woman.
During lunch with The Hoopla, the First Bloke has broken his silence over renewed leadership ructions.
“Julia is working hard to make things better,” he insisted, running his fingers through his luscious locks. “We just want to serve the Australian people.”
Clad in a fetching shade of puce, Mr. Mathieson lapsed into long silences as he digested comments made by Kevin Rudd’s spouse, Therese Rein.
Speaking in a soft voice, wearing eye-catching purple, Ms. Rein told Fairfax newspapers she “didn’t know” if she would again be graced with the title of First Lady.
“If I ever agreed to do that, it would be on the proviso that it was completely about the country, the national good, Australia’s place in the world,” she said.
Later, she excoriated Greens leader Christine Milne for implying she was ‘standing by her man’.
“Is she saying that as an individual and as a woman I’m not speaking my own mind? Or that what I say has Kevin’s consent. She obviously doesn’t know me very well,” Ms. Rein tweeted.
It got me thinking: why do male leaders need women to fight their battles, but not the other way around?
To call Therese Rein a smart woman is like saying James Magnussen is a pretty good swimmer.
Her international employment agency Ingeus is worth $210 million.
When Kevin Rudd was Prime Minister, they were pitched as a power couple.
During the leadership challenge, their daughter Jessica mounted an effective a social media campaign.
“Let’s own this spill, people,” she blogged.
I like these women very much. It’s a close and loving family. There’s nothing wrong with supporting each other.
But to say that’s not what your doing is disingenuous.
Therese Rein is her own woman. But she knew what questions to expect when she agreed to a lunchtime interview with a senior newspaper journalist.
Sure, she pretended to be reticent when questions were raised about her husband’s leadership ambitions.
But her answers were well rehearsed.
In the words of Christine Milne, “This is Team Rudd letting everybody know that Kevin is ready to be begged to take it on”.
Ms. Rein’s loose lips continue to destabilise the party.
In February she gave another exclusive interview, to News Ltd.
In a bid to boost his leadership credentials, she declared her husband a “changed man” who’d learned that “taking responsibility doesn’t mean taking over”.
Dear Kevin: If you want the leadership, come out and say it. Stop hiding behind your family. It belittles Therese to play the ‘little woman’.
You never see men doing this.
The husband of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Joachim Sauer, refuses all requests for interviews.
A newspaper once called the professor of theoretical chemistry “as invisible as a molecule”.
During the dying days of NSW Labor, Premier Kristina Keneally didn’t use Ben to speak on her behalf.
Despite working in the public service in former QLD Premier Anna Bligh’s government, her partner Greg Withers kept a low profile.
And when Joan Kirner was Victoria’s Minister for Education, her teacher-husband Ron went on strike alongside banners reading, “Doom is just around the Kirner”.
It seems female leaders can stand strong without a “good man” behind them.
So why do grown men need women to fight their battles?
Is there a parallel universe where Tommy Wynette sings, “Stand By Your Woman?” (I’ve always wondered.)
The Therese Rein interview was full of First Lady clichés about her wardrobe, soft voice and sparkling manner.
You’d never see the same thing written about Tim Mathieson, who’s kept a dignified silence.
Frankly, I’m proud to have a female leader who doesn’t need a man to lay down his cape, pull out his sword and defend her honour.