If you’re looking for power twosomes that have managed to spread their tentacles across both business and politics, you needn’t look much further than Kevin Rudd and Therese Rein. The former first couple have had their ups and downs over the past year or so but still remain one of The Power Index‘s most influential duets.
Rudd, of course, was one of this country’s most popular prime ministers, a veritable Newspoll de force, before he was struck down in 2010 by a combination of his own hubris and his own party. Rein, meanwhile, remains a successful businesswoman, with a multi-million dollar employment services empire stretching across the globe.
Together, the Queensland couple could put together a dinner party guest list that would rival any other. But don’t think K-Rein necessarily go out of their way to wine and dine powerful friends. As one friend of the family put it: “They actually don’t court influence, because they don’t have to. They mix with an interesting crowd.”
“They’re really family-focused. Kevin does what Kevin does, he’s got his own networks. It’s the nature of what they do, that they know everyone around town,” the Rudd/Rein confidant told The Power Index. “But Therese is almost anti it [courting influence], if you know what I mean.”
These days, Rudd spends his time jet-setting around the world as foreign minister (some say with an eye to reclaiming his rightful spot in the Lodge), while Rein continues to grow her business and provide assistance to disability charities.
Despite it being a rocky road recently (what with the Lodge ousting, Rudd undergoing heart surgery and Rein wiping his BlackBerry while he was under the knife), the pair celebrated their 30th anniversary last year. Kevin, ever the traditionalist, bought Therese the conventional Argyle diamond ring to celebrate the three-decade milestone. She gave him cufflinks.
“Therese has pursued a phenomenally successful career in business, and I’ve always encouraged her,” Rudd told The Daily Telegraph late last year. “And I’ve probably been considerably less successful in politics … but she’s always been enormously encouraging of me.”
The both clearly have the motivation to succeed. On Rudd’s well-known lack of sleep (he gets three hours a night), Therese told Fairfax that he’s been like that since uni: “Kevin starts at around six in the morning he might get to bed around one or two, or maybe three. He doesn’t need a lot of sleep. It’s just different.”
Rudd and Rein met in the cloisters of Canberra’s ANU, where both were residents of Burgmann College and part of the uni’s student Christian movement. The pair tied the knot soon after graduation, before moving offshore for envoy-in-training Rudd to study diplomacy in Sweden and China.
In the late 1980s they returned to Australia and moved to sunny Brisbane, where Rein set up the company Work Directions to help people injured at work find employment. A few years later Work Directions won its first government contract.